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Samsung SSD 950 PRO Solid State Drive Review

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Iometer IOPS Performance

Iometer is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. Iometer does for a computer’s I/O subsystem what a dynamometer does for an engine: it measures performance under a controlled load. Iometer was originally developed by the Intel Corporation and formerly known as “Galileo”. Intel has discontinued work on Iometer, and has gifted it to the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL). There is currently a new version of Iometer in beta form, which adds several new test dimensions for SSDs.

Iometer is both a workload generator (that is, it performs I/O operations in order to stress the system) and a measurement tool (that is, it examines and records the performance of its I/O operations and their impact on the system). It can be configured to emulate the disk or network I/O load of any program or benchmark, or can be used to generate entirely synthetic I/O loads. It can generate and measure loads on single or multiple (networked) systems.

All of our SSD tests used 64-bit Iometer 1.1.0 by Intel Corporation to measure IOPS performance. To measure random I/O response time as well as total I/O’s per second, Iometer is set to utilize 4KB file transfers over 100% random sequential distribution at a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O’s on each of four worker targets. The results below illustrate total read and write IOPS over a 120-second test phase, where highest I/O total is preferred: Iometer-Win64-4K-4T-100-random-read-4K-align-X99

Iometer Random 4K Reads: Intel X99 Platform

Iometer-Win64-4K-4T-100-random-read-4K-align-Z170

Iometer Random 4K Reads: Intel Z170 Platform

The 512GB Samsung SSD 950 PRO M.2 solid state drive produced 258,752 read IOPS with the X99 test system, while the Z170 platform generated a substantially higher 253,313 read IOPS in our tests.

Iometer write I/O tests are up next:

Iometer-Win64-4K-4T-100-random-write-4K-align-X99

Iometer Random 4K Writes: Intel X99 Platform

Iometer-Win64-4K-4T-100-random-write-4K-align-Z170

Iometer Random 4K Writes: Intel Z170 Platform

The 512GB Samsung SSD 950 PRO M.2 solid state drive produced 93,835 write IOPS installed in the X99 test system, while the Z170 platform generated 94,191 IOPS in our tests.

Familiar readers will notice that bandwidth has scaled with the transition from SATA to PCIe, and as a result IOPS performance grows with it. Although the device’s storage controller determines output rate, performance is enhanced by the incredibly fast transfer speeds made possible by the PCIe bus M.2 interface.

In our next section, we test continuous linear sequential read and write bandwidth performance with AIDA64…


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6 comments

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  1. Daniele Cosentino

    Hi. Why u used the adapter for the x99 deluxe and not the integrated M.2 Socket?
    I buught one of those but i couldn’t make it works on my x99 deluxe.

    It is not compatible with the M.2 X4 socket?

    1. Olin Coles

      Looking at their website, it doesn’t appear that the ASUS X99-DELUXE has an integrated M.2 socket. See for yourself: https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/X99DELUXE/

      1. Eric Anderson

        The x99 Deluxe very much does have an integrated m.2 socket, and it even ships with a secondary extended pci-e x4 m.2 bracket.

        I’m having the same issue of it not being recognized in the BIOS, but the device seems to be recognized in Windows (running Windows 10).

        1. mangel

          Did you ever get the 950 pro to appear in your bios. I have the similar problem with the X99 Deluxe (1st edition).. Also nothing appears under NVME in the bios. Does boot into windows 10.

          The intel 750 series NVME does appear in both the boot section as well as the NVME section although the latter has no configurable settings.

  2. Chad

    Why does Crystalmark show such low 4K read speeds vs some of the other benchmarks? I have the 950 pro installed on a z170 Asus Hero VIII and I have that same issue. In fact, Samsung’s magician also reports about 208K with 4K IOPS read.

    1. David Ramsey

      That is an excellent question, and the only answer I have is “I dunno.”

      Hard disk drive performance is extremely repeatable: the platters have defined sectors, the drive may have a few megabytes of cache, but in general I can run various read and write tests all day long and see very little variance in the results.

      SSDs are something else entirely. They’re little “storage computers”, with multi-core processors, varying amounts of cache, and different strategies and internal protocols striving to balance performance with NAND durability. When I send a command to a hard disk, about all the controller does after a cache check is figure out which platter, track, and sector I want to deal with; when I send a command to an SSD, well, who knows what’s going on? It’s an evolving system and the various vendors don’t disclose the operational details for competitive reasons. Samsung doesn’t publish any details on the “UBX” controller they use on this drive, so all I can do is speculate.

      What this boils down to is:

      A. Running the same test multiple times can yield different results. Simple example: run a linear write test on a “clean” SSD, followed immediately by another run of the same test. The second iteration will show significantly reduced performance since the controller will have to erase each “sector” before writing to it the second time.

      B. Performance during a test can vary. Look at the AIDA64 linear read test on the Z170 and X99 platforms. Why are the results “smoother” on the X99? Again, who knows?

      Complicating the issue is the fact that this is our first NVMe SSD. Is this a factor? Will all NVMe SSDs show this relative to AHCI SSDs? Stay tuned! In the meantime all we can do is run the tests and report the results.

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