The latest Tiger Lake laptop is Intel’s first mobile device with PCIe 4.0 capabilities.However, while we expect to see many models with fast PCIe 4.0 storage, you are unlikely to see many touted The best solid state drive usable. Although they can provide excellent performance with higher bandwidth interfaces, most of these PCIe 4.0-capable laptops are equipped with PCIe 3.0 SSD, or worse, are limited by the M.2 slot connected to the PCH.That means they Runs at PCIe 3.0 performance, even if you upgrade to a faster SSDTherefore, we began to consider whether upgrading Tiger Lake laptops to faster storage is worth the trouble and cost.
Phison lent us a 2021 Dell Inspiron 5502 equipped with an 11th generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 to unleash full PCIe 4.0x 4 performance through one of its M.2 slots. Unfortunately, this advanced laptop is actually not equipped with a PCIe 4.0 SSD that can saturate the bus. Instead, it is equipped with an SSD like Silicon Motion’s P34A60, which is a DRAM-free and value-oriented PCIe 3.0 SSD that cannot be compared with the mature PCIe 4.0 SSD.
In most cases, if you are looking for the ultimate storage speed, the only way to find it is to upgrade the device yourself. Therefore, we will upgrade this Dell with a faster and larger PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD to realize its full potential, but we will not just stop at performance results-we will take this opportunity to see if there is a deal -Improve the efficiency of the extra speed by performing additional efficiency tests to see the impact on battery life.
It is not always easy to determine whether your system supports full Gen4 performance, so please be sure to read your user manual carefully to check it carefully. If your system is powered by an Intel Optane H20 SSD, such as found in some HP laptops, if you upgrade to faster storage, you will most likely not be able to achieve full performance because the slot is tracked by PCH. However, most laptops from other vendors should have full Gen4 compatibility. In addition, if there are two M.2 slots, please refer to your manual to make sure that the slot you insert the new SSD is directly connected to the M.2 tracking slot of the CPU, not the PCH tracking slot at PCi3 3.0 speed Down to the maximum.
There is a lot of buzz about component swaps in the storage space, including SSD manufacturers turning to less-than-ideal components without changing the specification sheet or model.we have already Implied that Silicon Power’s components were interchangeable with P34A60 in the past, We found more evidence in Dell laptops.However, at the same time Our preliminary review of Silicon Power’s P34A60 It was revealed that it has an SM2263 SSD controller and Intel’s 64-layer TLC flash memory. The P34A60 we received is driven by Phison’s PS5013-E13T and YTMC TLC flash memory. Although the performance is comparable to the evaluation samples we received, the ranking of this combination is still far below the SSD we considered in the experiment.
We tested five different SSDs in the laptop. At the time of writing, all SSDs use the latest firmware provided by their respective manufacturers.We threw one Samsung 980 Pro, WD_Black SN850, Mahesh Gamma, with Seagate FireCuda 530, And Phison PS5018-E18 engineering samples The company sent us back in MayAlthough the FireCuda 530 is also equipped with Micron’s latest 176-layer TLC flash memory (B47R), our engineering example has fully realized its potential-the flash memory runs at 1,600 MTps instead of the 1,200 MTps on the FireCuda 530.
Game scene loading-Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringer It is a free real-world game benchmark test that can easily and accurately compare game loading times without the inaccuracy of using a stopwatch.
PCIe 4.0 SSD provides faster game loading time, and Phison E18 + B47R flash memory combination reaches the highest level. Each is better than WD_Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro, while surpassing the stock SSD by about 5 seconds.
Tracking test-PCMark 10 storage test
PCMark 10 is a track-based benchmark test that uses an extensive set of real-world tracks from popular applications and daily tasks to measure the performance of storage devices. Quick benchmarks are more suitable for those who use PCs for leisure or basic office use, while full benchmarks are more relevant to advanced users.
The faster PCIe 4.0 SSD is also much faster in PCMark 10 workloads. We measured half to one-third of the Silicon Power P34A60’s latency during the system-wide drive benchmark test, proving that systems with PCIe 4.0 SSDs are faster—especially with FireCuda 530. The engineering sample scores higher, but it is in the market.
CrystalDiskMark (CDM) is a free and easy-to-use storage benchmarking tool that SSD vendors usually use to assign performance specifications to their products.
The sequential throughput of inventory SSDs is severely limited by 2.5/2 GBps. Most PCIe 4.0 SSDs reached a peak of close to 7 GBps during read workloads, while Phison E18-based competitors reached more than 6.1 GBps during write workloads. Random performance has also been greatly improved. Samsung 980 Pro provides the fastest 4K random read speed.
Battery Life Test-MobileMark 2018
We don’t often use different SSDs to test the battery life of laptops, but we want to see how long this new laptop will last with the best SSD we can put in. We use BAPCo’s MobileMark 2018 for battery life testing. The software locks the system and runs multiple rounds of automated tests that reflect real-world operations. Once the laptop battery is dead, once the power is restored and the system restarts, the software will spit out the results.
To minimize the difference between operations, we disabled BitLocker, locked the screen brightness to 40%, and enabled flight and dark modes in Windows.
Phison E18 + B47R flash memory SSD is among the best in performance due to its very sensitive reading and writing capabilities. However, their battery life results left a lot of room for improvement. Although they provide the best performance results, the SSD configuration based on Phisons achieved the lowest battery life results in this group. This is largely related to the increased power consumption when the motherboard and chip switch from PCIe 3.0 to 4.0 transmission speed, but SSD hardware and various sleep states will also have an impact.
Spot Silicon Power P34A60 provides the second longest battery life, and is better than WD_Black SN850 and Mushkin Gamma. Samsung 980 Pro may not be the fastest, but it still has a very reliable score, beating the stock SSD, and its long battery life basically matches the stock SSD.
With Muskin Gamma, the Dell laptop ran for a little over 7 hours. Surprisingly, the Phison E18 project sample also ran for 7 hours. However, the Seagate FireCuda 530 had less than 6 and a half hours of clock before it was eliminated, obtaining the least battery life in this group. This shows that the engineering samples using Micron’s B47R TLC are more efficient because the flash memory clocks at a higher MTps.
Victor and Apocalypse
Choosing an SSD for your desktop PC is a daunting task, but choosing the best storage for your laptop can be more difficult. Can upgrading to faster Gen4 storage really change the rules of the laptop game? If you are a speed freak like me, then yes. For ordinary people? Probably not, but it will definitely provide a faster user experience.
Nothing can compare to the speed of a native PCIe 4.0 SSD, even if it has been beaten continuously for several hours. In these cases, Seagate’s FireCuda 530 and our engineering samples provide professional consumers and storage enthusiasts with a lot of performance, ahead of WD and Samsung. However, it comes at the expense of power efficiency.
Although these SSDs have unparalleled responsiveness in heavy work processes, they cannot do this without consuming a lot of power. Although the controller is manufactured using a 12nm process, the SSD based on Phison E18 is still very power-hungry. With four times the NAND package, twice the DRAM IC and multiple Arm Cortex R5 CPUs packaged into the controller, there are many components that can be powered. But, perhaps more importantly, moving the PCIe bus and related components to the faster transmission speeds of the 4.0 specification will also increase system-level power consumption.
The WD_Black SN850 runs for more than 8.5 hours, while Samsung’s Dell Inspiron 15 5502 runs for nearly 9.5 hours after a single charge. Our PCIe 4.0 E18-based competitors caused the laptop to crash several hours earlier. Considering that Samsung 980 Pro is a single-sided M.2 SSD, it has a quarter of the NAND package of Phison SSD, uses LPDDR4 DRAM, and has a controller built on the 8nm process. This is a reasonable Phison sample. Behind it in this respect.
WD_Black SN850 is built on TSMC’s 16nm FinFET technology, so we think it will consume more power than it, but due to its smallest component layout like Samsung, it performs very well in terms of power consumption. However, the overall performance is not so good. Although it scored high in PCMark 10 workload, the score of WD_Black SN850 in MobileMark 2018 is lower than most competitors. ). In addition, the power state transition of the SN850 during several hours of testing caused a slight decrease in overall response performance.
In the final analysis, Samsung 980 Pro is my first choice for upgrading my laptop. It provides the best balance of performance and long periods of non-charging, which is important when I leave the base that day. Compared with Phison E18-based alternatives, we believe that the lower performance of the 980 Pro by a few percentage points is worth the loss, considering the need for more power to drive the edge of PCIe 4.0 SSD throughput. However, for advanced users who work most of the time on the docking station and want the absolute fastest performance of the laptop, the battery life trade-off may not be important. This is the E18-based SSD and Micron’s B47R 176L TLC dominate. .
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