Benchmarking the CARDEA Ceramic SSD
Benchmarking SSDs are not an exact science as there is variability between runs, and different benchmarks may show different results depending on how they run their tests and how up-to-date the benchmarks are. However, by using enough real world and synthetic tests, it may be possible to get a good idea of relative performance across all four tested drives. For benchmark results, the drives are generally listed in the following order on the charts:
- T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440 1TB PCIe Gen 4 x4 NVMe SSD
- T-FORCE Liquid CARDEA 512GB PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSD
- Team Group MP33 1TB NVMe Gen 3 x4 PCIe SSD
- T-FORCE Vulcan 500GB SATA III SSD
We did not set up Windows on the Vulcan SSD, so not all of the benchmarks could be run on it. All of the drives will have their results summarized in multiple charts.
Let’s start first with TeamGroup’s own S.M.A.R.T. utility to get some information on each SSD.
This TeamGroup S.M.A.R.T. utility is one we recently discovered that gives more information in one place than many other utilities. First is the system and disk information for the CARDEA Ceramic C440.
S.M.A.R.T. also tests the drive with two sets of tests. First up, the performance tests in MB/s for the T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440.
S.M.A.R.T. clearly shows the CARDEA Ceramic C440 is the fastest SSD, followed by the CARDEA Liquid, then the TeamGroup MP33 SSD, and in last place, the SATA III Vulcan SSD. TeamGroup’s S.M.A.R.T. is a good place to start, so let’s see what other synthetic and real world tests show.
Let’s start with PCMark 10.
UL (formerly Futuremark) has been a developer and publisher of PC benchmark applications for nearly two decades. Although PCMark benches are synthetic tests, they provide a good measure of system performance.
PCMark 10 was primarily developed for Windows 10 and it builds upon the PCMark 8 platform for a package of vendor-neutral home and office benchmarks. Unfortunately, in comparison to PCMark 8, PCMark 10 is missing key elements including detailed storage testing, and it is not possible to test the Vulcan SATA SSD as an attached drive as with the earlier suite.
We use both PCMark 10’s Express and Extended settings. The Express benchmark suite is best suited for office tasks while the Extended benchmarks are for power users
To properly compare the PCMark 10 scores, look at the detailed results that you want to compare. All of the NVMe drives results are presented as screenshots. Open the images in separate tabs for easy individual test result comparisons.
Let’s check out PCMark 8 which uses better dedicated storage tests.
To see exactly where drive performance results differ, there is no better tool than SiSoft’s Sandra 2020. Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a complete information & diagnostic utility in one package. It is able to provide all of the information about your hardware, software, and other devices for diagnosis and for benchmarking.
AIDA64 is the successor to Everest and it is an important industry tool for benchmarkers. AIDA64’s benchmark code is written in Assembly language, and they are well-optimized for AMD, Intel and VIA processors by utilizing the appropriate instruction set extensions. We use the Engineer’s version of AIDA64 courtesy of FinalWire. AIDA64 is free to to try and use for 30 days. We run the AIDA64 overall Disk Benchmark and the 4 individual Read tests for each drive, and we include the image for the tests and then summarize all of our drive results in a chart. These tests are very detailed, and since there are a lot of customization options available we run the default tests. We did not run the Read tests as they will destroy the data on the disks being tested.
- The Linear Read test measure sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It’s a linear view of the drives overall performance from its beginning to end.
- The Random Read test measures the random performance by reading variable-sized data blocks at random locations on the drive and they are combination of both speed and access times as its position changes before each new operation.
- The Buffered Read test measures the drive caching.
- The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading 0.5 KB data blocks at random drive locations
SPECworkstation3 (3.0.4) Disk Benchmarks
All the SPECworkstation3 benchmarks are based on professional applications, most of which are in the CAD/CAM or media and entertainment fields. All of these benchmarks are free except for vendors of computer-related products and/or services.
The most comprehensive workstation benchmark is SPECworkstation3. It’s a free-standing benchmark which does not require ancillary software. It measures GPU, CPU, storage and all other major aspects of workstation performance based on actual applications and representative workloads. SPECworkstation Disk benchmarks are perhaps more demanding than the 3DMark tests and only WPCstorage was performed. It was not possible to run it on the Vulcan SSD since there is no operating system running on it.
We only tested disk-related SPEC workstation WPCstorage performance which includes multiple tests like 7-Zip, Maya, Handbrake, and Mozilla, and first up is the CARDEA Ceramic C440.
The T-Force Vulcan SATA III SSD was not tested since we did not set up Windows on it. Here are the SPECworkstation3 results summarized in a chart along with two of the competing PCIe NVMe SSDs. Higher is better since the results are expressed as a score.
Using SPEC benchmarks, we see the Cardea Ceramic C440 is the fastest at SPEC workstation WPCstorage tests followed by the CARDEA Liquid and then by the MP33 SSD.
Anvil’s Storage Utilities
Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a tool designed to benchmark and evaluate the Read and Write performance of SSDs and HDDs. It gives overall bandwidth as well separate Read and Write scores, the response times, and IOPS capabilities.
CrystalDiskMark is a HDD benchmark utility for your drives that measure sequential and random read/write speeds. Here are some key features of “CrystalDiskMark”:
- Measure sequential reads/writes speed
- Measure random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed
- Results given in IOPS or MB/s
TxBENCH is similar to CrystalDiskMark but with additional features including secure erase. According to the website, “It not only measures the performance of storage easily but also performs detailed speed measurements based on specified access patterns and long-period speed measurements. It also allows you to see each drive’s supported features, enabled features, and S.M.A.R.T. information.”
T-FORCE Liquid CARDEA 512GB PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSD is next.
The T-FORCE Vulcan 500GB SATA III SSD is last.
This free standalone synthetic test is old and it doesn’t represent real world performance but it does test some important drive metrics. There is also a pay-for HD Tune Pro which is up-to-date and offers more functionality. We tried the Pro trial recently just to make sure the free version is still relevant. HD Tune has the following functions, and it measures the performance of:
- Transfer Rate
- Access Time
- CPU Usage
- Burst Rate
- Random Access test
- Write benchmark
Hard Disk information includes partition information, supported features, firmware version, serial number, disk capacity, buffer size, transfer mode.
- Hard Disk Health
- S.M.A.R.T. Information (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)
- Power On Time
- Error scan
- Temperature display
Here are the CARDEA Ceramic C440 HD Tune benchmark results:
Next we benchmark using AS SSD.
AS SSD is designed for Solid State Drives (SSD). This tool contains synthetic and practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD without using operating system caches. In Seq-test the program measures how long it takes to read and write a 1GB file.
In the 4K test, read and write performance for random 4K blocks are determined. The 4K-64-thrd test are similar to the 4K procedure except that the read and write operations on 64 threads are distributed as in the usual start of a program. For the copy test, two large ISO file folders are created, programs with many small files, and a games folder with small and large files. These three folders are copied by the OS copy command with the cache turned on. AS SSD gives an overall score after it runs the benchmarks.
Here are the T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440 AS SSD results showing MB/s next to IOPS and below it, copy speeds.
Again, the CARDEA Ceramic C440 stands out even though it’s bandwidth is limited by Intel’s latest enthusiast motherboards.
Next up, ATTO.
ATTO is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read/write storage devices including for SSDs and HDDs. HD Tach uses custom device drivers and low level Windows interfaces to determine the physical performance of the device.
HD Tach is up next.
HD Tach is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read/write storage devices that was developed by Simpli Software. HD Tach uses custom device drivers and low level Windows interfaces to determine the physical performance of the device. It is no longer supported and needs to be run in compatibility mode for Windows 10.
We present the benchmarks first with the Quick benchmark (8MB zones) on the left and the Long benchmark (32MB zones) on the Right.
Finally, here are the T-FORCE Vulcan SATA HD Tach results with an average read of 346.4MB/s for the Quick bench and 346.3MB/s for the Long bench. Here are the HD Tach Disk benches summarized in a chart comparing our ten drives. For read speeds, higher is better but for access times, lower is better.
The CARDEA Ceramic C440 is the fastest in HD Tach, and the Cardea Liquid is next followed by the MP33 SSD and in last, the Vulcan SATA III SSD.
Next we look at game/level loading speeds.
The Game/Level Loading Timed Results
Game and game level loading time results are difficult to measure precisely but generally SSDs perform similarly with regard to game loading times and they significantly faster than any HDD. Even SSHDs require loading the same level or program over-and-over to get quicker.
Fortunately we are able to test 2 games using the World of Warcraft and Battlefield 3 loading times again as measured precisely by PCMark 8’s storage test as well as 5 levels and overall loading times accurately by using the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormbringer benchmark.
Let’s start with the Stormbringer benchmark first and the CARDEA Ceramic NVMe PCIe SSD. Total Loading times are 13.34 seconds.
Finally the Vulcan SATA III SSD with a total Loading times of 16.214 seconds. Here is the chart comparing the total loading times of each SSD plus each of its 5 levels. Lower times in seconds are better which means the game or level will load more quickly.
All of the SSDs load games quickly and there is very little difference between them although the CARDEA Ceramic C440 is the fastest followed by the CARDEA Liquid, the MP33 and the SATA III Vulcan SSD. Until developers start to target SSDs for game storage, or perhaps after the next generation of consoles move away from hard disk drives, we may see SSDs achieve the game loading performance they are capable of.
File copy speeds are important to gamers especially when they want to quickly transfer their game files from one location to another.
First we copy a 22.8GB folder containing Alien Isolation (which is exceptionally intense in VR) from its Steam folder to a desktop folder which is something we do regularly when setting up VR on multiple PCs.
The Team Group MP33 M.2 PCIe 1TB SSD is weak in Read but rather fast for Write evidenced by taking 1 minute and 9.3 seconds (69.3 seconds) for the Alien Isolation Copy, or less than 20 seconds slower than the CARDEA Liquid, but the CARDEA Ceramic is still 3 times faster at copying this same folder.
It took about 2 minutes and 22.5 seconds to copy the same Alien Isolation 22.6GB Steam folder from program files to the desktop using the Vulcan SSD. You have time to make a cup of tea.
Next we try something a bit more complicated and time consuming when we copy multiple folders totaling 44.2GB from from Steam’s common files to a desktop folder.
It took about 7 minutes and 32 seconds to copy the same 22.6GB Steam folder from program files to the desktop using the Vulcan SSD. You can probably get dinner started in that time. But no matter how you look at it, even a SATA III SSD is much faster than any HDD or SSHD when you can probably make dinner and eat it too before your files are ready.
Even when the CARDEA Ceramic C440 SSD is constrained severely by the Intel platform’s limited bandwidth, it still excels at copying compared to any of our other tested SSDs.
Finally, let’s revisit game/level loading times plus all of our Summary charts and then reach our conclusion.