Fusion-io ioXtreme PCI Express SSD Review

Article Index

The Setup, Methodology and SANDRA

Our Test MethodologiesUnder 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.  All 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 and a few of our Iometer runs. 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.

Also, you'll note that we performed all of our individual and RAID SSD testing on an Intel X58 chipset-based motherboard via its ICH10R Southbridge SATA controller.  The OCZ Z-Drive and ioXtreme PCI Express cards were tested in PCIe X16 slots on the same test bed.  For a few of our file transfer tests specifically, we utilized Fusion-io's ioDrive as a source drive to read files from, for our write performance testing, or write files to, for our read performance testing of all products we show in the following performance comparisons.

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

Integrated on board

OCZ Z-Drive m84 256GB
Intel X25-M 80GB SSD X 2 RAID 0
Intel X25-M G2 160 SSD
Fusion-io 160GB ioDrive
Fusion-io ioXtreme 80GB
Fusion-io ioXtreme Pro 80GB

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -
Video Drivers

Relevant Software:
Windows Vista Ultimate
DirectX 10
NVIDIA ForceWare

Benchmarks Used:
HD Tach
ATTO ver 2.02
PCMark Vantage
SiSoftware Sandra 2009
CrystalDiskMark v2.2
Iometer 2006.07.27
Custom File Transfer Tests

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.

Fusion-io ioXtreme
Read Performance

2 x Intel X25-M 80GB SSD RAID 0
Read Performance

Fusion-io ioXtreme
Write Performance

2 x Intel X25-M 80GB SSD RAID 0
Write Performance

We've posted  2 x Intel X25-M (Gen 1 80GB) RAID 0 160GB  scores for a quick comparison to the ioXtreme's performance. This RAID array offered in excess of 500MB/sec read bandwidth and 160MB/sec+ of write bandwidth.  The ioXtreme shows a flat, very robust performance graph here with read throughput in excess of 800MB/sec.  On the write side of the equation, the ioXtreme shoes some oscillation but not much, at 286MB/sec or so. 

Fusion-io ioXtreme Pro
Read Performance
Fusion-io ioXtreme Pro
Write Performance

The ioXtreme Pro offers, as expected, nearly identical performance to the standard ioXtreme product. You'll recall earlier that we noted both ioXtreme variants offer identical performance, with the only difference between the two cards being that Pro cards are able to pair with another ioXtreme Pro or standard card, for RAID array configurations like RAID 0 for even higher performance.  Unfortunately, SANDRA's test suite did not work properly with a RAID 0 setup with the ioXtremes, since they need to be configured with Windows software RAID and SANDRA saw the disks as two separate drives rather than a single volume.  We were able to run other benchmarks with the ioXtremes in RAID 0 for a few other tests however and we'll show you some of the results next.

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