SSD followup

By March 18, 2009Blog
Article Source Linus Torvalds’s Blog
March 18, 2009, 10:50 am

I wrote a couple of months ago how the Intel SSD’s were the only ones on the market that seemed to be worth buying – all the cheaper ones were unusable due to having horrible random write performance, which is something you notice really quickly in real life as nasty pauses.

Sadly, almost none of the reviews seemed to ever catch on to that, as they were all looking at the (totally irrelevant) throughput numbers that basically don’t matter in any real-life situation. Everybody just quoted the nice big marketing numbers, because finding the numbers that matter more to actual human perception (notably: average and maximum latency) was so much harder, and most disk benchmarks are crap and don’t even give those numbers.

Which is why I was so happy to see this review at AnandTech. Half the numbers quoted are still the worthless ones (I guess you can’t avoid quoting the industry standard benchmarks, even when they are horribly bad), but much of the actual discussion is about how unusable a drive is when it has maximum latencies in the hundreds of milliseconds.

Looks like people are catching on. And as the reviewers are catching on, so are the manufacturers. I still see too many reviews that gush over throughput numbers, but here’s one that got it right, and apparently got a manufacturer to actually understand. Good job.

(And I still love my Intel SSD’s , but Anand is certainly correct in pointing out that they aren’t cheap. And it looks like “cheap” will no longer necessarily mean “sucks so bad that they are unusable” in the upcoming drives. Hallelujah)