Ed­ward Ch­ester takes a look at the lat­est SATA solid state drives to find which ones of­fer the best bang per buck

Custom PC - - FRONT PAGE -

How we test

SATA drives might not rep­re­sent the glam­orous end of the SSD mar­ket, but they’re fast enough to cope with large file trans­fers, while of­fer­ing quick Win­dows boots and fast game load­ing times. Some games still take a while to load, but the bot­tle­neck is sel­dom stor­age, un­like in the days of hard drives.

What’s more, there are a cou­ple of ex­cit­ing new ad­di­tions to the world of SATA SSDs. Both Sam­sung and Mi­cron have re­leased brand-new mod­els, and while per­for­mance is still lim­ited by the SATA in­ter­face, ca­pac­i­ties are up and prices are set to trickle down­wards. While NVMe M.2 drives can be much quicker in some tests, they also tend to be around 40 per cent more ex­pen­sive. Un­less you have a spe­cific need for that speed, it’s sel­dom worth it.

You can also get SATA SSDs in an M.2 form fac­tor, so you can still get a value op­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing your tiny build. For this test, though, we’ve stuck to tra­di­tional 2.5in drives. Test­ing was car­ried out with an Asus Z-170A moth­er­board, an In­tel Core i5-6600K, 16GB of Cor­sair Vengeance LPX 2666MHz DDR4 RAM and a Sapphire Va­por-X R9 290 graph­ics card.

We start with two stal­warts of syn­thetic SSD bench­mark­ing, Crys­talDiskMark and AS SSD. These tests are run at de­fault set­tings, other than chang­ing the work­load size to 5/4GB, to give the drives a bit more of a sus­tained run. These bench­marks give a solid in­di­ca­tion of peak se­quen­tial read and write speeds, as well as ran­dom read and write speeds at sev­eral queue depths. Each test is run three times and the av­er­age is recorded.

Next up is PCMark 8’s sec­ondary stor­age test, which runs a se­ries of real app stor­age traces to gauge per­for­mance in dif­fer­ence ap­pli­ca­tion sce­nar­ios. The traces in­clude load­ing games, run­ning both a heavy and light work­load in Pho­to­shop, and run­ning lighter traces in Word and Ex­cel.

Our fi­nal test is IOme­ter, which puts each drive un­der a sus­tained ran­dom read and write work­load. We can then check that the drive’s claimed ran­dom IOPS fig­ures hold up. We used to also test boot speed us­ing Bootracer, but with these drives all be­ing lim­ited to SATA, there’s now no prac­ti­cal dif­fer­ence in Win­dows load times.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.