ned Productions Consulting

Technology musings by Niall Douglas
ned Productions Consulting
(an expert advice and services company based in Ireland)

Friday 8th January 2016 1.51pm

In December my dev workstation hard drive began showing pending unrecoverable sectors which was my third dev workstation hard drive failure in 2015, and so a third highly inconvenient total swap of data was going to be needed. It is my own fault though, two of the drives I "upgraded" to last year were ones which had earlier begun to fail in the cloud node's ZFS array, and I had been silently hoping that it was the vibration from all the other drives rather than actual death. I also really didn't want to waste a potentially good hard drive - the lesson learned here is that the ZFS array is really excellent at spotting drives long before they begin to fail in normal usage, and I really actually can't complain seeing as both the failed drives were over seven years old and had been continually spinning for many years.

Anyway now I am out of spare hard drives to go into my dev workstation, so I bit the bullet and dropped €320 on a 1Tb Samsung 850 EVO SSD - yes, that's a full 1Tb, because I have about 650Gb of stuff on the existing dev workstation hard drive. I already had a 256Gb Samsung 830 SSD in there as a boot drive which back in 2012 was top of the line premium whereas the 850 EVO is Samsung's budget SSD, so below is how they perform against one another.

As is overwhelmingly clear from the 4Kb random i/o tests (which is what we care about, not the sequential tests), the 850 EVO is up to 4x faster than the 830, so in just four years the budget SSD from Samsung is up to 4x faster than the top of the line premium SSD in 2013. I guess that's technological progress for you.

That super cheap Sandisk SSD Plus SSD I mentioned last month which was 256Gb for £40 do a 1Tb version for about €250 which is nuts cheap, and you may remember it benchmarked remarkably close to my Samsung 830. Apart from the fact I don't know whether to trust Sandisk/Silicon Motion budget SSDs yet, I think anyone would be very pleased with an 830 era SSD performance. The up to 4x better performance of the 850 EVO I suspect will be barely noticeable during usage.

That said I'll be finding out as tomorrow I'll be moving the boot drives from the 830 to the 850 EVO as I'd like the 830 for other purposes, so for the first time since 2010 or so I'll actually have a single storage device in my dev workstation, and no boot drive. I think the era of the SSD as your only storage device in a PC is finally arriving, a good five years later than anyone thought it would …