Fusion-io vs Intel X25-M SSD RAID, Grudge Match Review

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Our Test Methodologies
Under each test condition, the Solid State Drives tested here were installed as secondary volumes in our testbed, with a standard spinning hard disk for the OS and benchmark installations.  The SSDs were left blank without partitions wherever possible, unless a test required them to be partitioned and formatted,
as was the case with our ATTO benchmark tests. Windows firewall, automatic updates and screen savers were all disabled before testing. In all test runs, we rebooted the system and waited several minutes for drive activity to settle before invoking a test.

On a side note, thanks to our friends at DV Nation for their assistance in supplying the Fusion-io ioDrive we used for testing.  If you're looking for high end SSD storage, they're a good place to start.

Also, you'll note that we performed all of our SSD RAID testing with the Intel X25-M drives on an Intel X58 chipset-based motherboard via its ICH10R Southbridge SATA controller.  This controller offered peak RAID 0 performance versus even the hardware-based RAID controllers we had in the lab for testing.

HotHardware Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -


Video Card -

Memory -


Audio -

Hard Drives -

 

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7 920


Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme
(X58 Express Chipset)


GeForce GTX 280

6144MB Corsair DDR3-1333
CAS 7

Integrated on board

Intel X25-M 80GB SSD x 4
Fusion-io 160GB ioDrive

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -
Video Drivers
-


Relevant Software:
Windows Vista Ultimate
Intel 9.1.0.1012
DirectX 10
NVIDIA ForceWare
v182.50


Benchmarks Used:
HD Tach 3.0.1.0
ATTO ver 2.02
PCMark Vantage
SiSoftware Sandra 2009
Iometer 2006.07.27

In our SiSoft SANDRA testing, we used the Physical Disk test suite. We ran the tests without formatting the drives and both read and write performance metrics are detailed below.  Please forgive the use of these screen captures and thumbnails, which will require a few more clicks on your part.  However, we felt it was important to show you the graph lines in each of the SANDRA test runs, so you are able to see how the drives perform over time and memory location and not just an average rated result.


2 x Intel X25-M SSD RAID 0 - Read Performance

 


4 x Intel X25-M SSD RAID 0 - Read Performance

 


2 x Intel X25-M SSD RAID 0 - Write Performance
 

4 x Intel X25-M SSD RAID 0 - Write Performance
 

Looking at these preliminary, high level numbers from SANDRA, it's apparent that there are somewhat diminishing returns in read performance, as we scale from two to four SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration.  However, write performance almost doubles linearly. 

 
  Fusion-io 160GB ioDrive - Read Performance
 
Fusion-io 160GB ioDrive - Write Performance

The Fusion-io ioDrive however shows a much less saw-toothed performance curve, with flat 650+MB/sec performance whether looking at read or write throughput.  Looking at the graph, you can tell this technology means business and a sequential access pattern like a SANDRA benchmark run isn't going to saturate its throughput capability. 

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