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Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD Review

Posted 13 September 2016 15:00 CET by Wendy Robertson

 

Power requirements and efficiency

Storage device manufacturers by law must provide power consumption specifications with their storage device products. Quite often these specifications are quite vague, and rarely, if ever, publish the power efficiency of their storage devices with regard to how much work a storage device can do for a given amount of energy consumed. In this article we will disclose with unprecedented precision, the energy efficiency of some popular storage devices. 

Myce has now secured a piece of 'state of the art' test equipment, which takes a sample every four micro-seconds, that I will be using to measure the power consumption of consumer grade SSDs and HDDs. I'm so very proud to be able to announce that Myce.com, in partnership with Quarch Technology, now aims to bring our readers the most comprehensive, and accurate, power consumption tests ever carried out on consumer grade storage devices, to be found anywhere on the Internet.

Myce’s Power Testing will be carried out using Quarch Technology products. More specifically we are privileged that Quarch has allowed us to use their latest XLC Programmable Power Module (‘XLC PPM’) and we would also like to take this opportunity to give a huge 'thank you' to Quarch for providing this equipment. The XLC PPM is specifically designed for testing low power sleep states on modern SSDs and as such has a remarkably accurate low level current measurement, down to 100μA (micro amps, or millionths of an amp). Please click here for details.

Quarch Technology is a world leader in the supply of testing solutions for the data storage industry and if you would like any further information please visit their website by clicking here

Let's take a closer look at the Quarch XLC PPM box in a bit more detail.

Quarch Technology XLC PPM

The Quarch Technology XLC PPM is able to provide two power supply rails to the target SSD. A 12V (volt) rail is required for PCIe based SSDs, and also for SATA HDDs, SATA HDDs also require the 5V rail to function. All the power requirements of a SATA SSD are handled by the 5V rail.

As already mentioned, PCIe SSDs also require a 12V rail, but the second rail is 3.3V rather than the 5V rail used by SATA SSDs. Generally, most of the PCIe based SSDs that I have tested, which admittedly isn't a huge number at the moment, draw their power from the 12V rail, the exception being the Intel 750 NVMe SSD which uses both the 12V and 3.3V rails.

The Quarch Technology XLC PPM can switch between 5V and 3.3V on the secondary power output channel as required. So for SATA based SSDs it is set to 5V, and for PCIe based SSDs, it is set to 3.3V.  

On the left hand side of the Quarch XLC PPM, you can see trigger in and out sockets. These are used for external triggering of the XLC PPM. For now, I will not be using this feature.

On the right of the Quarch XLC PPM, you can see the socket where the main power injection lead connects.

On the rear of the box (not shown) you will find a USB 2 socket, a power socket (to supply power to the unit) and a Torridon connection interface, for connecting to external equipment.

My setup.

Although the Quarch Technology XLC PPM can be used on a single PC, which can act both as host and measurement system, I will be using two PCs to run the tests. One PC will handle the measurements, and the second PC will act both as a host for the target SSD, and will also be used to load the target SSD with data. This will allow me to do some pretty fancy power consumption tests.

 


I will first show the type of workload being used to load the SSD during the power consumption test. I will then present the power consumption graph, and power consumption statistics of the SSD.

I will display the results in the form of bar graphs, at the end of each test carried out in this article, so one can compare the results obtained on all the SSDs featured in this article.

I will use the following IOMeter test patterns to load the SSD or HDD.

  • 4K random read and write at a queue depth of 1 (to emulate a lightweight consumer workload).
  • 4K random read and write at a queue depth of 4 (to emulate a medium workload).
  • 4K random read and write at a queue depth of 32 (to emulate a heavy workload).
  • 512K sequential read (to emulate reading a sequential file from the storage device).
  • 512K sequential write (to emulate writing a sequential file to the storage device).

I will also show graphs that will display how much work an SSD can do for a given amount of energy usage. To do this I will use the IOMeter results obtained in the tests, and then use a simple calculation to work out how many IOPS a drive can generate per Watt of power consumed.

The calculation used for the results is IOPS divided by the amount of power consumed in Watts.

Example: The Intel 750 NVMe 1.2TB SSD obtained an IOPS result of 219,716.47 IOPS for 4K random read at a queue depth of 32, and consumed 5097mW (5.097 Watts). Divide the IOPS by 5.097 and this shows that the Intel 750 NVMe SSD can generate 43,107.01 IOPS per Watt of energy consumed for this particular workload.

For all these tests IOMeter was used to generate the test patterns and workload for the target SSD. The tests were run for a duration of approximately 90 seconds.

I will also run a couple of additional tests.

  • Power consumption when the drive is idle.
  • The maximum power required to initialise a drive (this is for information only).

All results in this article are derived from the 'average power consumption' and are displayed in milliwatts (mW), unless otherwise stated.

Power requirements for a lightweight consumer workload. - 4K random read and write QD1

A typical lightweight consumer workload will generally be at very low queue depths. Typically at a queue depth of one or less. I'm testing random data at a block size of 4 Kilobytes, as this block size of small random files is generally accepted as the most frequently occurring in the consumer environment.

I will show the chart generated by the Quarch XLC PPM for the drive that I have tested. I will then show the results in the form of bar graphs, so one can easily compare with other recently tested SSDs.

There will actually be two bar graphs for each test. The first graph will show the average power consumption during the test run. The second graph, which is much more important, will indicate the power efficiency of the storage device, showing how much work the storage device can do for each Watt of energy it consumes.

4K Random Read - queue depth 1

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – 4K random read QD1

The Samsung 750 EVO consumes the least amount of power, with the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB consuming 980.07 mW, but let’s see how this translates to power efficiency in the graph below.

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB is the least power efficient SSD in this test, managing 6158.99 IOPS per Watt.

4K Random Write - queue depth 1

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – 4K random write QD1

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB has an average power consumption of 1266.7 mW, but let’s see how this translates to power efficiency.

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 is very power efficient in this test, managing 24448.24 IOPS per Watt.


Power requirements for a medium weight consumer workload. - 4K random read and write QD4

A typical medium weight consumer workload will generally be at a queue depth of four or lower. This workload would typically involve some multitasking, with perhaps two or three applications running, and processing data simultaneously.  I'm testing random data at a block size of 4 Kilobytes, as this block size of small random files is generally accepted as the most frequently occurring in the consumer environment.

I will show the charts generated by the Quarch XLC PPM, for the drive that I have tested. I will then show the results in the form of bar graphs, so one can easily compare with other recently tested SSDs.

There will actually be two bar graphs for each test. The first graph will show the average power consumption during the test run. The second graph, which is much more important, will indicate the power efficiency of the storage device, showing how much work the storage device can do for each Watt of energy it consumes.

4K Random Read - queue depth 4

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – 4K random read QD4

In this test the Toshiba OCZ VX500 is consuming an average of 1270.85 mW, but again let’s see how this translates to the drive's power efficiency in the graph below.

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD isn’t very power efficient in this test, finishing in sixth place.

4K Random Write - queue depth 4

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – 4K random write QD4

This time the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB has an average power consumption of 2041.73 mW of energy.

Here the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD does well, managing 29858.18 IOPS for each Watt of energy consumed.


Power requirements for a heavyweight consumer workload. - 4K random read and write QD32

Whilst this workload is unlikely arise for the casual consumer PC user, it could well appear in a semi-professional consumer environment, such as in a graphics workstation. This workload would usually involve heavy multitasking, and having several processes running concurrently that require constant access to small files located on the storage device for input or output.

I'm testing random data at a block size of 4 Kilobytes, as this block size of small random files is generally accepted as the most frequently occurring in the consumer environment.

I will show the chart generated by the Quarch XLC PPM, for the drive that I have tested. I will then show the results in the form of bar graphs, so one can easily compare with other recently tested SSDs.

There will actually be two bar graphs for each test. The first graph will show the average power consumption during the test run. The second graph, which is much more important, will indicate the power efficiency of the storage device, showing how much work the storage device can do for each Watt of energy it consumes.

4K Random Read - queue depth 32

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – 4K random read QD32

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD has an average power consumption of 2497.52 mW.

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB is very power efficient, managing a very good 37454.69 IOPS per Watt of energy consumed.

4K Random Write - queue depth 32

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – 4K random write QD32

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD has an average power consumption of 2060.12 mW in this test.

This translates to the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB managing a credible 29799.31 IOPS per Watt of energy consumed.


Power requirements of a storage device when reading and writing sequential data

Not all of a consumer workload is based around the reading and writing of small random files. Many files are sequential in nature, and can vary in size from a few Kilobytes to several Gigabytes, so your storage device will spend a lot of time reading and writing sequential data.

I'm testing sequential data at a block size of 512 Kilobytes.

There will actually be two bar graphs for each test. The first graph will show the average power consumption during the test run. The second graph, which is much more important, will indicate the power efficiency of the storage device, showing how much work the storage device can do for each Watt of energy it consumes.

512KB Sequential read

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – Sequential read

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD has an average power consumption of 1770.61 mW during this test, but let’s see how this translates into its energy efficiency.

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD is the most energy efficient SSD in this test, managing an impressive 595.51 IOPS for each Watt of energy it consumes.

512KB Sequential write

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – Sequential write

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD has an average power consumption of 1852.6 mW during this test.

Once again, the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD is the most power efficient, managing a extremely impressive 536.62 IOPS per Watt.


Power requirements of storage devices when they are idle and doing no work at all

The practical reality relating to power consumption is that it can be quite erratic and sometimes unpredictable. Some of us will invest in the most powerful PC we can afford, only to find that the PC can spend quite a lot of time running and doing absolutely nothing. Storage devices are no different.

Often we can be sitting idly pondering what to do next, or perhaps browsing the Internet. When we arrive at a page that interests us, we will read it, and that can take a fair amount of time to complete. During this period the storage device will most likely be idle, but still consuming energy.

In this test, I'm measuring how much energy the storage device consumes when doing no work at all.

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB – Drive idle

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD consumes very little energy when doing no work at all. It isn’t quite as efficient as the two Samsung SSDs or the ZOTAC, but nonetheless, 106.77 mW when idle is still an excellent result.


I will now show a couple of additional tests which are for information only.

Power requirements to initialise a storage device.

This test is for information and interest only, and in these results we're looking at the maximum power consumption figure during initialisation of each drive, rather than the average power consumption for each device.

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD – Power up maximum power requirements.

The Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB requires 4563.96 mW of power to kick it into life. This test is for information only.


Power requirement trace of an SSD booting Windows 10, in real time.

This test is for interest only, and shows the power requirements of the review SSD booting Windows 10 to the desktop.

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD – Real time trace of the drive booting Windows 10 to the desktop.

Summary

The power efficiency of the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD is a mixed bag. It’s very energy efficient when reading and writing sequential data, but when reading and writing random data, its energy efficiency is not the best in class.

When the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD is doing no work at all, it is a very energy efficient SSD, consuming only 106.77 mW of energy when idle.

 

 

This concludes our review. To read the final thoughts and conclusion, click the link below....

 

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