Storage Performance: Not So Fast Anymore

Okay so what about storage performance as this was the only area where we saw any real impact last time. Let’s start with the Samsung SSD 950 Pro NVMe drive on the Core i7-8700K system.

Here we see a 5% reduction in throughput for the sequential write test, a 8% reduction for the 4K-64 thread write test and 20% for the 4K write result, this is seen when comparing the pre-update configuration to the windows and BIOS update configuration. Read performance is all very similar so it’s just the writes that look to have taken a hit.

Moving on we find some even more extreme results when testing with CrystalDiskMark. The sequential read and write performance all looks okay. Then we get to the 512K write test and what’s gone wrong here, a 41% reduction in performance can be see and this wasn’t a once off deal. I ran this test dozens of times after multiple resets to try and work out if it was just some kind of glitch. Unfortunately this is the figure I kept receiving. Interestingly the 512K read performance it’s nearly as heavily impacted, just an 8% reduction, though that’s still certainly very noteworthy reduction.

Then when we move to the 4K queue depth of 32 test and find around a 10% drop for both the read and write results. The single 4K write performance is also reduced by 19% with the BIOS update while the read throughput goes unchanged.

I then decided to do some testing with Atto Disk Benchmark and ohh boy what’s gone wrong here then. Both the sequential read and write tests took a massive hit here and again throughput was reduced by as much as 40% with the BIOS update applied. So if this has happened to an NVMe SSD, what does this mean for your more run of the mill SATA SSDs?

Well here’s the Samsung SSD 850 Evo 2TB with the Core i3-8100 and here we do see some declines. Again the sequential read and writes for the CrystalDiskMark test look okay, in fact they look great, 512KB read and write performance is also good this time. The 4K queue depth of 32 results see a small decline of around 3%, so nothin to alarming. That said we still see a big hit for the 4K transfers which is interesting, writes dropped by 27% and reads by 19%.

Again the Atto Disk Benchmark shows more performance drop offs. Oddly this time the read results though don’t suffer, but the write throughput certainly does. Here we see up to a 17% reduction in write performance with the BIOS update applied and that’s certainly a noteworthy drop off for a SATA device.