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【Performance Test】DRAMeXchange’s 2012 SSD Ranking – 42 SSDs Go Head-to-Head


Published May.30 2012,15:51 PM (GMT+8)

 

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【 Overview 】

The SSD market has gradually matured since DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, previously stated that NAND flash-based SSD price had reached a sweet spot. Currently, SSD products are flourishing, and different controller chips are used based on storage capacity and performance requirements. In 2012, SSD shipment volume will increase dramatically due to the popularity of ultrabooks, the arrival of Intel’s new platform, and the release of Windows 8. The device upgrade cycle brought about by these events will greatly benefit SSD products.



TrendForce believes, with SSD price decreasing and storage capacity increasing, better SSD is the most effective way to improve performance.

SSD not only reduces device boot time and application startup time, but also speeds up other tasks such as document processing, etc. Whether for business purposes or gaming needs, SSD provides a better overall user experience.

Increased density is a result of continually decreasing NAND flash chip price. NAND flash market demand comes mainly from SSDs, tablet PCs, and smartphones. Currently, 120 GB SSD is readily available – the higher density is being used in more and more notebooks and becoming the market mainstream. As for 60 GB SSD, adoption in desktops is an affordable way to increase speed, while documents and images can be stored in traditional hard drives.

【 DRAMeXchange’s Annual SSD Test 】

It’s time for TrendForce’s annual mainstream SSD test, and this year we tested 42 models of 2.5-inch SSD, covering affordable basic SSD to mid-level, high-speed SSD used by small and medium businesses or work stations. Test groups were divided into SATA2 60 GB, SATA2 120 GB, the newest SATA3 120 GB, and SATA3 200 GB.

The groups were divided based on data transfer interface and density. According to TrendForce research, for traditional 2.5-inch HDD, the specification often seen in standard notebooks, read speed is around 100 MBps. In comparison, mainstream SSD read speeds are at least 200 MBps. SATA2 SSD theoretically has maximum transfer speeds of 300 MBps, limited by SATA2 speeds. If a new SSD adopts a controller chip and NAND flash chip able to reach speeds over 300 MBps, the best choice would be to use SATA3 (SATA 6 GB/s), as its highest theoretical speed is 600 MBps.

This is the first time we have added a SATA3 200 GB group, not only due to decreased price, but because it is the primary choice for business use, as well as individuals seeking high performance. The new specification provides a significantly more noticeable increase in performance and ample storage capacity, making it suitable for those with high budgets.

The following is this year’s SSD test product specification chart:



【 About SSD Storage Capacity 】

TrendForce believes, traditional hard drive storage capacity is on an increasing trend, reaching 1 TB, 2 TB, and higher. Due to higher price, SSD needs to be purchased in amounts greater than 60 GB. As Windows 7 and Windows 8 both take up a fair amount of storage, 32 GB SSD is quickly becoming obsolete, with 60 GB and 120 GB or higher presenting a more suitable choice.

SSD cost is naturally higher – currently, the market mainstream is 128 GB. Products over 200 GB are now more affordable than in the past, but in terms of the price-performance ratio, 128 GB is still the best deal.

【 Testing Platform Information 】

The following hardware and software was used for testing:



The system used for testing was SATA2 and SATA3 supported Intel Ivy Bridge with i5 processor. Operating systems used were Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 and Ubuntu Linux 12.04 64-bit.

As for benchmarking software, AS SSD Benchmark is a multi-purpose speed and operational performance test.

AIDA64 is a new SSD benchmarking software.
HDTune Pro v4.60 measures read/write speeds.
IOMeter v1.1.0.rc measures processing performance of SSD controller chips when handling large amounts of IO.
Linux Disk Utility “Palimpsest” 2.32.1 from Red Hat, Inc. measures read/write performance and random access time under non-Microsoft OS platform.

Note: Due to the nature of NAND flash chips, after data has been written it cannot be completely erased even after it is deleted, which may result in slowed performance over time. Additionally, the NAND flash chips used in retail products may differ batch to batch, which could result in performance differences.