Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

It has become clear that simply conducting
endless benchmarks on SSD drives is pointless. Real users may run a few
benchmarks when they first fit their SSD drive, but most users just want a
drive that performs well in the real world. They want their drive to work
"out of the box" and work fast and smoothly.

Most of the latest SSD drives can deliver
very fast sustained reading and writing speeds, but these alone tell you very
little about how the drive will perform in the real world.

If you intend to use your SSD as your
primary system drive, with an operating system and applications installed and
running from the drive, real world performance becomes much more important than
just fast sequential read and write speeds, in this case I felt that it was
time to move into a different method of testing.

From now on I will only use the log files
from the Event Viewer to measure the start-up and shutdown of the system, and
also use filecopy to measure all my copy tests from a RAM disk to the selected
storage drive that I will be testing. For these tests I will also enable all
power savings features that are available, since I believe that this is the way
that the majority of the users will have them set on their PC.

Real
world copy tests


I will now conduct some real world copy
tests so that you can have a much better view of how the drive will perform. In
these simple tests I try to simulate what a real user does with their drives. I
will be copying some mp3 files, various picture and MKV files, and finishing by
installing MS Office 2007.

As I said earlier from now on all my test
files will be stored in a RAM disk and copied/pasted to the destination drive
using filecopy. The filecopy utility will be used from now on for all my tests,
and I’ll be using it this way to measure the time that it takes to copy the
files.

Before I move on to the test, I want to
give you an idea on how fast your RAM is. Below you can find the results.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

As
we can clearly see speed isn’t going to be an issue in these tests.

Read write tests – 259 MP3 song files (1.36GB total)

I will start this set of tests by copying
259 MP3 files from the RAM disk to the destination SSD and also from the SSD to
the RAM disk.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

Very good results for the Netac N550S Elite
SSD, as both read and write times are very good.

Read write tests – 3,377 JPEG picture files (2.56GB total)

Continuing my set of tests, but this time I
will be copying 2.54GB of pictures that are stored in the RAM disk to the
currently testing SSD and vice versa.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

Again read and write times for the Netac
N550S Elite are very good.

Read write tests – 1 MKV and 1 SRT file (3.46GB)

Copying a movie is very common task for all
of us, and in this test there are two files that will be copied from the RAM
disk to the SSD and again from the SSD to the RAM disk.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

The Netac N550S Elite continues to give
very good performance.

Read write tests – ISO (7927MB)

For this test, I copied ISO of the ‘Iron
Man’ movie from the RAMDisk to the SSD and vice versa.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

Here we can see that the performance of the
Netac N550S Elite falls behind in the write test, and it shows that the SLC
cache isn’t enough to hold an almost 8GB file.

Read write tests – Small files (533MB)

I have decided to adapt the very small
files test that I am using as part of my USB3 flash tests, so this time I will
be also copying all the files from the RAM disk to the SSD, and again from the
SSD to the RAM disk.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

Even with very small files the Netac N550S
Elite gives a very good result.


Windows start-up based on the Boot Racer 5.00

Start-up time

On the next screen shot you can compare the
current tested SSD and compare it to other drives that I tested. Below I
present the results.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

30.7 seconds is a very good result for the
Netac N550S Elite SSD.

Installing applications


Installing applications is possibly
something you don’t do that often. But should you replace your system disk,
then you will most likely have to re-install your applications. Most of the SSD
drives I have tested up until now are quite slow at installing applications,
most likely because their I/O performance was quite limited.

For these tests, we picked some popular
applications and copied the entire contents of the CD or DVD media to the RAM disk.
We did this to make sure that the reading speed of our CD/DVD reader would not
hamper the performance of the target drive.

We then installed these applications onto
our comparison HDD drives, which were all running mirror image installations of
our Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit installation, and timed the amount of time
taken to install the application with a stopwatch on each of the drives.

MS Office 2007 Enterprise (full install)

Now let’s see
how the Netac N550S Elite SSD performs with the installation of MS Office 2007
Enterprise Edition.

The procedure
followed was very simple. I copied all the files from the CD to the RAM disk and
used the virtual drive as a source for the installation files.

 

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

The result is good, 119 seconds for a full
install of Office 2007.


Speed degradation after heavy testing

On this page I will measure how the SSD
performs after heavy testing and usage.

I will run an AS SSD benchmark test when
the OS is freshly installed so that we can get a good view of how the drive
performs with the OS. After that I will fill the drive up to 50% of its capacity,
use the drive for a few days, and then re-run the AS SSD benchmark. The same
procedure will be followed once again, but this time the drive will be filled
close to 90% or higher of its capacity. To finish this test, I will simply
delete all the extra data and leave the PC idle for a few hours so that the
controller has the time to perform any necessary cleaning, then see how the
drive performs.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

In this picture you can see the test files
that I will be copying to fill the drive with data, as you can see files vary
from 8GB ISOs to very small text files.

In the picture below you will find all the
applications that were installed for this test using Ninite, and I have also installed Microsoft
Office 2007.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

Now let’s start our tests.

 

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

First the AS SSD benchmark on the Netac
N550S Elite SSD when the OS was just installed, and these are the results I got.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

Here we can clearly see that the sequential
write performance takes a massive hit when the drive hasn’t enough free space.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

Leaving 50% free space on the Netac N550S
Elite has a beneficial impact, and the performance is restored.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

After deleting all the extra files and
leaving the drive almost back to its original state we can see that it
continues to give a result that is very close to the first test.

Write Speed test

 

At this moment I would like to say HD Tune
write speed test was the very first test that I ran on this drive right after I
got it out of the box, and from looking at the result it was clear that it
wouldn’t be very difficult to push it to its limits.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

As you can see the write speed of the Netac
N550S Elite SSD is able to keep its maximum write speed only for the first
10-12GB, and after that the SLC cache runs out the write performance drops down
to 72.8 MB/Sec.

So during my real world tests I needed to
copy a lot of files, and noticed that the drive will reach maximum write speeds
of 70MB/Sec to 60MB/sec when copying large files. Below is a screen-shot that I
took during the copying of various files from one folder to another, on the
same disk.

Netac N550S Elite 240GB SSD review

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