Two PCIe NVMe SSDs Tested On Six Motherboards By Intel and AMD

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Final Thoughts

ASUS X99 Sabertooth Motherboard

When it comes to SSD performance testing we didn’t expect to see massive performance differences between platforms, but that is exactly what we encountered thanks to encountering some low performance numbers on the Corsair Neutron NX500 on the Intel X99 platform we were using to test it on. The performance differences we saw were mainly at the low queue depths on this particular drive, but many feel that Random Read/Write QD=1 performance is the most important metric for a drive. We’ve been dealing with our low performance issue on our ASUS Sabertooth X99 board since July 3rd, 2017 and we don’t know if there is a fix. We’ve shared our findings with Intel, Corsair, ASUS and Phison, but other than sending us a new platform that it is known to perform well on that is the only insight that we have been given. We’ve done clean installs of Windows, run the latest drivers, tested the drive out of the box, manually aligned it, ran different secure erase and sanitary wipes and the performance on the NX500 is still low on ASUS Sabertooth X99. The Corsair Nuetron NX500 is using Firmware v4.5 and that has the latest optimizations for AMD Ryzen/Threadripper, so we thought maybe that could be part of the issue. The problem with that theory is you can’t roll back the firmware since there is no downgrade firmware tool from Corsair. Corsair doesn’t have this board and ASUS doesn’t have the Neutron NX500 SSD, so two months have gone by and we still feel like we are at square one.

We have been using the Intel X99 platform since March 2015 to test storage devices, so maybe it is time to upgrade it. The ASUS Sabertooth X99 board has tested about three dozen SATA and PCIe SSDs and it has held up remarkably well until now. The Intel X99 platform debuted in 2014 and has been replaced by the Intel X299 platform. Our testing numbers though show the Intel Z270 platform has the best overall performance of the six board that we tested. The only problem is that we are likely only weeks away from Intel Z370 boards coming out with Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake processors.

It looks like the smart thing for us to do is wait for the Intel 370 boards to arrive along with the Intel Core i7-8700K (6-core, 12-thread) processor to come out. If the performance is on par with the Intel Z270 platform that Corsair sent us that would make an ideal platform to test our storage drive review samples on.

We’ve been working with the NX500 for almost exactly 60 days now and wanted to publish something about the drive. We started out doing a review on it, but after seeing the numbers and looking into it closer we ended up here. We have more benchmarks and data points, but we just wanted to present something simple and showed just Anvil’s Storage Benchmark results.

Hopefully you enjoyed this look at two different SSDs on six different motherboards. SSD performance is not going to be the same on two different platforms, so that is something to keep in mind when buying an SSD and comparing performance numbers.


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