Crucial MX100 256GB & 512GB 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, write size of 256*512=131072 bytes.
  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, write size of 256*512=131072 bytes.

 

PCMark 8 Consistency Test

Benchmark Results: We decided to grab a random drive from our pile so we had at least one other in the chart for comparison and it happened to be the OCZ Vector 460 240GB. It’s easy to see a pretty large gap in performance between the two on this test even though on most of the other benchmarks, they were relatively close in performance. To be fair, the MX100 is a budget friendly drive and the Vector is OCZ’s flagship drive costing much more and specifically designed to maintain performance after heavy use (hence their marketing quip “Not afraid to play dirty”). As we get a chance to test more drives on this benchmark, we’ll have a better idea where the mean performance falls.

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