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TR RoboBench — Real-world transfers
RoboBench trades synthetic tests with random data for real-world transfers with a range of file types. Developed by our in-house coder, Bruno "morphine" Ferreira, this benchmark relies on the multi-threaded robocopy command build into Windows. We copy files to and from a wicked-fast RAM disk to measure read and write performance. We also cut the RAM disk out of the loop for a copy test that transfers the files to a different location on the SSD.

Robocopy uses eight threads by default, and we've also run it with a single thread. Our results are split between two file sets, whose vital statistics are detailed below. The compressibility percentage is based on the size of the file set after it's been crunched by 7-Zip.

  Number of files Average file size Total size Compressibility
Media 459 21.4MB 9.58GB 0.8%
Work 84,652 48.0KB 3.87GB 59%

The media set is made up of large movie files, high-bitrate MP3s, and 18-megapixel RAW and JPG images. There are only a few hundred files in total, and the data set isn't amenable to compression. The work set comprises loads of TR files, including documents, spreadsheets, and web-optimized images. It also includes a stack of programming-related files associated with our old Mozilla compiling test and the Visual Studio test on the next page. The average file size is measured in kilobytes rather than megabytes, and the files are mostly compressible.

RoboBench's write and copy tests run after the drives have been put into a simulated used state with 30 minutes of 4KB random writes. The pre-conditioning process is scripted, as is the rest of the test, ensuring that drives have the same amount of time to recover.

Let's take a look at the media set first. The buttons switch between read, write, and copy results.

The results of our media set tests mirror what we saw in our IOMeter synthetics. The Trion 100 and BX200 more or less manage to keep up with the pack in read speeds, but they fall far behind in our write scenarios. The good news is that neither drive got beaten out by the decrepit X25-M this time around. It's a small victory, but we'll take what we can get at this point.

In the work set, the BX200 finally starts showing signs of life. Perhaps the smaller file sizes here are more suited to leveraging this drive's SLC-like caching mechanism. Whatever the reason, we're glad to see that the BX200 isn't stuck at the bottom of the barrel.

We were holding out hope that these drives' writes would fare better in the "real-world" I/O scenarios that constitute RoboBench, but that didn't turn out to be the case. They stayed at the tail end of the pack for the most part. But their read speeds are respectable, so it's not all bad news.