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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 01 February 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Mushkin Callisto Deluxe Solid State Drive
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe
SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
Mushkin Callisto Deluxe Conclusion

SSD Testing Methodology

Solid State Drives have traveled a long winding course to finally get where they are today. Up to this point in technology, there have been several key differences separating Solid State Drives from magnetic rotational Hard Disk Drives. While the DRAM-based buffer size on desktop HDDs has recently reached 32 MB and is ever-increasing, there is still a hefty delay in the initial response time. This is one key area in which flash-based Solid State Drives continually dominates because they lack moving parts to "get up to speed".

However the benefits inherent to SSDs have traditionally fallen off once the throughput begins, even though data reads or writes are executed at a high constant rate whereas the HDD tapers off in performance. This makes the average transaction speed of a SSD comparable to the data burst rate mentioned in HDD tests, albeit usually lower than the HDD's speed.

Comparing a Solid State Disk to a standard Hard Disk Drives is always relative; even if you're comparing the fastest rotational spindle speeds. One is going to be many times faster in response (SSDs), while the other is usually going to have higher throughput bandwidth (HDDs). Additionally, there are certain factors which can affect the results of a test which we do our best to avoid.

SSD Testing Disclaimer

Early on in our SSD coverage, Benchmark Reviews published an article which detailed Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing. The research and discussion that went into producing that article changed the way we now test SSD products. Our previous perceptions of this technology were lost on one particular difference: the wear leveling algorithm that makes data a moving target. Without conclusive linear bandwidth testing or some other method of total-capacity testing, our previous performance results were rough estimates at best.

Our test results were obtained after each SSD had been prepared using DISKPART or Sanitary Erase tools. As a word of caution, applications such as these offer immediate but temporary restoration of original 'pristine' performance levels. In our tests, we discovered that the maximum performance results (charted) would decay as subsequent tests were performed. SSDs attached to TRIM enabled Operating Systems will benefit from continuously refreshed performance, whereas older O/S's will require a garbage collection (GC) tool to avoid 'dirty NAND' performance degradation.

It's critically important to understand that no software for the Microsoft Windows platform can accurately measure SSD performance in a comparable fashion. Synthetic benchmark tools such as HD Tach and PCMark are helpful indicators, but should not be considered the ultimate determining factor. That factor should be measured in actual user experience of real-world applications. Benchmark Reviews includes both bandwidth benchmarks and application speed tests to present a conclusive measurement of product performance.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 (Intel X58-Express)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-920 BX80601920 @ 2.667 GHz
  • System Memory: 6GB Triple-Channel DDR3 1600MHz CL6-6-6-18
  • SATA 3Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel ICH10R Controller
    • AHCI mode - Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 10.1.0.1008
  • SATA 6Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Marvell SE9128 Controller
    • AHCI mode - Marvell Magni Driver Marvell Magni Driver 1.0.0.1036
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-Bit

Drive Hardware Tested

The following storage hardware has been used in our benchmark performance testing, and may be included in portions of this article:

Test Tools

  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.5.3784.37609: Multi-purpose speed and operational performance test
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46: Spot-tests static file size chunks for basic I/O bandwidth
  • Iometer 2008.06.28 by Intel Corporation: Tests IOPS performance and I/O response time
  • Lavalys EVEREST Ultimate Edition 5.50: Disk Benchmark component tests linear read and write bandwidth speeds
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.0 by Crystal Dew World: Sequential speed benchmark spot-tests various file size chunks

Test Results Disclaimer

This article utilizes benchmark software tools to produce operational IOPS performance and bandwidth speed results. Each test was conducted in a specific fashion, and repeated for all products. These test results are not comparable to any other benchmark application, neither on this website or another, regardless of similar IOPS or MB/s terminology in the scores. The test results in this project are only intended to be compared to the other test results conducted in identical fashion for this article.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Muskin Callisto Deluxe Solid State DriveRobert17 2011-02-01 23:37
Well thanks again Olin. Nice review. The more SSDs you test, the more crowded the competition becomes to the advantage of the end user. All is well in the SSD-verse. (PS, forgot the site, but I did see a "sale" item on an SSD, 64Gb @ $84 last week. $$ Looking better all the time.)
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# Waiting,.......RealNeil 2011-02-02 07:06
Good look at SSD's. Thanks for your time and effort putting this all together Olin. I'll refer back to this info when I'm ready to buy more of these drives. I'm still waiting for SSD Prices to come down a little more. I only have one of them, an OCZ Agility-2 that is seriously fast, but I can't afford to put one in the other computers yet.

Maybe SSD makers could learn a lesson from Amazon, whereby they lowered the prices of their Kindle Readers and then had the very best sales and profits that they have ever recorded in the last quarter of 2010.
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# Garbage collection (of words)Ron 2011-02-02 16:58
I would re-check your facts about GC being as bad as defragging aN SSD drive. Yes, it will add some extra wear, but this would be nothing on the order of a full defrag. When these drives are used in a situation where TRIM is not available, then GC is the only solution available. I am very wary of their speeds when in a "dirty" state, and how a normal home desktop user would really be affected. I think cheap Slow long lasting SSD would be great(direct competitor to hard drive) simply for the Noise, power and space requirements. £/GB equality.
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