Corsair Neutron XT 240GB SSD Review

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PCMark 8 Consistency Test

Something new we are starting to do is run the storage consistency test in the PCMark 8 application from Futuremark. In short, it looks at drive performance degradation as the drive becomes “dirty” and how it rebounds after given time to recover and run background routines like garbage collection and TRIM. This takes nearly a day to run through all of the iterations of test sets. Since most of our benchmarks show the drive performance in a clean state, this is a nice contrast to provide yet another view of performance. PCMark 8’s storage benchmark test contains workload traces from Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe After Effects, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power Point, World of Warcraft and Battlefield 3.

The PCMark 8 Consistency test has five phases:

Precondition phase

  1. Write the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data.
  2. Write it through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

Degradation phase

  1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 10 minutes.
  2. Run performance test (one pass only). The result is stored in secondary results with name prefix degrade_result_X where X is a counter.
  3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 8 times and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by 5 minutes

Steady state phase

  1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for final duration achieved in degradation phase.
  2. Run performance test (one pass only). The result is stored in secondary results with name prefix steady_result_X where X is a counter.
  3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Recovery phase

  1. Idle for 5 minutes.
  2. Run performance test (one pass only). The result is stored in secondary result with name recovery_result_X where X is a counter.
  3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Clean up

  1. Write the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with zero data.

pcmark8-ps

Benchmark Results: We used Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) Version 13.1 drivers and found some pretty good performance numbers on the Corsair Neutron XT 240GB drive on the Photoshop Heavt Trace test. but from the looks of it we were running around 85-100 MB/s in the degraded states, around 80-90MB/s in the steady states and then the drive quickly recovered up to 337MB/s in the recovery phase before dropping off to 240MB/s on the 5th recovery phase. This is strange behavior as we’ve never seen a drive drop off in the recovery phase to this degree.

pcmark8-bf3

Benchmark Results: When looking at the Battlefield 3 gaming test trace we found results that were more in-line with what we expected to see. We found the Corsair Neutron XT started out at around 191MB/s and then stabalized down to around 185MB/s for pretty much the entire duration of the testing regardless the performance state. The results in the steady-state tests didn’t budge and the recovery phases that gave time for TRIM and garbage collection to work didn’t yield any real performance differences.

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