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William George (Puget Labs Technician)

Samsung SSD Speed Comparison

Written on October 29, 2019 by William George
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Our systems have moved almost entirely to solid-state drives (SSDs) for primary storage, making our old video looking at hard drive vs SSD boot times rather outdated. But are all of the SSDs we use equal, or are there benefits to one over another for typical computer usage? I tried out four of the Samsung models we carry to see how they compare in boot up, file copy, and application launch times.

To keep things fair, the rest of the system hardware was identical - and all four Windows installations were cloned from a single original source drive so that the OS and applications were all set up exactly the same. Here is the hardware I used:

CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K
RAM: 128GB (4 x 32GB) 2666MHz DDR4
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Samsung SSDs (all 1TB): 860 EVO, 860 Pro, 970 EVO Plus, 970 Pro

The three times I measured were from the power-on beep to the Windows desktop, then making a copy of a ~10GB .zip file on the desktop, and finally opening Premiere Pro. Here is a video showing screen capture of the whole process, so you can feel the differences:

In case you don't want to sit through that, here is a chart of the full results (in seconds) which are also shown at the end of the video:

Test \ Samsung SSD Model 860 EVO 860 Pro 970 EVO Plus 970 Pro
Windows 10 Boot Time 29 28 27 28
10GB File Copy 28 29 5 5
Premiere Pro Launch Time 19 19 18 10

The boot-up times were all within a couple seconds of each other, but file copy times strongly favored the M.2 drives (970 series). Surprisingly, three of the drives were very close on application launch time - but the 970 Pro had a noticeable lead there. I'm not certain why that is, but I repeated that test a second time (not shown on the video) to confirm the difference.

So what is the takeaway here? All of these SSDs boot up very quickly, and in fact is it probably the motherboard / BIOS (as well as the CPU speed) that is the limiter for boot times these days. Moving big files around is a lot faster on a higher speed SSD, though, and there can even be some impact on how quickly complex applications start up.

Tags: boot, bootup, time, speed, comparison, computer, Intel, SSD, Samsung, M.2, NVMe, SATA
Jan Dorniak

I came here to notify you that this is one of a few recent articles which show up twice in the RSS.

As for speed comparisons the most surprising thing here is definitely the difference between the two 970s. Most likely a different controller or NAND die composition resulting in faster random access.

Posted on 2019-10-30 08:59:54

I'll pass along that RSS issue to our web team, thank you for mentioning it :)

I don't have a solid explanation on the application launch time difference between the 970s, and it caught me off guard (which is why I went back and re-ran that part of the test a second time after I had already done the screen capture). I'm wondering if it has to do with the 970 EVO Plus' split flash memory design: if, for whatever reason, Premiere Pro's installation was stored on the slower flash... maybe that would explain it? That is my leading theory, but it is really just a guess.

Posted on 2019-10-30 15:28:21
Jan Dorniak

Looking at specs: TLC vs MLC. That pretty much sums it up. MLC is faster partially because with two bits per cell (compared to three) the voltage margins when reading are doubled.

If you ran the file-copy test before starting up Premiere chances are high that it was moved out of the pseudo-SLC cache (it's essentially the same memory, just working in different mode). Although it also highly depends on how full the disk was.

How large is Premiere?

Posted on 2019-10-30 23:40:59

The Premiere Pro folder itself is a little over 3GB, but I'm not sure if Adobe tucks away any important files in other locations as well.

Posted on 2019-11-01 16:12:57
Gleb Volkov

So good to know about OS and premiere start-up!
Do you also have more-or-less definitive information whether actually using (editing/grading/rendering) premiere and/or davinci installed on an m.2 nvme drive - has any real-life effect? gen 3 vs gen 4? Same question about cache drive.
I'm spreading all my workload tasks between as many disks as I can (OS/program+media+cache+export drive), as per your recommendation, but wondering which of these drives is actually worth upgrading to nvme (now with gen 4, possibly) to see significant improvement. I'm blindly assuming media drive at this point.
Would be amazing to see a full article, but some kind of short answer would allow me to make the right choices in the upcoming build. Thanks!

Posted on 2019-10-31 14:17:44

Application-specific stuff about video editing is a bit outside my personal area of expertise, but I'll see if Matt can chime in on this :)

Posted on 2019-11-01 16:10:10
Gleb Volkov

That would be great! Appreciate it.

Posted on 2019-11-01 21:13:20
Tristan Summers

The real issue away here should be that sata ssds are fine for your OS meaning you can keep ALL your m2 nvme drives for cache and storage. Yet most machines come with the os on the m2, why? Faster latency much more useful for storage, and they can be raided for faster speeds.

Posted on 2019-11-03 09:31:00
Nicolas SCHMIT

I'd like to see a StoreMI vs RST comparison :-)

Posted on 2019-11-05 13:00:55