AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer

Our AnandTech Storage Bench tests are traces (recordings) of real-world IO patterns that are replayed onto the drives under test. The Destroyer is the longest and most difficult phase of our consumer SSD test suite. For more details, please see the overview of our 2021 Consumer SSD Benchmark Suite.

ATSB The Destroyer
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The SLC cache on the 2TB Intel 670p isn't large enough for The Destroyer to operate entirely within the cache, as we saw with the massive 8TB Sabrent Rocket Q. But the big SLC cache is still enough for the 670p to score very well overall on this test, clearly outperforming all the smaller entry-level NVMe SSDs we have tested, and more than a few mainstream and high-end models as well. The 670p's biggest weakness is with 99th percentile write latency, but even that score isn't problematic.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy

The ATSB Heavy test is much shorter overall than The Destroyer, but is still fairly write-intensive. We run this test twice: first on a mostly-empty drive, and again on a completely full drive to show the worst-case performance.

ATSB Heavy
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

As with The Destroyer, the empty-drive test run of the Heavy test shows that the 670p's performance can compete with good TLC drives. It's only on the full-drive test run that the QLC NAND starts to hold back the 670p. Even so, it fares better than almost all the competing entry-level drives and keeps the 99th percentile latencies down to reasonable values.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light

The ATSB Light test represents ordinary everyday usage that doesn't put much strain on a SSD. Low queue depths, short bursts of IO and a short overall test duration mean this should be easy for any SSD. But running it a second time on a full drive shows how even storage-light workloads can be affected by SSD performance degradation.

ATSB Light
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

On the Light test, the Intel 670p comes very close to matching the performance of mainstream TLC NVMe drives for both the empty and full drive test runs. Write latencies (average and 99th percentile) are still clearly higher than TLC drives, but not high enough to be a noticeable performance problem in storage-light real world usage. Power consumption is a bit on the high side, but that appears to be more due to the SSD controller than the downsides of QLC NAND.

PCMark 10 Storage Benchmarks

The PCMark 10 Storage benchmarks are IO trace based tests similar to our own ATSB tests. For more details, please see the overview of our 2021 Consumer SSD Benchmark Suite.

PCMark 10 Storage Traces
Full System Drive Overall Score Average Bandwidth Average Latency
Quick System Drive Overall Score Average Bandwidth Average Latency
Data Drive Overall Score Average Bandwidth Average Latency

Since we run the PCMark 10 Storage tests starting from an empty drive, the Intel SSD 670p is able to make full use of its large and very fast SLC cache. That puts it at the top of the charts for both the Quick System Drive and Full System Drive tests, and competitive with good TLC drives on the Data Drive test that is more geared toward sequential IO.

Introduction Synthetic Tests: Basic IO Patterns
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  • bananaforscale - Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - link

    Fascinating. I have a Netgear GS810EMX connected to an Aquantia AQC-108, and the NIC has issues in Linux when it's receiving lots of data, but works fine in Windows.This requires further research. Reply
  • justaviking - Monday, March 1, 2021 - link

    A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE...

    Billy wrote: "More importantly, at 0.2 DWPD Intel's QLC SSDs aren't that far behind the 0.3 DWPD that most consumer TLC SSDs are rated for."

    A 0.1 DWPD difference might not sound like it is "that far behind," but on the other hand that is 33% behind, and 33% *is* significant.
    Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Monday, March 1, 2021 - link

    My thinking is that the 33% difference on paper is a lot less significant than it looks at first glance, because most consumers won't come close to crossing either limit. If 0.1 DWPD is probably sufficient for your usage and 0.2 DWPD definitely is, then 0.3 DWPD doesn't really have much added benefit. Reply
  • frbeckenbauer - Monday, March 1, 2021 - link

    I bought a Samsung PM9A1 for 115€. What is intel doing with these prices? A 1TB QLC SSD should be the price they're offering here for the 512GB version. Reply
  • Machinus - Monday, March 1, 2021 - link

    You can still run linux on an X-25E RAID for the next 100 years. Reply
  • MDD1963 - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - link

    Intel does not Eff around when you have used up your allotted writes....; good or bad still, you are damn well done writing once you've used them up! Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Monday, March 1, 2021 - link

    Hey Billy. What is the best 240-256GB NVMe today? I am looking for something under $50 that is the fastest there is currently for system boot times and mixed I/O. Reply
  • Tomatotech - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - link

    To start with I wouldn't buy a 256GB NVME. Speed scales with size quite well for NVME, and the difference from 256 -> 512 -> 1TB is astounding. Go for a 1TB. This is going to be the fastest drive on your system by far, and more fast space is always useful.

    The next thing is make sure you get a drive that folds *all* (or almost all) unused space into SLC space. This means that with an empty 1TB TLC drive, you get 330GB of high-speed SLC space. Smaller drives give you far less cache space. My 1TB is about 500GB full, means I still have about around 150GB SLC storage left. (it's a 2018 Adata SX8200 1TB, non-pro).

    Beyond that, eh, from a user perspective they're all roughly equal, look at the table on the last page of the article. Used 1TB NVMe drives are a good buy too, there's not much that can go wrong with them, and if there is, you'll find out on first boot. The only things I would check for in a used working NVME drive is a) total writes, but it's extremely rare for that to be excessively high; and b) run a speed test - if that seems slow, then do a full secure erase and the SSD should be back to full performance, but even that is rarely needed with modern OSes.
    Reply
  • Hifihedgehog - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - link

    My price point was $50 and under so you ignored a key point from the very beginning. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - link

    USB sticks are used all over the place for booting.

    And you get relatively fast µSD-cards which you could combine with a USB reader-stick.
    A "class 10/A2" rating card can be had at many capacity points where NVMe no longer goes.
    Reply

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