Random Flash Disk Benchmarks

March 2, 2008

I got my hands on a 2GB IDE flash disk for a little hardware project I’m working on. When someone says SSD’s are really fast, they’re not talking about just any non-mechanical hard drive. The unit in question was nearly 3x slower than an elderly 4200RPM IDE drive in terms of just plain write speed, as illustrated by timing the creation of a 1GB file:

2GB IDE Flash

real    1m43.425s

30GB 4200RPM

real    0m52.481s

But it gets much more interesting with random reads. XBench’s Random Uncached Read results:

2GB IDE Flash

Uncached Read   698.09  4.95 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read   126.47  23.47 MB/sec [256K blocks]

30GB 4200RPM

Uncached Read   49.04   0.35 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read   60.92   11.30 MB/sec [256K blocks]

I had to do the tests twice to verify the difference - the flash disk is indeed 14x faster reading random 4k blocks compared to this particular mechanical drive.

In-all, this test is of course rather pointless, but it does verify what Wikipedia says about the benefits of SSD drives.

The prices are pretty weird though - the 2GB drive is only 9 EUR less than an 80GB 2.5” spinning drive. What’s even weirder, is that an 8GB 1” SSD drive costs about as much as the 2.5” IDE that I tested here, whereas a 2.5” 8GB model is almost 3x more expensive - go figure…