AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
Many enthusiasts are familiar with the Finalwire AIDA64 benchmark suite, but very few are aware of the Disk Benchmark tool available inside the program. The AIDA64 Disk Benchmark performs linear read and write bandwidth tests on each drive, and can be configured to use file chunk sizes up to 1MB (which speeds up testing and minimizes jitter in the waveform). Because of the full sector-by-sector nature of linear testing, Benchmark Reviews endorses this method for testing SSD products, as detailed in our Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing article. One of the advantages SSDs have over traditional spinning-platter hard disks is much more consistent bandwidth: hard disk bandwidth drops off as the capacity draws linear read/write speed down into the inner-portion of the disk platter. AIDA64 Disk Benchmark does not require a partition to be present for testing, so all of our benchmarks are completed prior to drive formatting.
Linear disk benchmarks are superior bandwidth speed tools because they scan from the first physical sector to the last. A side affect of many linear write-performance test tools is that the data is erased as it writes to every sector on the drive. Normally this isn’t an issue, but it has been shown that partition table alignment will occasionally play a role in overall SSD performance (HDDs don’t suffer this problem).
Samsung 950 PRO RAID-0 SSD Read Results
We run the AIDA64 linear read and write tests with a 1M block size. There’s about a 7-8% “wobble” in the read results but the average of 3.12 gigabytes per second across the entire array is still amazing. Note, though, the high CPU utilization: normally in SSD testing the CPU utilization is 0-2%; here it’s 14%! This is because the “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” RAID driver is a software-based system: while a server or industrial computer would have a dedicated RAID controller, this consumer-level Intel system does it all in software.
AIDA64 linear write-to tests were next…
Samsung 950 PRO RAID-0 SSD Write Results
The pattern we see here in the write results is very similar to the pattern we saw on this benchmark with a single 950 PRO. However, the difference between the maximum and minimum transfer rates our our Samsung 950 array was very large at about 1.3GB/s, much higher than the 158MB/s deviation we saw with the single drive.
The average write performance, at 1723MB/s, wasn’t as much faster as you’d expect from the single drive’s average performance of 1349 MB/s. However, note the maximum performance of 2.5GB/s is maintained for just over 20%– about 200 gigabytes– of drive space.This is a gigabyte per second faster than the 1.5GB/s maximum we saw from the single drive, and is maintained over a larger amount of data as well. Unless you routinely write over 200GB of data sequentially at once, the write performance you’ll get from this array will be much closed to the maximum rather than the average speeds reported here.
The chart below shows the average linear read and write bandwidth speeds for a cross-section of storage devices tested with AIDA64. The performance of the Samsung 950 PRO, whether singly or in a RAID-0 array, makes all the other drives look puny.
Linear tests are an important tool for comparing bandwidth speed between storage products, serve to highlight the consistent-bandwidth advantages of SSDs, which don’t suffer the performance drop-off that HDDs do as the test proceeds away from the fast outer edge of the disk.
In the next section we use PCMark Vantage to test real-world performance…