OWC SATA SSD Performance w/2011 MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by wegster, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. wegster macrumors 6502

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    Nov 1, 2006
    #1
    Picking up a late 2013 13" MBP for my wife recently had me curious as to my MBPs disk speed, as I was pretty impressed with hers at >600MB/sec, and the newer MBPs with > 1TB/sec read/write.

    Current system is a early 2011 BTO, 2.3 GHz i7, 1680x1050 matte screen, now 16GB, and had replaced the 'primary' drive with an OWC Mercury Electra 6G 500GB SSD, + drive doubler + 1TB backup drive.

    Besides when initially purchasing, I don't generally benchmark my laptops, especially if there's no known issue I'm chasing, but I went ahead and did so after seeing the 2013's SSD performance.

    I'm not so thrilled with what I saw, but am at a loss as to the 'why', as third party older reviews seem to put the OWC and even the Samsungs (SATA 6Gb/sec bus) as relatively close 'enough' to each other, but I'm seeing only ~150MB/sec read and write speeds via Blackmagic, which isn't near saturating the interface.

    BM is a somewhat 'unusual' disk benchmark - for apple to apple rough comparisons, it's fine - I'm just using the PAL scores for reference at 153MB/sec for both read and write.

    I'm having a hard time believing that's the best it gets on the bus, as theoretical max for SATA III 6Gb/sec = ~ 6000000000/(8 * 1024000) = 732MB/second. No doubt rounding 'license' has been taken in manufacturers favor, but still ~600MB/sec should be achievable.

    Anyone else have a similar system with the same drive for comparison?

    Trying to sort if something's off here with my system, especially as if I decide to pass on the next MBP updates, I'll be looking to pick up a 1TB SSD to tide me over for a few. The system performs reasonably well, but this is curious..
     
  2. JTToft, Aug 27, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016

    JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #2
    It's most likely the OWC SSD's fault. At least two factors at play:

    a) Do you have TRIM enabled? If not, it may be achieving less than optimal speed.

    b) OWC's SATA drives use a SandForce controller, which takes advantage of compression to achieve its best case scenario performance. As the sort of data used in BlackMagic (video) is incompressible, the drive can't achieve full speeds.
    It's part of the reason I dislike SandForce and OWC drives.

    (The maximum of SATA III is normally understood to be 600 MB/sec, and in practice you're unlikely to achieve above 550 MB/sec.)
    The below is what my Samsung 850 Pro achieves in my machine, which is pretty well identical to yours.
    You are using the main drive bay and showing a negotiated link speed of 6 Gb/sec, right?

    Best case, 850 Pro (main).png
     
  3. wegster thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Yes to showing a negotiated 6Gb/sec connection, and using main drive bay for the SSD. I stopped keeping up on drive interfaces/keeping abreast of latest performance developments once I stopped purchasing hardware for work - thought it was ~600MB/sec or so but figured I'd do the math to keep myself honest. ;)

    And yes, virtually identical system as yours. Hmm.

    TRIM shouldn't matter all that much in speed, IMO, unless/until the drive has had a lot of file churn, but theres no difference with TRIM disabled or enabled either way.

    Off a clean reboot, nothing running..just seems on the low side.
     

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  4. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #4
    Basically, sandforce controller based drives are slow.
     
  5. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #5
    - I would tend to think the slow speeds are due simply to SandForce. But if you haven't ever run with TRIM, it's worth testing out to see if that might be part of the issue. You can't expect performance to change simply by enabling TRIM and then immediately running the benchmark. You need to TRIM the whole drive manually.

    Enable TRIM using the "sudo trimforce enable" command. Then boot to Single User Mode by holding down Cmd + S on boot. Then enter the below command and hit Enter.

    Code:
    fsck -fy
     
  6. wegster thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Ok, I guess it's likely the drive - was difficult to find third party benchmarks out there on these still, but I had thought I'd seen at least a few out there in the 400-500MB/sec range. On closer inspection, it's looking like the non-repeating data is closer to 200MB/sec:
    http://www.storagereview.com/owc_mercury_electra_6g_ssd_review_240gb
    "The Electra came in on top of the Agility 3 again, measuring 486MB/s read and 457MB/s write with repeating data. Changing to incompressible data, the drive slowed down to 207MB/s read and 239MB/s write."

    I'll take a look at blackmagic's algorithms being used for their benchmark, but Jtott's benchmark for his Samsung on a virtually identical system sans the choice of SSD, using BM as well - pretty much gives an apple to apple performance comparison regardless of the benchmark composition.

    Oh well - had bought the drive before TRIM was able to be enabled for OS X and figured it would be a safe choice for an SSD if not top of the line performance, but didn't install it until not too long ago.

    Is the Samsung 850 still the current reigning general-usage champ out there?

    Not sure if I'll go that route or not - may wait to see what the new MBPs bring, or figure out if I have a use for a 1TB SATA SSD after picking up either the 'new' MBP coming out or the model after.
     
  7. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #7
    - The Samsung 850 Pro is uncontroversially the fastest SATA SSD in the world and has been since it was introduced more than 2 years ago. Also comes with a nice 10-year warranty.

    850 EVO is the general recommendation, though, and is also excellent.

    I'd still try the TRIM command just to see what it does on your drive.
     
  8. wegster thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Thanks - I already did RE: TRIM, including a forced fsck. Also dug for other experience w/TRIM on those drives, which eventually got to a vague BS-like statement from OWC how "best performance will be attained with or without TRIM enabled" = meh. While Sandforce was saying t's best to use TRIM + their innate GC.
    Just in case someone stumbles across this later, I'm going w/Ars on this one - always enable TRIM..including on OWC drives.
    References for anyone worrying about it, and also seeing OWCs 'mixed' messaging:
    http://blog.macsales.com/31602-owc-ssds-built-to-perform-with-or-without-trimforce-command
    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015...garbage-collection-so-i-dont-need-trim-right/
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ssd-trim-enabling-owc-sandforce-vs-others.1754767/
    http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-n...ion-and-trim-in-ssds-explained-an-ssd-primer/
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/macbook-pro-ssd-trim,3538.html

    Way to muddy the waters via marketing nonsense, OWC. :-/

    Adding - Blackmagic does indeed seem to use incompressible data in it's benchmark, which would lead to reduced performance due to inability of the controller to do it's own compression on data.

    Either way, I'm running out of space so may pick up the Samsung regardless.
     
  9. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #9
    - If you're very close to filling up the drive, that will also impact performance. Hard to say by how much, though.
     
  10. wegster thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    It's not to the point where I've seen OS X impacted on HDs - ~80GB free of 469GB, so just shy of 20% or so free.
    I've got a second 1TB drive in the optical bay so archive things off there occasionally, and I'm not swapping to disk all that often.

    I guess the reality is the Sandforce controller in the drive relies on compressible data and is getting a bit dated vs more modern offerings. Disappointing but not the end of the world - just may be time to pick up a Samsung 850 EVO.
     
  11. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #11
    - Sounds like a good plan.
     
  12. wegster thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Thanks guys - I think I was mostly looking for confirmation the drive's performing as it's 'expected to' - even if on the disappointing side, vs there potentially being anything else going on.
     
  13. wegster thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Ok, change the 'considering picking up a Samsung 850 EVO' to ordered one.
    I read enough on Sandforce and OWC failures to say that while Samsung is no longer one of my preferred manufacturers ('Smart' TV experiences), I simply can't afford to lose the primary drive on my system. Waffled a bit between Samsung and SanDisk Extreme or Ultra II, but the 850 is on the way.

    In the 'worst' case, I'll move the 850 to backup duty if/when I pick up the next MBP upgrade or the one after that.
     
  14. thewap, Aug 28, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016

    thewap macrumors demi-god

    thewap

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    #14
    Your oWC SSD speeds are pretty slow, should be more than twice what you are benching - which seem like sata2 speeds - your SSD might be defective? sure it is a 6G?
     
  15. prisstratton macrumors 6502

    prisstratton

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    Winnipeg
    #15
    I have been following this thread recently and thought I would add my experience. I do not think that you will be disappointed in the least.

    I had been running an Intel 520 SSD (Sandforce controller) in my 2011 17” MBP and when I benched it I got way less performance than the specs. indicate, not as bad as what you were reporting but still way off hitting peak performance. Last year I switched to the Samsung 850 EVO and now things are where they should be.

    I do not think that you will need a “worse case scenario”.
     
  16. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #16
    - Great. The 850 EVO is a fantastic drive. Really can't go wrong with it. 5-year warranty, too.

    - Actually, as we've discussed, speeds around half of the drive's maximum performance are normal on SandForce-equipped drives when dealing with incompressible data.
     
  17. thewap macrumors demi-god

    thewap

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    #17
    - Actually, as we've discussed, speeds around half of the drive's maximum performance are normal on SandForce-equipped drives when dealing with incompressible data.[/QUOTE]

    Sandforce equiped drives have slight less performance on writing incompressible data, but not as slow as the OP's drive.

    Here is my OWC SSD 6G under blackmagic running in my MBP 2011 2.5ghz, 17" :

    Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.21.12.png
     
  18. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #18
    - Thank you!

    Is that also a Mercury Electra 6G, or a Mercury Extreme Pro 6G?
    If it is the same Electra drive that would indeed suggest the OP's drive is defective, in which case the Samsung purchase is an even better decision.
     
  19. thewap macrumors demi-god

    thewap

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    #19
    It is a mercury pro.
    The electra speeds are probably a little better, but the pro is for endurance IMO.
     
  20. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #20
    - The Extreme Pro is actually much faster. More than 2 x read performance compared to Electra according to OWC specs.

    The OP's drive is 208 MB/s read and 235 MB/s write for incompressible data and about twice that for compressible data according to OWC specs. What he's seeing is reasonably close to that.

    Electra: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/SSD7E6G480/
    Extreme Pro: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/SSD7P6G480/
     
  21. thewap macrumors demi-god

    thewap

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    #21
    Your right about the read write of the electra.
     
  22. wegster, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016

    wegster thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Quite sure.
    [​IMG]

    Opened a case w/OWC - so far, routine stuff - reset NVRAM, SMC...asked them for an actual benchmark from this drive on a similar device. We'll see, but I believe I'm done buying storage from them if this is 'it.'
    --- Post Merged, Aug 29, 2016 ---
    It's an Electra. Don't ask why - I was watching prices on them forever and could have sworn I bought the pro, but it's just the Electra. Going from memory I didn't see any viable benchmarks other than the 'up to XXXX' when I bought it and had intended to buy the pro, but .... My bad on that one - whenever there's a 'pro vs not' model of something critical, or a significant warrantee difference, I usually do buy the 'pro'. I passed on the $$ for the Samsung 850 -> 850 Pro as it will be an occasional use backup drive within a year (Oct MBP or the following) at most.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 29, 2016 ---
    Hey, come on...it says so right here:
    :D :D

    To be fair though, I guess this as good as it gets w/this drive...now seeing the incompressible numbers:
    Electra 6g:
    Electra Extreme on Crack Pro (whatever it's named..the model up..)
    Definitely wish I'd noticed that one when I bought it. Oh well, on to the Samsung I go and lesson learned.
     
  23. wegster thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    OWC has offered an RMA, but what I really wanted was for them to confirm if performance was as expected for this drive or not. Will likely send it back, although I have no real use for the drive now, just became a throwaway purchase mainly.. :-/

    Either way, now 'resolved': (Samsung 850 EVO)
    [​IMG]
     
  24. KOTULCN macrumors 6502

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #24
    I just installed an 850 EVO drive in my Buffalo Ministation TB enclosure and my read/write speeds are quite slow compared to what the drive is capable of. I was just wondering if there is anything I can do to remedy this?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  25. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #25
    - I'm going to say it's most likely just due to the Thunderbolt chipset or SATA implementation in your Buffalo unit not being optimised properly.
     

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