BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE

BAPCo's SYSmark 2014 SE is an application-based benchmark that uses real-world applications to replay usage patterns of business users in the areas of office productivity, media creation and data/financial analysis. In addition, it also addresses the responsiveness aspect which deals with user experience as related to application and file launches, multi-tasking etc. Scores are calibrated against a reference system that is defined to score 1000 in each of the scenarios. A score of, say, 2000, would imply that the system under test is twice as fast as the reference system.

SYSmark scores are based on total application response time as seen by the user, including not only storage latency but time spent by the processor. This means there's a limit to how much a storage improvement could possibly increase scores, because the SSD is only in use for a small fraction of the total test duration. This is a significant difference from our ATSB tests where only the storage portion of the workload is replicated and disk idle times are cut short to a maximum of 25ms.

For this review, SYSmark has been used on two different machines: a relatively high-end system with a six-core Intel Core i7-8700K processor and 16GB of RAM, and a more limited system with a quad-core Intel Core i5-7400 processor and just 4GB of RAM. The low-end system spends a lot of time swapping thanks to its small amount of RAM, and this adds greatly to the storage workload.

AnandTech SYSmark SSD Testbed
CPU Intel Core i7-8700K
Motherboard Gigabyte Aorus H370 Gaming 3 WiFi
Chipset Intel H370
Memory 2x 8GB Kingston DDR4-2666
Case In Win C583
Power Supply Cooler Master G550M
OS Windows 10 64-bit, version 1709


AnandTech SYSmark SSD Low-End Testbed
CPU Intel Core i5-7400
Motherboard ASUS PRIME Z270-A
Chipset Intel Z270
Memory 1x 4GB Corsair DDR4-2666
Case In Win C583
Power Supply Cooler Master G550M
OS Windows 10 64-bit, version 1709

None of the Optane Memory modules are large enough to serve as a Windows boot drive alone as well as storing all the applications used for SYSmark, so this section only tests the Optane Memory and Optane SSD 800P as cache drives. (The 118GB Optane SSD 800P is pretty much the smallest drive that can could run SYSmark, but it doesn't leave much room for user data.)

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE - Data / Financial Analysis BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE - Media Creation

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE - Office Productivity

The Data/Financial Analysis, Media Creation, and Office Productivity sub-tests are all relatively insensitive to storage performance, and they are shown in order of decreasing sensitivity to the CPU and RAM differences between the two test systems. These results show that a mechanical hard drive can hold back application performance, but almost any solid state storage system—including Optane Memory caching—is sufficient to shift the bottlenecks over to compute and memory.

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE - Responsiveness

The Responsiveness test is less focused on overall computational throughput and more on those annoying delays that make a computer feel slow: application launching, opening and saving files, and a variety of multitasking scenarios. Here, moving off a mechanical hard drive is by far the best upgrade that can be made to improve system performance. Going beyond a mainstream SATA SSD provides diminishing returns, but there is a measurable difference between the SATA SSD and the fastest Optane SSD.

Energy Usage

The SYSmark energy usage scores measure total system power consumption, excluding the display. Our SYSmark test system idles at around 26 W and peaks at over 60 W measured at the wall during the benchmark run. SATA SSDs seldom exceed 5 W and idle at a fraction of a watt, and the SSDs spend most of the test idle. This means the energy usage scores will inevitably be very close. A typical notebook system will tend to be better optimized for power efficiency than this desktop system, so the SSD would account for a much larger portion of the total and the score difference between SSDs would be more noticeable.

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE - Total System Power

The Intel Optane SSD 900P is quite power-hungry by SSD standards, but running a hard drive is even worse. The Optane Memory M10 and 118GB 800P further add to power consumption when used as cache devices, but they speed up the test enough that total energy usage is not significantly affected. The 32GB Optane Memory doesn't offer as much of a performance boost, and it lacks the power management capabilities of the more recent Optane M.2 drives.

Test Procedures AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy
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  • CheapSushi - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - link

    Maybe you didn't notice this but NVMe NAND M.2 drives tend to be x4, meaning 4 PCIe lanes. These are x2, meaning 2 PCIe names. These are also slightly gimped controller wise, so enterprise doesn't use them instead. There's also an AIC/HHHL version of the Optane drives, even for enterprise. And regardless, Optane still has a huge amount of benefits compared to a NAND drive. It doesn't slow down the fuller it gets unlike NAND drives, the endurance is MUCH higher than even MLC NAND, the latency is better overall, etc. The fast majority of what is being done on a PC, even with file swapping, caching is low queue depth, not high. So it just depends on your workload and what you want to accomplish. Have you ever looked at how a completely full NVMe SSD slows down? What about when the DRAM RAM buffer gets full? No issue with Optane.

    Personally if I care about having large bulk storage. I'll be using Optane for cache. If I'm going for just ONE drive for my ENTIRE system, sure, I'll go with a large NVMe NAND drive and spend the $1K or more for it..
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - link

    Your response doesn't cover the flaws discussed in the post you're responding to, save to astroturf them by defending Intel's artificial product segmentation. It's bizarre!
  • CheapSushi - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - link

    Meant to write, "meaning 2 PCIe lanes" and it falls in line with actual real world MB/s rather than theoretical max bandwidth on two lanes.
  • hanselltc - Thursday, May 17, 2018 - link

    Maybe you should take a look at the Optane NVMe drives.
  • haukionkannel - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    8 Tb ssd are still too expensive. Now the picture that you are editing from your 16tb picture library, runs automatically faster, because it will be in cache part, instead of really slow storage HDD... this is excellent product!
  • frenchy_2001 - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    Actually, that would depend on your flow.
    To load data into the cache, you need to access it several times.
    If you process your images by loading them one by one, editing then saving, this will not help.
    Then again, why would you need help for that, as this is all sequential access and HDDs are reasonably good at it.
  • escksu - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    No it doesnt. Like any cache out there, the data has to be inside the cache before it can speed things up. The whole idea is that you will probably be using the same data again so by storing it in the cache, you get it faster.

    But, cache is not magic. You initial loading of your photo be just as slow because it reads from your slow HDD. After that, it will get from the cache so things speeds up. there are algorithms such as read ahead to predict what you may need so it reads more than you need. But don't count on it to work all the time.
  • escksu - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    Another thing is no one in the right mind will buy a single 8TB SSD and store everything inside. You need redundancy in case the SSD fails. Thats why people run RAID 5.
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - link

    I personally don't understand the appeal of such a small cache. The speed improvements only kick in after the first use of the data and while Optane can be quite a bit faster than SSD, the 99th percentile numbers don't look great, which isn't a problem for data access but can be for program access (hiccups). Also, 64GB cache vs >100GB (which I think you meant to write instead of "less than", since <100GB does not mean anything [can be 1kb for all we know]) of data does not look like it will show great improvements to your workflow on a regular basis.
    If you are working off a 6TB HDD and need great speed, why not employ a RAID? RAID 5 with 4 2TB HDDs should be able to give you in excess of 300MB/s read/write speeds. Or RAID 10 if you want a simpler system, speed should still be over 300MB/s. Seems like a more equal solution than this 64GB cache that kicks in after one or two runs and even then is a bit uneven.
  • escksu - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    Btw, this cache is not everything. Its still very very very slow compared to RAM. If someone needs to work with 100GB photos, they ought to invest at least 128GB of RAM.

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