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 Sabrent Rocket Q turns in shockingly good scores on The Destroyer, matching the Samsung 970 EVO Plus, a high-end TLC SSD. The reason why the decidedly less high-end Rocket Q can do this is due entirely to the extreme capacity. For the first time, we have a drive that can handle The Destroyer entirely in its SLC cache. That means the results here are a bit misleading, as the drive would not be able to sustain this level of performance if it was full enough to reduce the SLC cache capacity down to more typical sizes. Power efficiency is also pretty decent here, but again operating out of the SLC cache helps.

Meanwhile, the 8TB Samsung 870 QVO turns in pretty much the same performance scores as the 4TB model, as expected. However, the 8TB drive is a little bit more power-hungry due to the higher part count.

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 Heavy test doesn't allow the Sabrent Rocket Q a unique advantage from its massive SLC cache; the smaller high-end NVMe drives can also make good use of their caches and overtake the Rocket Q's performance. However, it does appear that the sheer capacity of the 8TB Rocket Q continues to help significantly on the full-drive test runs. We haven't measured it directly, but I suspect the minimum SLC cache size reached when the drive is full is still quite a bit larger than what the 2TB and smaller drives have to work with, and that's how the Rocket Q avoids the horrible latency spikes that the other QLC drives suffer from.

As on The Destroyer, the 8TB Samsung 870 QVO shows no major differences in performance or efficiency from the 4TB model, which means it's still clearly a bit on the slow side even by SATA standards—especially when full.

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 8TB Sabrent Rocket Q offers decent performance on the Light test, even when full: it still provides a large enough SLC cache to handle all the writes from this test. A lot of smaller drives (using QLC or TLC) can't manage that and show greatly increased write latency on the full-drive test runs.

The 8TB Samsung 870 QVO shows slightly improved latency scores on the full-drive test run compared to the 4TB model, but otherwise performance is the same as expected. As usual, the 8TB QVO is a bit more power-hungry than the smaller versions, and the Rocket Q is considerably more power-hungry than the smaller low-end NVMe drives.

Cache Size Effects PCMark 10 Storage


View All Comments

  • Palorim12 - Monday, December 14, 2020 - link

    except it doesn't "constantly rewrite the data on the drive". I suggest you reread Allyn Malvento's indepth article on the fix. If i remember correctly, it rewrites the data once, and then from there, there is an algorithm that keeps a check on the data and the drift. If it notices a substantial change, it rewrite that particular block, not the whole drive. I've have an 840 EVO for years and its still runnin great and haven't noticed any change in TBW. Reply
  • Scour - Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - link

    I mean faster at whole drive fill, which is/was a weak point of TLC, compared to MLC.

    Most of actual TLC-drives are getting slower because of cheap controllers with less channels or to big dynamic Pseudo-SLC-cache.

    But MX500, 860 Evo and Sandisk/WD 3D drives are good enough to beat some of my older MLC-drives.

    I don´t use SSDs for backup, so the long-term-scenario isn´t my usecase.
  • emn13 - Saturday, December 5, 2020 - link

    There is an issue of decreasing returns, however.

    SLC -> MLC allowed for 2x capacity (minus some overhead) I don't remember anybody gnashing their teeth to much at that.
    MLC -> TLC allowed for 1.5x capacity (minus some overhead). That's not a bad deal, but it's not as impressive anymore.
    TLC -> QLC allows for 1.33x capacity (minor some overhead). That's starting to get pretty slim pickings.

    Would you rather have a 4TB QLC drive, or a 3TB TLC drive? that's the trade-off - and I wish sites would benchmark drives at higher fill rates, so it'd be easier to see more real-world performance.
  • at_clucks - Friday, December 11, 2020 - link

    @SirMaster, "People said the same thing when they moved from SLC to MLC, and again from MLC to TLC."

    You know you're allowed to change your mind and say no, right? Especially since some transitions can be acceptable, and others less so.

    The biggest thing you're missing is that the theoretical difference between TLC and QLC is bigger than the difference between SLC and TLC. Where SLC hasto discriminate between 2 levels of charge, TLC has to discriminate between 8, and QLC between 16.

    Doesn't this sound like a "you were ok with me kissing you so you definitely want the D"? When TheinsanegamerN insists ATers are "techies" and they "understand technology" I'll have this comment to refer him to.
  • npz - Friday, December 4, 2020 - link

    exactly. I always suspected that QLC will be used as an excuse to raise (3D) MLC/TLC prices up, or prevent their prices from dropping were it not for QLC. TLC prices now have only fallen back to what I paid a couple years ago Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Sunday, December 6, 2020 - link

    Prediction, they will try to fix the price for 1TB nvme drives to $100 USD for several years. By now it should probably be closer to $50 USD. Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, December 7, 2020 - link

    "should probably be closer to $50 USD"

    You'd need to provide some evidence to support that, because last I knew it was getting more and more difficult to scale capacity in a way that also reduced cost-per-bit - so you're talking increasing R&D investment and diminishing returns.
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - link

    QLC is diminishing returns for chasing density ahead of all other factors. Reply
  • magreen - Friday, December 4, 2020 - link

    Why is that useful for NAS? A hard drive will saturate that network interface. Reply
  • RealBeast - Friday, December 4, 2020 - link

    Yup, my eight drive RAID 6 runs about 750MB/sec for large sequential transters over SFP+ to my backup array. No need for SSDs and I certainly couldn't afford them -- the 14TB enterprise SAS drives I got were only $250 each in the early summer. Reply

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