Synthetic Benchmarks

Various synthetic benchmarks are available to quickly evaluate the performance of direct-attached storage devices. Real-world performance testing often has to be a customized test. We present both varieties in this review, starting with the synthetic benchmarks in this section. Prior to covering those, we have a quick look at our testbed setup and testing methodology.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

Evaluation of DAS units on Windows is done with the testbed outlined in the table below. For devices with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 (via a Type-C interface) connections (such as the WD My Passport SSD 1TB that we are considering today), we utilize the USB 3.1 Type-C port enabled by the Intel Alpine Ridge controller. It connects to the Z170 PCH via a PCIe 3.0 x4 link..

AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH ATX
CPU Intel Core i5-6600K
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 4 F4-2133C15-8GRR
32 GB ( 4x 8GB)
DDR4-2133 @ 15-15-15-35
OS Drive Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 NVMe 256 GB
SATA Devices Corsair Neutron XT SSD 480 GB
Intel SSD 730 Series 480 GB
Add-on Card None
Chassis Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
PSU Cooler Master V750 750 W
OS Windows 10 Pro x64
Thanks to Cooler Master, GIGABYTE, G.Skill and Intel for the build components

The full details of the reasoning behind choosing the above build components can be found here. The list of DAS units used for comparison purposes is provided below.

  • WD My Passport SSD 1TB
  • ADATA SD700 512GB
  • Corsair Voyager GS 512GB
  • G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C 500GB
  • Samsung Portable SSD T1 1TB - No Encryption
  • Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB
  • SanDisk Extreme 900 1.92TB

ATTO and Crystal DiskMark

Western Digital claims speeds of up to 515 MBps. With the ATTO Disk Benchmark, we were able to get close to 470 MBps read speeds. Unfortunately, these access traces are not very common in real-life scenarios.

CrystalDiskMark, despite being a canned benchmark, provides a better estimate of the performance range with a selected set of numbers. As evident from the screenshot below, the performance can dip to as low as 24 MBps for 4K random accesses (but, such accesses are seldom encountered in the typical usage scenario of external storage devices).

Compared to the other external SSDs whose 4K numbers at high queue depths are a significant multiple of the 4K @ QD1, we find that the My Passport SSD's numbers are approximately the same. This usually points to UASP not being enabled in the firmware of the bridge chip.

Introduction and Product Impressions AnandTech DAS Suite and Performance Consistency
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  • Huacanacha - Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - link

    That wouldn't make sense as data already on the drive would need to be re-encrypted. Much more likely it's just a simple password that, if set, is required to enable the controller to use the hardcoded key. Reply
  • edzieba - Thursday, June 29, 2017 - link

    It's not a 'hard coded' key, just a randomly generated one at initialization. One key is used to encrypt the partition that stores block allocations, and another that encrypts blocks on write. Because the blocks need to be manipulated and encoded before write anyway (to minimise sillyness like all bits in a block being '1') encrypting it at the same time is close to 'free'. Encrypting also gives a nicely high-entropy output so can substitute another stage intended to give high entropy data.

    This is why a the "SSDs don't really delete your data!!!1" stores are a bit of bunk: If you grab the raw NAND chips and read them back, you get a randomly arranged assembly of blocks of encrypted data. Deleted or not, you're not recovering anything without the key.
    Reply
  • edzieba - Thursday, June 29, 2017 - link

    Whoops, didn't mean to hit submit yet. The passcode you enter in the drive is just to lock drive controller, and acts similarly to the ATA password of old in that without it the drive controller won't do what you tell it to (and the drive controller holds the actual keys). Reply
  • VulkanMan - Thursday, June 29, 2017 - link

    It IS hard coded, you can't change the encryption key on the device.
    It is set at the factory, and yes, it is randomly generated (well, so we think).
    Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Thursday, June 29, 2017 - link

    Wish you had a Corsair GTX in there for comparison instead of the GS

    I'd rather see only "Bootable" USB drives with Trim/GC compared

    A direct comparison of Windows Boot Times and a 100GB copy/paste from and to the same SSD to test internal throughput would tell me everything I need to know

    Synthetic tests have no place in the real world!
    Reply
  • mr_tawan - Thursday, June 29, 2017 - link

    I'd love to see the Passport Wireless version of this. While I'm not certain if it would improve the battery life, I think it could withstand physically abuse better than the mechanical drive. Portable devices should move to Flash storage instead of keep using mechnical drive. Reply
  • jaydee - Thursday, June 29, 2017 - link

    "Catering to the mainstream market, it is currently a Best Buy exclusive."

    Catering to the mainstream market and NOT available on Amazon? Really?
    Reply
  • jhoff80 - Thursday, June 29, 2017 - link

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that a USB-A male to USB-C female adapter was very much forbidden by the USB-C spec. Reply
  • BMNify - Thursday, June 29, 2017 - link

    Anyone can compare this and the ADATA SE730? Reply
  • Belard - Sunday, July 9, 2017 - link

    Hmmm... the WD is easily on the bottom end for performance. The thermal throttling should be a concern as that seems to be a major cause for its performance loss.

    Either the M2 they built is not well done or the VERY nice external case (which is the same style as their external HDD-drives) doesn't remove heat from the M2 SSD. Looking at the other units, even the G-drive run a lot cooler, with Samsung among the coolest.

    What is there to recommend on this product, other than its looks? It will sell well of course.
    Reply

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