AnandTech DAS Suite and Performance Consistency

This section looks at how the My Passport SSD behaves when subject to real-world workloads.

robocopy and PCMark 8 Storage Bench

Our testing methodology for DAS units also takes into consideration the usual use-case for such devices. The most common usage scenario is transfer of large amounts of photos and videos to and from the unit. The minor usage scenario is importing files directly off the DAS into a multimedia editing program such as Adobe Photoshop.

In order to tackle the first use-case, we created three test folders with the following characteristics:

  • Photos: 15.6 GB collection of 4320 photos (RAW as well as JPEGs) in 61 sub-folders
  • Videos: 16.1 GB collection of 244 videos (MP4 as well as MOVs) in 6 sub-folders
  • BR: 10.7 GB Blu-ray folder structure of the IDT Benchmark Blu-ray (the same that we use in our robocopy tests for NAS systems)

robocopy - Photos Read

robocopy - Photos Write

robocopy - Videos Read

robocopy - Videos Write

robocopy - Blu-ray Folder Read

robocopy - Blu-ray Folder Write

For the second use-case, we take advantage of PC Mark 8's storage bench. The storage workload involves games as well as multimedia editing applications. The command line version allows us to cherry-pick storage traces to run on a target drive. We chose the following traces.

  • Adobe Photoshop (Light)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Heavy)
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Illustrator

Usually, PC Mark 8 reports time to complete the trace, but the detailed log report has the read and write bandwidth figures which we present in our performance graphs. Note that the bandwidth number reported in the results don't involve idle time compression. Results might appear low, but that is part of the workload characteristic. Note that the same testbed is being used for all DAS units. Therefore, comparing the numbers for each trace should be possible across different DAS units.

​We defer the analysis of these numbers to the performance consistency subsection.

robocopy - Photoshop Light Read

robocopy - Photoshop Light Write

robocopy - Photoshop Heavy Read

robocopy - Photoshop Heavy Write

robocopy - After Effects Read

robocopy - After Effects Write

robocopy - Illustrator Read

robocopy - Illustrator Write

Performance Consistency

Yet another interesting aspect of these types of units is performance consistency. Aspects that may influence this include thermal throttling and firmware caps on access rates to avoid overheating or other similar scenarios. This aspect is an important one, as the last thing that users want to see when copying over, say, 100 GB of data to the flash drive, is the transfer rate going to USB 2.0 speeds. In order to identify whether the drive under test suffers from this problem, we instrumented our robocopy DAS benchmark suite to record the flash drive's read and write transfer rates while the robocopy process took place in the background. For supported drives, we also recorded the internal temperature of the drive during the process. The graphs below show the speeds observed during our real-world DAS suite processing. The first three sets of writes and reads correspond to the photos suite. A small gap (for the transfer of the videos suite from the primary drive to the RAM drive) is followed by three sets for the next data set. Another small RAM-drive transfer gap is followed by three sets for the Blu-ray folder. An important point to note here is that each of the first three blue and green areas correspond to 15.6 GB of writes and reads respectively.

In the case of the My Passport SSD, throttling doesn't activate until the temperature reaches 75C. This happens after more than 100GB of data has been transferred in a sustained manner. For a mainstream device, Western Digital indicates that this is an acceptable limitation. Note that the drive starts out at 45C in this case (since we start the process right after the CrystalDiskMark benchmark is done). Consumers can expect around 150GB of sustained transfers at the highest possible bandwidth when the My Passport SSD is plugged in fresh.

Synthetic Benchmarks Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks
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  • bignazpwns - Saturday, July 15, 2017 - link

    It's a nice drive. The black plastic feels and looks cheap but one screw is all it takes to crack it open. Uses a m.2 drive that's just 2 sided taped down. Easy to pop out and put it in a Mobo's m.2 slot and 550/540 so not to bad. The issue is with the controller on the m.2 to USB interface. But on sale this is a nice source or a cheap 1tb m.2 drive. I'll check the USB to m.2 board with a NVME drive to see how much it slows that down. But it's a nice drive and is much better then the Samsung that uses a junk msata drive and the SanDisk that uses. Normal sata drive in a small enclosure. And I will confirm the drive in the WD is a SanDisk and works in a Mobo m.2 slot without doing anything extra. And for those why want to do the swap. There are 2 small 2 sided tape squares
  • Nathanks - Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - link

    Can you do the review again with current intel 8th gen board with usb 3.1 gen -2 i believe old board is limited to gen 1. which is 5gbps

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