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

For SATA drives, the Samsung 870 EVOs turn in class-leading scores on almost all of the performance metrics. But these improvements are all marginal at best; the SATA interface bottleneck almost completely levels the playing field. The small improvements to read latency brought by the 870 EVO pale in comparison to what is achieved by even entry-level NVMe SSDs.

In stark contrast to the performance numbers, the 870 EVOs turn out to be the most power-hungry TLC drives in this bunch: they sacrifice some of the efficiency improvements the 860 EVO provided, even though drives like the SK hynix Gold S31 have been able to deliver significant improvement on this.

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

The scores for the Heavy test paint much the same picture as for The Destroyer. The full-drive test runs additionally show that the worst-case performance of the mainstream SATA SSDs is still superior to many entry-level NVMe SSDs, even though the NVMe SSDs significantly outperform SATA for any more normal workload.

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 measurable but imperceptible performance advantages of the 870 EVOs over other SATA drives have basically disappeared. The read latency scores on the full-drive test runs may be a tiny bit better than the 860 EVO, but the only scores that have clearly shifted with this new generation are the energy consumption figures that have creeped up.

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

The Full System Drive test from the PCMark 10 Storage suite shows a much wider spread of performance scores among SATA drives than our ATSB traces, but also a much smaller advantage for the NVMe drives. Judging by this test, the 870 EVO offers a small but real improvement to performance compared to earlier SATA drives. The 4TB 870 QVO also scores quite well since it benefits from the same controller and has enough SLC cache to almost match the performance of the 4TB 870 EVO.

The subset of tests included in the Quick System Drive and Data Drive benchmarks show a more level playing field among SATA SSDs, and a greater advantage for NVMe drives. Since we run these tests before the Full System Drive test, each drive is closer to its fresh out-of-the-box state, which helps these tests get closer to showing the theoretical peak performance of a drive.

Introduction Synthetic Tests: Basic IO Patterns
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  • watzupken - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    I don't think SATA is going to go away anytime soon. While it is not as fast as a good NVME SSD, it makes up for it by offering a good price to capacity ratio. It just like why mechanical drive still exists today. Most NVME SSDs are affordable up to around 1TB, and at higher capacity, the prices goes up significantly. Also one is usually limited to 2 or 3 NVME slots due to limitation of number of PCI-E lanes. Thus, having the SATA ports to supplement additional storage is unlikely to go away, at least from a desktop perspective. Reply
  • sonny73n - Thursday, February 18, 2021 - link

    "..,Most NVME SSDs are affordable up to around 1TB, and at higher capacity, the prices goes up significantly."

    Please stop spouting BS.
    ADATA SX8200 Pro 2TB M.2 $239
    Samsung 870 EVO 2TB SATA $249
    Both is on Amazon right now.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    2TB on black Friday for an ADATA over a year ago. $250 isn't impressive. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    2TB for $200 I meant. Reply
  • Shlong - Thursday, February 18, 2021 - link

    SATA is necessary if you need multiple drives. I only have two M.2 slots on my motherboard but numerous SATA ports. I have a 512GB boot drive and 1TB data drive in both slots. I need more storage so I have a couple 2TB SATA SSD's connected. Reply
  • ET - Saturday, February 20, 2021 - link

    You're confusing SATA with the disk form factor. There are SATA M.2 drive, SATA 2.5" drives and SATA 3.5" drives. SATA M.2 drives get their power from the same connector, by the way.

    The box size has little to do with the interface, more to do with case compatibility. Cases which are built to house multiple drives have spaces set up for them. That's a standard and both cases and drives are designed for it. The drive could theoretically be designed to be smaller (and there were 1.8" drives in the past).
    Reply
  • TelstarTOS - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    More common? Yes.
    Cheaper? Hell no. Still over 10c/GB
    Reply
  • Kurosaki - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    A shame the 3 TB version is 379 USD to expensive. This will never work unless price per GB falls to a quarter of today's, and reliability data retention wise gets at least on par with the spinners. 479 for 4TB is just ridiculous. Reply
  • ksec - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    SATA SSD are not intended for Speed though. They are aiming at large storage HDD replacement. Give me a QLC SATA 8TB for $399 and I will still buy it. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    With 8TB it might not be quite so horrible. Reply

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