AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer

The Destroyer is an extremely long test replicating the access patterns of very IO-intensive desktop usage. A detailed breakdown can be found in this article. Like real-world usage, the drives do get the occasional break that allows for some background garbage collection and flushing caches, but those idle times are limited to 25ms so that it doesn't take all week to run the test. These AnandTech Storage Bench (ATSB) tests do not involve running the actual applications that generated the workloads, so the scores are relatively insensitive to changes in CPU performance and RAM from our new testbed, but the jump to a newer version of Windows and the newer storage drivers can have an impact.

We quantify performance on this test by reporting the drive's average data throughput, the average latency of the I/O operations, and the total energy used by the drive over the course of the test.

ATSB The Destroyer
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The SK hynix Gold P31 doesn't set any performance records for TLC drives on The Destroyer, but it does deliver top-tier scores on every performance metric—competitive with drives like the Samsung 970 EVO Plus and WD Black SN750.

The energy usage by the P31 is unprecedented: it beats even low-power SATA and DRAMless NVMe drives. The P31 uses 30% less energy over the course of the test than the WD Black SN750, our previous record-holder for most efficient high-performance NVMe SSD. Meanwhile, most of the other fastest drives require two to three times the energy to complete The Destroyer.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy

Our Heavy storage benchmark is proportionally more write-heavy than The Destroyer, but much shorter overall. The total writes in the Heavy test aren't enough to fill the drive, so performance never drops down to steady state. This test is far more representative of a power user's day to day usage, and is heavily influenced by the drive's peak performance. The Heavy workload test details can be found here. This test is run twice, once on a freshly erased drive and once after filling the drive with sequential writes.

ATSB Heavy
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The Gold P31 has great performance on the Heavy test, especially on the full-drive test run where it maintains fast read latencies better while most of the TLC competition falls behind by at least a little bit.

The energy usage of the Gold P31 is again in a different league from other high-end NVMe drives. The Toshiba/Kioxia BG4 is narrowly ahead on this measure, but that's the slowest NVMe drive in this batch. As with The Destroyer, the WD Black's previously class-leading efficiency is beat by at least 30%.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light

Our Light storage test has relatively more sequential accesses and lower queue depths than The Destroyer or the Heavy test, and it's by far the shortest test overall. It's based largely on applications that aren't highly dependent on storage performance, so this is a test more of application launch times and file load times. This test can be seen as the sum of all the little delays in daily usage, but with the idle times trimmed to 25ms it takes less than half an hour to run. Details of the Light test can be found here. As with the ATSB Heavy test, this test is run with the drive both freshly erased and empty, and after filling the drive with sequential writes.

ATSB Light
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The SK hynix Gold P31's overall performance on the Light test is just a few percent slower than the first-place drives, but as with the Heavy test we see the P31 handling the full-drive test run better than the competition. This time, the P31 doesn't quite manage to beat the energy usage scores from the Toshiba/Kioxia BG4 or its SATA sibling the Gold S31, but compared to the rest of the NVMe drives the story remains the same: the P31 sets a new power efficiency goal for the competition to aim for.

Cache Size Effects Random Performance
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  • Luminar - Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - link

    Kapton tape works better. Those small SSDs can get pretty hot and good Kapton tape won't leave residue.
  • Luminar - Thursday, August 27, 2020 - link

    Why didn't the WD blue sn500 get included?
  • Billy Tallis - Thursday, August 27, 2020 - link

    Mainly because I only have a 250GB sample of that, and that's not a particularly fair or relevant comparison against 1TB drives. If I had the 1TB SN550 I would definitely have included that.
  • cfbcfb - Sunday, August 30, 2020 - link

    Not even in the ballpark. The read and especially write speeds are in the top 3 of ALL nvme SSD's, and this one uses half the power and makes half the heat, for just a few dollars more than the Blue. In fact, in most use cases, its faster than the WD Black for less money.
  • DZor - Thursday, August 27, 2020 - link

    All this does not matter cause 1TB drives are for long time in USD 130 - 150 range. For PCIe 3. PCIe 4 is some USD 50 more expensive.
    Except for "hi end" once like 970 Pro.
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, August 27, 2020 - link

    Why doesn't it matter? It's a good drive in this price range, and to many people it's pretty affordable.
  • plopke - Thursday, August 27, 2020 - link

    I am curious to try SKHynix consumer drives out myself. But unless you are a OEM like dell there is no support software to check firmware or update firmware , so if there is ever an issues they have no framework at all to fix anything? This drive isn't even mentioned on their weird ssd webpage?

    I mean sandisk-WD/samsung/crucial/ADATA/Kingston , ALL OF THEM have a ssd manager client and software in place just in case firmware updates are needed?
  • plopke - Thursday, August 27, 2020 - link

    PS I mean someone please proof me wrong , i actually was kinda interested in getting one of these but then I saw their product page and it was horrible and alarms bells started to ring when I couldn't find any support software at all.
  • Billy Tallis - Thursday, August 27, 2020 - link

    Their consumer SSD site is definitely a work in progress, but that's not too surprising since they only have two retail products at the moment and no real history in this market.

    I wouldn't be too worried about software. Aside from firmware updates, there's really not much point in vendor-specific tools and I wish they would all just lobby Microsoft to make decent vendor-neutral storage admin tools.

    And I don't think firmware updates are as important as you seem to think. They're pretty uncommon these days and usually don't matter much unless your system has a weird incompatibility that a SSD firmware update can fix. If SK hynix does need to push out an update for this drive, I'm sure they'll be able to come up with a delivery method. Running an extra application to give you a firmware update notification on the outside chance you ever need such a notification is a bit silly.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, August 27, 2020 - link

    Well, I'm not a copy editor, but i could prove you wrong if I tried.

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