Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD Review

Myce Sustainable Performance Test

Over the last few months I have been studying countless
analyzer traces of real computing workloads, and also developing a test that
would accurately emulate and measure how performance is sustained over a period
of time. For obvious reasons, it is not possible to test an SSD review sample
over several months before publishing a review. The solution was to condense
this down to a manageable test, that doesn’t take too long to run.

I will make it clear right from the outset that this is not
a torture test. Bringing any SSD to its knees is not helpful in the least, as I
for one would not use any SSD that had slowed down to crawl, just to prove a
point. The Myce Sustainable Performance test, I believe is a tough, but
sensible test pattern to use for measuring how an SSD will be behave once it’s pushed
hard over a period of time.

The test pattern is "workstation" based, and
closely emulates a typical video or graphics workstation environment. The
results are measured using the same hardware I use for the Myce Reality Suite
tests, however, the test data and measuring system use a different method.

The SSD is first filled to 80% of its stated capacity.
Adding to the data that is already there, the "Sustainable
Performance" test data is added. This test data is approximately 20GB is
size, so once this is added the SSD is pretty full.

The test is then run for a period of 20 minutes. 60
performance measurements are taken for every minute of the test, and an average
performance figure is generated after each minute. At the end of the test I
have 20 performance measurements which are then used to generate the graph
below.

The faster SSDs will obviously sustain more writes then the
slower SSDs. For the fastest SSD in this test, the test pattern generated 173GB
of writes, and 193GB of data was read from the SSD during the test.

When reading the graph, you should not pay too much
attention to which drive is the fastest, but instead look at the sustainable
performance curve of each SSD, as this is what this test is all about.

For the SSD that I am reviewing, I will also add a second
graph which looks at the result in more detail.

So let’s look at the results.

Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD Review

Sustainable
Performance test

Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD Review

Detailed results for the
review drive

The Samsung 960 PRO M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD doesn’t show any real evidence
of slowing down much when pushed very hard. In fact it drops only 24 MB/s from
peak performance, which is an excellent result. The drop is not caused by
running out of fresh NAND to write to, the drop in speed is down to thermal
throttling, which I’ll examine more closely below.

Temperature measurement in Celsius

I’ll be using Crystal Disk Info (CDI) to measure the
temperatures during this test, which more than likely is not the most accurate
way of measuring temperatures, but nonetheless, it is better than not measuring
temperatures at all.

The test uses the Workstation test pattern used for the Myce
Sustainable Performance test, as described at the beginning of this page. The
test pattern runs for 20 minutes, but I’m measuring the temperatures for a
total of 23 minutes. This includes ‘idle’ temperatures before the test begins,
and for an additional 2 minutes after the test pattern finishes. The 2 minutes
of measurements after the test pattern finishes is used to see just how quickly
the SSD cools down after the test completes.

I will show a couple of screenshots of CDI, showing the
‘idle’ temperature and highest temperature measured during the test.

Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD Review

Samsung 960 Pro M.2
NVMe 1TB SSD – Idle temperature

Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD Review

Samsung 960 Pro M.2
NVMe 1TB SSD – Peak temperature

Now let’s see the result of the test run.

Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD Review

We can see that the temperature rises steadily until the
twelve minute mark, at which point the 960 Pro starts to throttle back a little
bit. You can see the speed drop slightly in the Sustainable performance test a
little further up the page. The drop in speed is not significant, and is very
unlikely to occur in a normal work pattern.

I think it would be safe to say that although the Samsung
960 Pro M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD is still prone to thermal throttling, it is much less
severe than the Samsung 950 Pro. This would suggest that the new thermal
solution for the Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe is pretty effective at keeping
temperatures in check.

 

Let’s head to the next page, where I examine power
consumption and efficiency….