Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review – A budget SSD

I/O Performance

There is little point of having an SSD
drive that has blazing sustained reading and writing speeds, if the drive can’t
handle reading and writing of small random files. If you intend to use your new
SSD drive to store and run your operating system, then the drive must be able to
cope with the many small random files that Windows will write to the drive
continually. So I feel it is very important to test how many of these random
files that a drive can handle in one second. I believe that anything over 1,000
I/O’s per second would be enough for most users running a consumer grade
mainstream PC, and should provide a smooth running system. But obviously, the
more I/O’s that a drive can handle, the faster the drive will feel and leave
more headroom for those huge multitasking sessions that users sometimes engage
in.

The things that I will look at are the
total I/O per second and total MB/s.

Partition alignment and sector boundaries

Windows 7 and Vista will automatically
align a partition to 4k boundaries during partition creation, Windows XP won’t.
It is imperative that an SSDs partition is aligned. Windows XP is also
restricted to sector boundaries, while Windows 7 will use 4k boundaries if it
can. The Corsair Force LX is 4k boundary aware, and will use these boundaries if
possible. Of course it will also remap LBAs for compatibility with the sector
boundaries so that the drive can be used with Windows XP.

IOMeter allows us to set the sector
boundaries for conducting the tests, and I have therefore set the sector
boundaries at 4K, which means the IOMeter tests are valid for Windows 7 and
Windows Vista users. XP users will not be able to obtain such results.

I will provide a screenshot of the tests on
the review drive for those of you who like to see the actual test result. All
the comparison drive results are represented in the form of graphs.

If any of you would like to see a
screenshot from any IOMeter test on a particular drive, please feel free to
request one, and I’ll post the screenshot in the forum thread.

All the IOMeter tests create a 10GB data
set on the target drive, and each test is run for a duration of 3 minutes.


IOMeter 4K random write test with repeating data.

The first test involves creating continual
4KB random files on the target drive with IOMeter. I use a 4KB file size, as it
is believed that Windows will create and modify many of this size of file
constantly in the background during a typical Windows session. It is said that
most 4K random writes take place at a queue depth of only one.

Queue depth 1

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD – 4K random write (Queue depth 1)

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

Queue depth 4

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD (Queue depth 4)

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

Queue depth 32

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD (Queue depth 32)

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

4K random write queue depth profile

For this
test I used various queue depths from 1 – 32 to give you an idea how this SSD
performs at different queue depths. For a normal desktop user, with lightweight
multitasking, the queue depth will rarely rise above 2. For heavy multitasking,
the queue depth is unlikely to rise above a value of 8.

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

A detailed view of the performance of the Corsair
Force LX SSD with various Queue Depths.


IOMeter 4K random read test.

If there are many 4k files created, then
that must also mean that many 4k files need to be read. This test measures 4k
reading performance.

Queue depth 1

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD (Queue depth 1)

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

Queue depth 4

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD (Queue depth 4)

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

Queue depth 32

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD (Queue depth 32)

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

4K random read queue depth profile.    

This test
shows how the review drive scales with increasing queue depths.

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

Here is a more detailed view of the performance
of the Corsair Force LX SSD at different Queue Depths.


IOMeter 512KB write test with repeating data.

Sequential writing performance is also very
important; in this test sequential writing performance is measured.


Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD 512K Sequential write with repeating data

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

Again the Corsair Force LX SSD is limited
by its write performance.


IOMeter 512KB read test.

This test measures 512k sequential reading
performance.

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD – 512K sequential reading test

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

This read shows the opposite result from
the write test, as here the Corsair Force LX is on top of the chart with its
sequential performance.


IOMeter Workstation simulation (outstanding I/Os = 64).

When running applications you will find
that there is a mixture of small random files and larger sequential files,
being created and read. Not only that, it isn’t just one file at a time. In
this test I measure a simulated workstation pattern, with a queue depth of 64
(threaded).

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD – Workstation simulation

Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD Review - A budget SSD

Finishing this set of tests the Corsair
Force LX SSD ends up in the middle. Again, a very good result for the Corsair
SSD.

Summary

The only limiting factor for the Corsair
Force LX SSD is its write speed, but we expected this from this drive, the rest
of the performance is very good for its class.

 

Now let’s head to the next page where we
will look at how the
Corsair Force LX SSD
performs using Anvil’s Storage utilities….