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TR RoboBench — Real-world transfers
First, a quick update on our test setup. Our Intel Z97 storage rigs are equipped with mere USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. Therefore, we secured a Rosewill add-in card to let the T5 run wild at Gen 2 speeds. The card uses the same ASMedia ASM1142 controller that is very commonly found on motherboards with 3.1 Gen 2 capabilities.

You may notice some data in our results from a drive we haven't yet reviewed: Adata's SD700. The full review is in the works, but since we already had the raw numbers we decided to include them in our graphs this time around. Stay tuned for our full look at the SD700 soon.

RoboBench comprises 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 T5 drives immediately set themselves apart from the USB 3.1 Gen 1 drives. Read speeds are a solid 10% ahead of the T1 and SD700, but write speeds are an incredible 50% higher in the single-threaded test. Across read, write, and copy, the T5 is far closer to the SATA 850 EVO 2TB than to any of our older USB drives. 10 Gbps USB is some pretty good stuff.

Next up, the work set.

The story is much the same with the work set, at least with a single thread. The T5 drives seem to dislike reading the work set with eight threads, putting up numbers about 20% worse than the T3 did. But again, write numbers are vastly improved.

The T5 performed better than our USB 3.1 Gen 1 drives across all our tests except one, and it generally won by large margins. Additionally, the 500GB drive's results were just as good as the 1TB's. "Alluring Blue" is no misnomer.

Ordinarily we'd be done here, but since we had some extra time, we decided to rerun a few tests with the T5 plugged into one of our motherboard's USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports to see how much of a difference Gen 2 makes. Let's take a look.

When mated to a slower Gen 1 port, the T5 500GB's speeds are almost identical to that of the T3. Samsung's 64-layer NAND might be bringing some new mojo with it, but it appears that much of the speed increase might be credited to the USB 3.1 Gen 2 upgrade. But without a 48-layer V-NAND device running on Gen 2 to compare against, we can't definitively attribute the gains to one factor or another.

That's it for testing. Hit the next page for our test methods, or skip ahead to the conclusion.