Testing & Performance
Intel’s Optane H10 module operates as two independent devices and appears in device manager as such. It is only through the magic of Intel’s Chipset based Rapid Storage Technology that the two can be married together.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
“As the industry's leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays as well as connections to storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark"
On the left is the ‘normal’ QLC NAND half of the drive and it hits a respectable 1.43GB/s read speeds and just under 1GB/s on writes. The Optane half of the drive on the right hits about 1.34GB/s on reads and about 350MB/s on writes.
“CrystalDiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows measuring sequential and random read/write speeds."
CrystalDiskMark shows very similar speeds to ATTO on the high Queue Depth sequential transfers, but the differences in the underlying technology start to become apparent at the lower queue depths with the Optane half of the drive (on the right) holding a clear advantage on low queue depth reads.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
Written by ExtremeSystems forum member ‘Anvil’, Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a full suite of benchmark and endurance tests for hard drives and SSD’s.
The DRAM cache on the NAND half of the drive helps support high write throughputs in this test, but we see IOPS peaking out at about 80K on reads. Latency at the highest IOPS read segment of 4K QD16 sits around 0.2ms.
On the Optane side of the drive, we see read IOPS of 340K at a latency of 0.05ms, about 5x faster. Writes are still decent but don’t quite catch up to the DRAM cache on the NAND part of the drive. If you look at the scores, the Optane end of the H10 drive just decimates the NAND side.
The AS SSD benchmark determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains six synthetic and three copy tests.
The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without using the operating system cache. In Seq-test the program measures how long it takes to read a 1 GB file to write respectively. 4K test the read and write performance is determined at random 4K blocks. The 4K-64 corresponds to the test Third 4K procedure except that the read and write operations are distributed to 64 threads. This test should SSDs pose with Native Command Queuing (NCQ), differences between the IDE operation mode where NCQ is not supported, and the AHCI mode. The additional compression test can measure the power of the SSD in response to the compressibility of the data. This is especially for the controllers that use to increase the performance and life of the cell compression, important.
In the first three synthetic tests and the compression test, the size of the test file 1 GB. Finally, the access time of the SSD is calculated, wherein the access to read over the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke) is determined. The write access test, however, is done with a 1 GB big test file.
AS SSD Benchmark again shows us lower sequential speeds on the NAND half, but the Optane side of the module providing significantly higher performance through lower latency and higher throughput at lower queue depths.
Optane Memory Mode
We will test each benchmark run twice in this section to show what, if any improvements are made after the Optane Memory algorithm has a chance to start moving data around.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
With Optane Memory enabled and running, we see about the same speeds as the Optane module itself provides on the first run. We see some improvements on the second run at the lower end of the scale as RST is able to start caching test files as soon as the first run is finished.
Similar to our previous testing, CDM shows roughly the same performance as the raw Optane half of the drive itself and again we see some improvement by the second test.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
Anvil’s Storage Utilities also sees increases across the board after the 1st run.
PCMark 10 is the complete benchmark for the modern office. It is the ideal test for organizations that are evaluating PCs for a workforce with a range of performance needs. The tests in this benchmark cover a wide range of activities from everyday productivity tasks to demanding work with digital media content.
PCMark 10 uses a modular approach to build relevant benchmark tests around common end-user scenarios. A Test Group is a collection of workloads that share a common theme or purpose. There are four test groups in PCMark 10, we use three of them.
Essentials: covers the common, everyday ways that people use a PC. The workloads include Web Browsing, Video Conferencing, and App Start-up time.
Productivity: measures system performance with everyday office applications. This test group includes Spreadsheets and Writing workloads.
Digital Content Creation: This test group's workload reflects the demands of working with digital content and media. The tests include Photo Editing, Video Editing, and Rendering and Visualization.
With a broad selection of common, everyday tasks, PCMark 10 offers a great overall insight into how different drive configurations will perform. We see Optane Memory providing a notable increase in performance in daily essential tasks like web browsing and starting applications, as well as productivity tasks like document and spreadsheet editing. The second and subsequent runs are optimized just a bit more and eke out a few more points.
Let’s take a little closer look at a few sub-categories.
Here again, the faster write speeds and overall higher performance lends itself to top scores in every single sub-category, not just the ones we listed here. The extreme performance at low queue depths makes this drive just incredibly fast at workstation and day to day type tasks and even with things going on in the background, applications start up noticeably faster.
We’ll launch a complex Excel spreadsheet while a large file copy operation is going on in the background and see how the system handles multiple operations.
We see that opening out Excel test file without anything going on only takes about found and a half seconds, with Optane shaving a hair off of that as expected. What is interesting is when we set a large 18GB file copy in motion and re-run the tests. The heavy activity adds less than two seconds to Optane’s launch time but nearly triples the time it takes without Optane running. Heavy multitaskers are really going to enjoy this aspect.
We Used the in-game benchmarks set at our normal 1080p testing and measured how long from starting a benchmark to the first scene. This is the time it takes to load all of the data from disk into RAM and VRAM to run the benchmark.
Grand Theft Auto: V
"When a young street hustler, a retired bank robber, and a terrifying psychopath find themselves entangled with some of the most frightening and deranged elements of the criminal underworld, the U.S. government and the entertainment industry, they must pull off a series of dangerous heists to survive in a ruthless city in which they can trust nobody, least of all each other.”
Running 5 runs, we average the time needed to launch the benchmark after we click start. Optane Memory shaves about 1.5 seconds off the launch time, almost a 5% decrease.
Metro: Last Light
"It Is the Year 2034. Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro, the remnants of mankind are besieged by deadly threats from outside – and within. Mutants stalk the catacombs beneath the desolate surface, and hunt amidst the poisoned skies above."
Developed by 4A Games and published by Deepsilver, Metro: Last Light uses the 4A game engine. At its highest settings, the 4A game engine is capable of bringing all but the most extreme gaming systems to their knees.
Metro: Last Light shows a slightly faster launch, about a half of a second faster with Optane Memory enabled, making up nearly a 6% decrease in launch times.
Ashes of Singularity: Escalation
From the people who brought you Sins of a Solar Empire comes a new massive-scale real-time strategy game. The human race is under assault by a race of machines who seek nothing short of total annihilation. Choose your side amidst the rising tensions between the Post-Human Coalition and the AI beings, the Substrate. Conquer new and exciting worlds, build unique and diverse armies, and engage in epic battles against up to a dozen other players on huge maps.
Launch times were tested in DX12 mode and CPU Focused.
Ashes of Singularity doesn’t show a huge improvement, only about a quarter of a second, but that’s still a 5% decrease launch time.