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Samsung 950 PRO SSD RAID-0 Performance

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RAID Configuration

RAID is an acronym standing for– depending upon who you ask– either “Redundant Array of Independent Drives” or “Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives”. There are many types of RAID, some designed for data redundancy and reliability; some designed for speed, and some designed for a combination of both, but the common point of all RAID systems is that read and write requests are spread across multiple drives. There are many RAID variants but the three most common are mirrored systems, where multiple drives each contain the same data, ensuring data integrity if a drive fails; parity systems use a dedicated parity drive as a running check on the data, and the system we’ll be using, a striped system that splits reads and writes across multiple drives.

Theoretically a two-drive RAID-0 setup can result in a doubling of raw read and write performance, since each drive only has to handle half the data. In the real world, a 50% increase is a more reasonable expectation. Also, note that a two-drive RAID-0 system doubles your chances of drive failure, since both drive appear as a single logical drive to your system.

RAID-0 setups used to be common on enthusiast machines, as doubling the performance of a relatively slow hard disk was a huge win. But while RAID-0 will improve data transfer speeds, it won’t do a thing for IOPS– the number of requests the storage subsystem can handle per second. This is critical since the improved IOPS performance is the main reason SSD-based systems feel faster in daily use than hard drive based systems. Since a single SSD will outperform even RAIDED hard disks in data transfer rates, and vastly outperform them in IOPS, the utility of a RAID-0 system is less apparent than it used to be.

SSD Testing Disclaimer

Early on in our SSD coverage, Benchmark Reviews published an article which detailed Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing. The research and discussion that went into producing that article changed the way we now test SSD products. Our previous perceptions of this technology were lost on one particular difference: the wear leveling algorithm that makes data a moving target. Without conclusive linear bandwidth testing or some other method of total-capacity testing, our previous performance results were rough estimates at best.

Our test results were obtained after each SSD had been prepared using DISKPART or Sanitary Erase tools. As a word of caution, applications such as these offer immediate but temporary restoration of original ‘pristine’ performance levels. In our tests, we discovered that the maximum performance results (charted) would decay as subsequent tests were performed. SSDs attached to TRIM enabled Operating Systems will benefit from continuously refreshed performance, whereas older O/S’s will require a garbage collection (GC) tool to avoid ‘dirty NAND’ performance degradation.

It’s critically important to understand that no software for the Microsoft Windows platform can accurately measure SSD performance in a comparable fashion. Synthetic benchmark tools such as ATTO Disk Benchmark and Iometer are helpful indicators, but should not be considered the ultimate determining factor. That factor should be measured in actual user experience of real-world applications. Benchmark Reviews includes both bandwidth benchmarks and application speed tests to present a conclusive measurement of product performance.

Test System

  • Motherboard: MSI Z170A GAMING M7 Socket LGA 1151
  • Processor: 4.0GHz Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake CPU
  • System Memory: 16GB DDR4 2133MHz
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10

Storage Hardware Tested

The following storage hardware has been used in our benchmark performance testing, and may be included in portions of this article:

Test Tools

  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.6.4067.34354: Multi-purpose speed and operational performance test
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46: Spot-tests static file size chunks for basic I/O bandwidth
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1a by Crystal Dew World: Sequential speed benchmark spot-tests various file size chunks
  • Iometer 1.1.0 (built 08-Nov-2010) by Intel Corporation: Tests IOPS performance and I/O response time
  • Finalwire AIDA64: Disk Benchmark component tests linear read and write bandwidth speeds
  • Futuremark PCMark Vantage: HDD Benchmark Suite tests real-world drive performance

Test Results Disclaimer

This article utilizes benchmark software tools to produce operational IOPS performance and bandwidth speed results. Each test was conducted in a specific fashion, and repeated for all products. These test results are not comparable to any other benchmark application, neither on this website or another, regardless of similar IOPS or MB/s terminology in the scores. The test results in this project are only intended to be compared to the other test results conducted in identical fashion for this article.


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7 comments

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  1. Eric

    Question: Is RAID-0 SSDs worth it?
    Answer: Nope!

    1. David Ramsey

      Not for most people. Still, there are situations where yes, you could indeed use that kind of speed.

  2. David Musoke

    I have this drive configured as a 512GB x2 RAID-0 array.

    1. How can I update its driver from Samsung as it keeps on saying:

    “Samsung NVM Express Drive is not connected. Please connect the device and retry”.

    In fact no software from Samsung recognize my SSD RAID-0 array. What am I supposed to do to fix this? Samsung has not responded to my query…

    2. Can I convert from my RAID-0 array to a single 1TB drive without losing data? If so, how can I do it?
    The speed data you’ve taken there isn’t much difference in performance…

    Thanks,
    David

    1. David Ramsey

      1. Sorry, I don’t know of any way to get the Samsung software to recognize the RAID.

      2. No, there’s no way to convert your RAID 0 array “in place” to a non-RAID 1TB drive. You’ll have to back the drive’s contents up, break the array, created the spanned drive (if your motherboard BIOS supports that) and restore it.

      But why bother? The only thing you’d accomplish is making your 1TB volume somewhat slower. I’m pretty sure if the Samsung software won’t recognize a RAID 0 volume, it won’t recognize a spanned volume either.

  3. Oscar Alejandro Guignant

    Hi, the results obtained with CrystalDiskMark (3286MB/s reads and 2680MB/s writes) are on a software or hardware raid?
    I create a Raid 0 with Intel Raid Controller and not get to those numbers with CrystalDiskMark.

    1. David Ramsey

      Oscar, I created the RAID with the built-in software– i.e. Intel– on the MSI motherboard, which is equipped with two m.2 slots.

  4. Keith

    I recommend using an Asrock Extreme 7+ motherboard with Windows 10 on a flash drive and the latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers on another flash drive. This motherboard will allow you to create a RAID0 array on say thee Samsung 512GB m.2 drives. There are guides on the internet on how to setup the BIOS and go through the required steps.

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