|SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode|
|Articles - Featured Guides|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 16 April 2010|
Page 13 of 13
AHCI vs IDE Final Thoughts
Even before the benchmarks make their report, there's a lot of weight behind using AHCI over the less fortunate IDE mode. While the core readership of Benchmark Reviews consists of PC enthusiast users who might own only a single SSD, there are many other users who read our articles that have two or more SSDs combined into RAID arrays on server computer systems. This is why the benchmark performance results may not necessarily impact the final decision: purpose supersedes performance. If your application requires hot-plug drive support or redundant disks, then AHCI is the only choice.
AHCI feature-set not withstanding, the only argument IDE-mode offers in its defense is the occasional benefit of slightly faster read and write speeds. Remembering my analogy of the cargo ship and the speed it moves from the article's introduction, there's a lot more weight to be given towards operational IOPS performance over file transfer bandwidth speeds.
As Solid State Drive storage devices mature and adoption grows, hardware enthusiasts can hope to see less separation between these two SATA interface technologies. Driver software continually improves compatibility, while SSD processor firmware steadily adds functionality and device stability. As we've seen recently with TRIM support in Microsoft Windows 7, the Operating System can also offer valuable new features that interact nicely with SSDs.
Keeping this in mind, the results in this article may become obsolete as weaknesses in the design are corrected. For the foreseeable future of 2010, this information can aid enthusiasts in receiving the fastest speeds and highest operational performance possible from their expensive SSD storage devices.
SATA Controller Mode Conclusion
First and foremost, please accept my apology for previously publishing misleading results. The benchmark tests were all conducted properly, but the test tool I used did not accurately illustrate the difference between SATA controller mode performance. After conducting several new tests using additional benchmark tools, my opinion on the matter has changed.
Based on the results obtained in these tests, here is how the various SSD controllers function in connection with the Intel ICH10 SATA-3.0 controller:
The Indilinx SSD processor has found its way into more SSDs than any other, thanks to respectable performance at an affordable price. File transfer read speeds were very similar between SATA controller modes in HD-Tune, while operational IOPS performance in AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark was much faster while using the Indilinx SSD in AHCI-mode on the Intel ICH10 SATA-3.0 controller. AHCI mode added some overhead to our HD-Tune write results, but AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark write results appeared very similar in performance. Suggested SATA control mode: AHCI.
The JMicron JMF612 SSD processor delivered mixed results in most of our tests, but still showed a sincere preference for AHCI-mode in our sequential read and write bandwidth speed tests with AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark; although HD-Tune's single-threaded read tests leaned towards IDE mode. Operational IOPS performance was mixed between AHCI and IDE mode when tested with AS-SSD Benchmark and CrystalDiskMark, yet more often than not the results favored the AHCI control mode. Suggested SATA control mode: AHCI.
The SandForce SF-1200 is expected to replace the Indilinx SSD processor for performance and price throughout 2010, making it an important product to concentrate on. In all of our benchmark tests, the SandForce SF-1200 SSD delivered substantially better performance in AHCI mode. File transfer speeds were much faster in AHCI mode for read and write bandwidth regardless of the test tool. Operational IOPS performance also clearly favored AHCI mode, delivering 4K QD32 reads of 115/82 MB/s over IDE mode with 20/66. Suggested SATA control mode: AHCI.
But what about SSD TRIM?
TRIM is non-specific to either SATA controller mode, and will work equally well in both IDE and AHCI-mode. Benchmark Reviews will soon publish a detailed report that illustrates the recovery levels for each SSD controller tested here.
In an unfortunate circumstance, our audience was at odds with the previously published results. Please remember to offer constructive feedback in our comments, so that it can be taken with merit.
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