Overview:

In my opinion you should only look to purchase a new storage drive for 2 reasons:

  1. You require faster performance
  2. You need additional space

The reason I believe this is that drive technology is constantly evolving and the prices of data storage is constantly falling.  With that said if you are building a new PC and are in the market for a new drive I strongly recommend that you seriously consider a NvMe drive (that is if your Mother Board supports this drive).  The performance is incredible and the performance of these drives are noticeable when compared to the best SSD on the market today.  Upgrading a drive is a noticeable improvement.  Consider the fact that everything from business applications to games and even your operating system can benefit from the ability to read and write data faster!

In this video blog, I benchmarked some of the best performing drives on the market today (Q1 of 2017) with Crystal Disk Mark.  I used Crystal Disk Mark because it is free software and you can download this software to see how your drives measure up.  Seriously what are you waiting for (Link is below)? I am just suggesting that you compare how your drive performance measure up to the some of the best drives on the market.

The tests that I performed I used Windows Storage Spaces to manage the drives.  The reason that I elected to use Windows Storage Spaces is that I believe it will be common as it is included in with Windows 8 and higher.  Storage Spaces is similar to a software RAID in that it allows you to pool drives for resiliency, mechanical redundancy, performance or parity for a combination of both.  So read on to learn how the best drives perform.

Video Blog:

Statistics:

Sequential Read/Write 1 GB of Data (large files)

Using Crystal Disk Mark the following are the sequential read and write performance. (In layman’s term sequential basically means that the data is grouped together whereas random data is spread across the drive.)  The sequential tests were performed with large 1GB files.  An example of this type of data would be video content or large files.

1gb_graph

Yes! The graph is correct.  The 2 x 850 Pro’s in simple storage (kind of like RAID 1) did not provide any significant benefits over a single drive! I myself was surprised and even ran this test multiple times and re-built the storage pools to be sure.  BTW: that is not fun as I had to re-format the drives.

Random Read/Write 4K Data (small files):

The graph below shows how well the drives performed with small files in random read/write.  In this graph you will notice that difference between the NvMe drives and the SSD are drives are less noticeable.  Nevertheless, the performance is still significantly better than an SSD in standalone.

4k_graph

If you looked closely at the graph you will have noticed that the 850 Pros with two drives in a simple storage with no resiliency performed very well!  In fact it even beat the Samsung Pro in write speeds with multiple ques.

Supporting Table Detail:

The following table highlights the exact drive performance.  I highlighted the drive that performed best.  Keep in mind what this table does not show is thermal properties of the drive.  The 950 Pro has inferior thermal performance than the 960 EVO and Pro drives.  In fact, if you are on the market for a drive there is no reason to buy a 950 in that the 960’s are similarly priced and are better.

graph_detail

GB per Dollar:

HDD drives still offer the best storage solution per dollar spent.  The graph show these drives in mechanical redundancy so the GB that a dollar can buy is actually double.  So review the graph and than let me tell you why I priced the two 850 Pros in simple storage as a more expensive option than a drive in a single pool.

gb_per_dollar

The reason why the two 850 Pro’s are more expensive in a single pool is that the performance is affected by how much you allocate to storage space.  The closer you allocate to the maximum available for storage the less performance you will realize.  The reason is most likely due to how the data is stripped across the drive. The following test exemplify this concept. (Compare the size of pool to performance – highlighted in yellow)

size_difference

Affiliate Links & Crystal Disk Mark:

Samsung 960 EVO – 500 GB
Samsung 950 Pro – 512GB
Samsung 850 Pro – 256GB
Samsung 850 Pro – 1 TB
WD Black 7200RPM 128MB Cache
BarraCuda Pro 6TB 7200 RPM 256MB Cache
SATA to Dual SATA Power Splitter Cable (2 Pack)

Crystal Disk Mark – Free Download

Conclusion:

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Kind Regards,
Michael Hanen