Whole-Drive Fill

This test starts with a freshly-erased drive and fills it with 128kB sequential writes at queue depth 32, recording the write speed for each 1GB segment. This test is not representative of any ordinary client/consumer usage pattern, but it does allow us to observe transitions in the drive's behavior as it fills up. This can allow us to estimate the size of any SLC write cache, and get a sense for how much performance remains on the rare occasions where real-world usage keeps writing data after filling the cache.

Samsung obviously hasn't changed anything significant about the SLC caching behavior for the 970 EVO Plus: the cache initially runs out right on schedule, and the 1TB model still jumps back up to SLC speed for a short while when the drive is a little less than half full. The change to the underlying NAND does provide a performance boost to the write speeds before and after the cache fills up. The 240GB ADATA XPG SX8200 is an outlier among the small drives: it has a very large variable size SLC cache so it maintains high performance longer than the other drives in that capacity class, but once that cache is full it ends with one of the slowest write speeds.

Sustained 128kB Sequential Write (Power Efficiency)
Average Throughput for last 16 GB Overall Average Throughput

The improvement to post-SLC sequential write speed isn't quite as big as the 970 EVO Plus specifications promise, but it's still plenty to make it the fastest TLC drive for this test, clearly surpassing the performance of even last week's new WD Black SN750. At the low end of the capacity range, the 250 GB model is well ahead of any other small TLC drive we have tested. It also looks like we are getting quite close to the point where the post-SLC write speed of a small TLC drive can saturate a SATA link, so if Samsung releases another generation of MLC SATA drives for the consumer market it may be impossible to measure any performance advantage over TLC NAND.

BAPCo SYSmark 2018

BAPCo's SYSmark 2018 is an application-based benchmark that uses real-world applications to replay usage patterns of business users, with subscores for productivity, creativity and responsiveness. Scores represnt overall system performance and are calibrated against a reference system that is defined to score 1000 in each of the scenarios. A score of, say, 2000, would imply that the system under test is twice as fast as the reference system.

SYSmark scores are based on total application response time as seen by the user, including not only storage latency but time spent by the processor. This means there's a limit to how much a storage improvement could possibly increase scores, because the SSD is only in use for a small fraction of the total test duration. This is a significant difference from our ATSB tests where only the storage portion of the workload is replicated and disk idle times are cut short to a maximum of 25ms.

AnandTech SYSmark SSD Testbed
CPU Intel Core i5-7400
Motherboard ASUS PRIME Z270-A
Chipset Intel Z270
Memory 2x 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4-2400 CL17
Case In Win C583
Power Supply Cooler Master G550M
OS Windows 10 64-bit, version 1803

Our SSD testing with SYSmark uses a different test system than the rest of our SSD tests. This machine is set up to measure total system power consumption rather than just the drive's power.

BAPCo SYSmark 2018 - Creativity

BAPCo SYSmark 2018 - Productivity

BAPCo SYSmark 2018 - Responsiveness

The SYSmark Responsiveness test shows the 970 EVO Plus delivering slightly higher performance than any previous TLC-based SSD, but not quite enough to reach the level of the Intel Optane SSD 900P. Oddly, the 250GB 970 EVO Plus came out a bit ahead of the 1TB model. The other two scenarios—Creativity and Productivity—don't depend on storage performance enough to even show a meaningful difference between the 860 EVO SATA SSD and the fastest NVMe SSDs.

Energy Use

The SYSmark energy use scores measure total system power consumption, excluding the display. Our SYSmark test system idles at around 26 W and peaks at over 60 W measured at the wall during the benchmark run. SATA SSDs seldom exceed 5 W and idle at a fraction of a watt, and the SSDs spend most of the test idle. This means the energy usage scores will inevitably be very close. A typical notebook system will tend to be better optimized for power efficiency than this desktop system, so the SSD would account for a much larger portion of the total and the score difference between SSDs would be more noticeable.

BAPCo SYSmark 2018 - Energy Consumption

The 970 EVO Plus required a bit less energy to complete a SYSmark run than the original 970 EVO did, but they're still relatively power-hungry compared to other NVMe SSDs, and good SATA SSDs use significantly less power. These differences don't seem like much in the context of our desktop testbed's total power draw, but in a laptop the performance of the 970 EVO Plus does come at some cost to battery life.

Introduction AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer
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  • ikjadoon - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    Ah, wait. The 970 PRO isn't actually on Bench. I don't think it's been reviewed, right?
  • Kvaern1 - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    Completely not exciting. Don't care about a slight speed increase which no consumer is going to notice in the their daily use anyway. All that matters in the consumer NAND space at this point is bringing prices down, which is very unlikely to happen in a business with no real competition left, read cartel.
  • heffeque - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    Definitely would love to see 4 and above TB SSD drives at HDD prices (or less). Tech isn't there yet I guess.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    Yeah, you're spot on. To be 100% honest, even a good ol' SATA Samsung 830 is good enough. I've used systems with fast nVME drives, as with "older" SATA SSDs, and I can pretty much say that the difference really isn't that noticeable in most use cases. But price is. Capacity is.
  • stoatwblr - Thursday, January 31, 2019 - link

    You might not notice the slowness of 830s, but I do. (840s are better, 850s are great)

    It all depends on what you're doing.
  • Mikewind Dale - Saturday, February 16, 2019 - link

    "is bringing prices down"

    Two years ago, I bought a 512 GB Kingston KC400 SATA drive for $160. Today, I can buy a 1 TB Intel 660p QLC NVMe for $125, or a 1TB WD Blue SATA for $125.

    So yeah, I'm pretty sure prices are falling. Maybe they're not falling 50% overnight, but falling 50% over two years is pretty darned nice.
  • RMSe17 - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    If not too difficult, would it be possible to add 970 Pro 1TB results for comparison?
  • kgardas - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    Random read @ Q1 and Q1/2/4 is still nearly the same like on SATA drives (MX500 as reference). Would be great if NVMe vendors would be able to push that to the speed of random write which is noticeable different from SATA. Anybody knows what's holding them back from it?
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    Writes can be buffered in DRAM, but reads expose the real latency of NAND.
  • catavalon21 - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    Nice to see you pop in from time to time. You certainly burned the midnight oil on many an SSD review back in the day.

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