Samsung MUF-256DA USB-C Flash Power Evaluate: Thumb-Sized Efficiency Consistency

Moveable SSDs have observed nice call for over the previous few years. Because of developments in smartphones, the quantity of user-generated content material that must be subsidized up or transferred from one tool to every other has grown exponentially. Whilst local flash controllers at the moment are in a position to turning in USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) speeds with the most recent 3-d NAND, the ever present thumb power (known as UFDs – brief for USB flash drives) has additionally controlled to adapt. In contrast to high-performance moveable SSDs, those UFDs are service provider merchandise – underneath blind assessments, maximum customers would not have the ability to differentiate a product in a single functionality category from every other supplier’s providing in the similar category. We hardly evaluate thumb drives (having made exceptions for the Mushkin Atom and Strontium Nitro Plus Nano prior to now, thank you to a few distinctive facets), however Samsung’s be offering of the MUF-256DA/AM USB Kind-C Flash Power piqued our pastime. Having closing reviewed a compact UFD again in 2016, we additionally sought after to take a look at the enhancements made on this product class over time.

Creation and Product Impressions

Samsung’s MUF-256DA is a compact USB Kind-C flash power (UFD) to be had in capacities starting from 64GB to 256GB. It sports activities a USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) interface. Samsung provided us with a 256GB model to position via our strenuous evaluate procedure. The UFD gifts itself to the host gadget as a garage tool, however does no longer reinforce fancy options equivalent to temperature or NAND well being reporting. It additionally does not reinforce options equivalent to UASP or TRIM – facets which are normally absent in compact UFDs.

Samsung MUF-256DA USB-C Flash Power Evaluate: Thumb-Sized Efficiency Consistency

The perfect comparability merchandise for the MUF-256DA would had been the Mushkin Atom and the Strontium Nitro Plus Nano. Then again, either one of those have been reviewed a few years again with a now-retired testbed and check suite. Whilst our check suite has retained the similar framework, adjustments in the real benchmarks imply that we will be able to’t evaluate previous effects in opposition to those got with our newest testbed and check suite.

Comparative Direct-Hooked up Garage Units Configuration
Downstream Port Local Flash Local Flash
Upstream Port USB 3.2 Gen 1 Kind-C USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Kind-C
Bridge Chip N/A Silicon Movement SM2320XT
Energy Bus Powered Bus Powered
Use Case Low-power lightweight thumb-sized flash power, with coverage in opposition to tricky environmental stipulations Low-power 2GBps-class, compact IP55-rated moveable SSD
Bodily Dimensions 33.7 mm x 15.9 mm x 8.2 mm 69.54 mm x 32.58 mm x 13.5 mm (with out casing)
Weight 3.4 grams 28.9 grams (with out cable and casing)
Cable N/A 30 cm USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Kind-C to Kind-C
S.M.A.R.T Passthrough No Sure
UASP Strengthen No Sure
TRIM Passthrough No Sure
{Hardware} Encryption N/A N/A
Evaluated Garage Samsung V-NAND Micron 96L 3-d TLC
Worth USD 52 USD 85
Evaluate Hyperlink Samsung MUF-256DA-AM 256GB Evaluate Kingston XS2000 500GB Evaluate

The desk above gifts a comparative view of the specs of the other USB flash garage gadgets introduced on this evaluate.

Testbed Setup and Analysis Method

The analysis regimen for direct-attached garage gadgets – moveable SSDs, garage bridges (together with RAID enclosures), and reminiscence playing cards – all make the most of the similar testbed and feature equivalent workloads with slight tweaks in response to the tip marketplace for the product. Our testbeds have saved tempo with the advent of latest exterior interfaces – Thunderbolt 2, Thunderbolt 3, and USB 3.2 Gen 2 by the use of Kind-C. In mid-2014, we ready a customized desktop in response to Haswell, which used to be then upgraded to Skylake in early 2016. A botched Thunderbolt 3 firmware improve at the Skylake gadget intended that we needed to shift to the Hades Canyon NUC beginning in early 2019. With USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 gaining traction, the lack to make use of an add-in card within the Hades Canyon NUC intended that we needed to move looking for a brand new DAS testbed platform.

The 2021 AnandTech DAS Testbed

After bearing in mind quite a lot of choices available in the market, we found out that the Quartz Canyon NUC (necessarily, the Xeon / ECC model of the Ghost Canyon NUC) used to be a just right have compatibility for our necessities. Intel supplied us with a pattern of the Quartz Canyon NUC, and ADATA helpfully subsidized 2x 16GB DDR4-2667 ECC SODIMMs and a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD – the IM2P33E8 1TB.

AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
Gadget Intel Quartz Canyon NUC9vXQNX
CPU Intel Xeon E-2286M
Reminiscence ADATA Business AD4B3200716G22

32 GB (2x 16GB)

DDR4-3200 ECC @ 22-22-22-52
OS Power ADATA Business IM2P33E8 NVMe 1TB
Secondary Power SanDisk Excessive PRO M.2 NVMe 3-d SSD 1TB
Upload-on Card SilverStone Tek SST-ECU06 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Kind-C Host
OS Home windows 10 Undertaking x64 (21H1)
Because of ADATA, Intel, and SilverStone Tek for the construct elements

The specs of the testbed are summarized within the desk above.

The 2021 AnandTech DAS Suite

The testbed {hardware} is just one section of the analysis. Over the previous few years, the standard direct-attached garage workloads have additionally advanced. Top bit-rate 4K movies at 60fps have grow to be somewhat commonplace, and 8K movies are beginning to make an look. Recreation set up sizes have additionally grown incessantly, because of excessive answer textures and paintings. Backups have a tendency to contain better selection of information, lots of which can be small in measurement. The distributors have additionally accurately spoke back, with 4TB bus-powered devices already to be had available in the market. Conserving those in thoughts, we’ve followed some tweaks to our analysis technique.

The analysis scheme for DAS devices comes to more than one workloads which can be described intimately within the corresponding sections.

  • Artificial workloads the usage of CrystalDiskMark and ATTO
  • Actual-world get admission to strains the usage of PCMark 10’s garage benchmark
  • Customized robocopy workloads reflective of standard DAS utilization
  • Sequential write tension check

The brand new check suite makes the next updates:

  • Up to date CrystalDiskMark device model to eight.0.2 from 7.0.0
  • Higher CrystalDiskMark workload span from 8GiB to 32GiB
  • Restructured customm robocopy workloads, with multi-threaded copying enabled
  • Temperature monitoring enabled all the way through all idling durations

The main replace is in our customized robocopy workloads – the sooner model transferred round 42GB of information backward and forward from the DAS over every of 3 iteration units for a complete of round 250GB of site visitors. The brand new model ups this to round 95GB consistent with iteration route for a complete of round 570GB of site visitors.

The robocopy workloads have most often transferred information between the DAS and a RAM power to take away any bottlenecks from the testbed’s garage subsystem. Within the new check suite model, we additionally come with a disk-to-disk iteration set the place the entire suite (round 318GB) is transferred from the CPU-attached NVMe SSD to the DAS and again. This a part of the check isn’t enabled for garage gadgets with inadequate capability (just like the Samsung MUF-256DA being reviewed these days).

Artificial Benchmarks – ATTO and CrystalDiskMark

Benchmarks equivalent to ATTO and CrystalDiskMark lend a hand supply a snappy take a look at the functionality of the direct-attached garage tool. The consequences translate to the immediate functionality numbers that customers can be expecting for explicit workloads, however don’t account for adjustments in habits when the unit is topic to long-term conditioning and/or thermal throttling. But every other use of those artificial benchmarks is the power to assemble data relating to reinforce for explicit garage tool options that impact functionality.

Samsung claims learn speeds of as much as 400 MBps, however makes no claims about writes except for for noting that it’s anticipated to be decrease. Those are subsidized up via the ATTO benchmarks supplied under. ATTO benchmarking is specific to a unmarried configuration in relation to queue intensity, and is best consultant of a small sub-set of real-world workloads. It does permit the visualization of exchange in switch charges because the I/O measurement adjustments, with optimum functionality being reached round 512 KB for a queue intensity of four – learn speeds of round 353 MBps, and writes coming in round 110 MBps.

ATTO Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark. as an example, makes use of 4 other get admission to strains for reads and writes over a configurable area measurement. Two of the strains are sequential accesses, whilst two are 4K random accesses. Internally, CrystalDiskMark makes use of the Microsoft DiskSpd garage checking out software. The ‘Seq128K Q32T1’ sequential strains use 128K block measurement with a queue intensity of 32 from a unmarried thread, whilst the ‘4K Q32T16’ one does random 4K accesses with the similar queue configuration, however from more than one threads. The ‘Seq1M’ strains use a 1MiB block measurement. The obvious ‘Rnd4K’ one makes use of just a unmarried queue and unmarried thread . Evaluating the ‘4K Q32T16’ and ‘4K Q1T1’ numbers can temporarily let us know whether or not the garage tool helps NCQ (local command queuing) / UASP (USB-attached SCSI protocol). If the numbers for the 2 get admission to strains are in the similar ballpark, NCQ / UASP isn’t supported. This assumes that the host port / drivers at the PC reinforce UASP.

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks

Sadly, the Samsung MUF-256DA acts as a vanilla UFD with out a reinforce for NCQ or UASP, Then again, the numbers observed right here for every workload is considerably upper than what used to be observed for the Mushkin Atom or Strontium Nitro Plus Nano. The reads do not somewhat succeed in 400 MBps, however writes at 100 MBps+ evaluate somewhat favorably in opposition to the 2 thumbnail-sized contenders. Whilst the ones screenshots aren’t within the above drop-down, they may be able to be considered from the connected opinions (the Strontium Nitro Plus Nano is available in at 140 MBps reads / 51 MBps writes and the Mushkin Atom at 191 MBps reads / 26 MBps writes in the most productive case workloads).

Benchmarking for Efficiency Consistency

Our checking out technique for garage bridges / direct-attached garage devices takes under consideration the standard use-case for such gadgets. The commonest utilization state of affairs is switch of enormous quantities of footage and movies to and from the unit. Different utilization eventualities come with the usage of the unit as a obtain or set up location for video games and uploading information immediately from it right into a multimedia enhancing program equivalent to Adobe Photoshop. Some customers will also decide besides an OS off an exterior garage tool.

The AnandTech DAS Suite tackles the primary use-case. The analysis comes to processing 5 other workloads, out of which the primary 4 have been processed at the Samsung MUF256-DA:

  • AV: Multimedia content material with audio and video information totalling 24.03 GB over 1263 information in 109 sub-folders
  • House: Pictures and file information totalling 18.86 GB over 7627 information in 382 sub-folders
  • BR: Blu-ray folder construction totalling 23.09 GB over 111 information in 10 sub-folders
  • ISOs: OS set up information (ISOs) totalling 28.61 GB over 4 information in a single folder
  • Disk-to-Disk: Addition of 223.32 GB unfold over 171 information in 29 sub-folders to the above 4 workloads (general of 317.91 GB over 9176 information in 535 sub-folders)

Apart from for the ‘Disk-to-Disk’ workload, every information set is first positioned in a 29GB RAM power, and a robocopy command is factor to switch it to the exterior garage unit (formatted in exFAT for flash-based devices such because the Samsung MUF-256DA being reviewed these days, and NTFS for HDD-based devices).

robocopy /NP /MIR /NFL /J /NDL /MT:32 $SRC_PATH $DEST_PATH

Upon of completion of the switch (write check), the contents from the unit are learn again into the RAM power (learn check) after a ten moment idling period. This procedure is repeated thrice for every workload. Learn and write speeds, in addition to the time taken to finish every cross are recorded. Each time conceivable, the temperature of the exterior garage tool is recorded all the way through the idling durations – the Samsung MUF-256DA does not reinforce temperature read-outs, regardless that. Bandwidth for every information set is computed as the typical of all 3 passes.

The ‘Disk-to-Disk’ workload comes to a equivalent procedure, however with one iteration best. The knowledge is copied to the exterior unit from the CPU-attached NVMe power, after which copied again to the interior power. It does come with extra quantity of constant information switch in one route, as information that does not have compatibility within the RAM power could also be a part of the workload set. Since this wasn’t processed at the MUF-256DA because of capability problems (wanting no less than 318GB of unfastened house), the numbers corresponding to these workloads are graphed as 0 under.

Audio and Video Read

As anticipated, the UFD does not set any functionality data, however delivers higher effects than the ones in its similar measurement category (Mushkin Atom / Strontium Nitro Plus Nano). We additionally instrumented our analysis scheme for figuring out functionality consistency.

Efficiency Consistency

Sides influencing the functionality consistency come with SLC caching and thermal throttling / firmware caps on get admission to charges to steer clear of overheating. That is essential for chronic customers, as the very last thing that they need to see when copying over 100s of GB of information is the switch charge taking place to USB 2.0 speeds.

Along with monitoring the immediate learn and write speeds of the DAS when processing the AnandTech DAS Suite, the temperature of the power could also be recorded all the way through the idling durations. For devices that don’t reinforce this, the temperature is recorded as 0. The graphs under provide the recorded information.

AnandTech DAS Suite – Efficiency Consistency

The primary 3 units of writes and reads correspond to the AV suite. A small hole (for the switch of the video suite from the interior SSD to the RAM power) is adopted via 3 units for the House suite. Any other small RAM-drive switch hole is adopted via 3 units for the Blu-ray folder. That is adopted up with the large-sized ISO information set. In spite of everything, we’ve the one disk-to-disk switch set. In contrast to the comparability merchandise, the Samsung MUF-256DA manages to ship vital functionality consistency. The write speeds are saved on the subject of 100 MBps even for small-sized information.

PCMark 10 Garage Bench – Actual-Global Get admission to Strains

There are a selection of garage benchmarks that may topic a tool to synthetic get admission to strains via various the combo of reads and writes, the get admission to block sizes, and the queue intensity / selection of exceptional information requests. We noticed effects from two in style ones – ATTO, and CrystalDiskMark – in a prior part. Extra critical benchmarks, then again, in fact mirror get admission to strains from real-world workloads to decide the suitability of a specific tool for a specific workload. Actual-world get admission to strains is also used for simulating the habits of computing actions which are restricted via garage functionality. Examples come with booting an running gadget or loading a specific recreation from the disk.

PCMark 10’s garage bench (offered in v2.1.2153) contains 4 garage benchmarks that use related real-world strains from in style packages and commonplace duties to totally check the functionality of the most recent fashionable drives:

  • The Complete Gadget Power Benchmark makes use of a wide-ranging set of real-world strains from in style packages and commonplace duties to totally check the functionality of the quickest fashionable drives. It comes to a complete of 204 GB of write site visitors.
  • The Fast Gadget Power Benchmark is a shorter check with a smaller set of much less tough real-world strains. It topics the tool to 23 GB of writes.
  • The Knowledge Power Benchmark is designed to check drives which are used for storing information reasonably than packages. Those most often come with NAS drives, USB sticks, reminiscence playing cards, and different exterior garage gadgets. The tool is subjected to fifteen GB of writes.
  • The Power Efficiency Consistency Take a look at is a long-running and very tough check with a heavy, steady load for professional customers. In-depth reporting displays how the functionality of the power varies underneath other stipulations. This writes greater than 23 TB of information to the power.

Regardless of the knowledge power benchmark showing most fitted for checking out direct-attached garage, we decide to run the total gadget power benchmark as a part of our analysis glide. Many people use moveable flash drives as boot drives and garage for Steam video games. A majority of these use-cases are addressed best within the complete gadget power benchmark.

The Complete Gadget Power Benchmark incorporates of 23 other strains. For the aim of presenting effects, we classify them underneath 5 other classes:

  • Boot: Replay of garage get admission to hint recorded whilst booting Home windows 10
  • Inventive: Replay of garage get admission to strains recorded all the way through the beginning up and utilization of Adobe packages equivalent to Acrobat, After Results, Illustrator, Premiere Professional, Lightroom, and Photoshop.
  • Administrative center: Replay of garage get admission to strains recorded all the way through using Microsoft Administrative center packages equivalent to Excel and Powerpoint.
  • Gaming: Replay of garage get admission to strains recorded all the way through the beginning up of video games equivalent to Battlefield V, Name of Accountability Black Ops 4, and Overwatch.
  • Document Transfers: Replay of garage get admission to strains (Write-Handiest, Learn-Write, and Learn-Handiest) recorded all the way through the switch of information equivalent to ISOs and images.

PCMark 10 additionally generates an total rating, bandwidth, and moderate latency quantity for fast comparability of various drives. The sub-sections in the remainder of the web page reference the get admission to strains specified within the PCMark 10 Technical Information.

Booting Home windows 10

The read-write bandwidth recorded for every power within the boo get admission to hint is gifted under.

Windows 10 Boot

Being restricted via the scale and interface pace, the Home windows 10 booting bandwidth involves round 30 MBps – certainly higher than conventional arduous disks, however no longer just right sufficient to compare entry-level moveable SSDs.

Inventive Workloads

The read-write bandwidth recorded for every power within the sacr, saft, sill, spre, slig, sps, aft, exc, sick, ind, psh, and psl get admission to strains are introduced under.

Startup - Adobe Acrobat

Regardless of its restricted capability and upstream interface, the bandwidth numbers recorded for the ingenious workloads virtually fit the low-end XS2000 moveable SSD on the 500GB capability level. Then again, it is going with out announcing that moveable SSDs are most well-liked to UFDs for most of these workloads.

Administrative center Workloads

The read-write bandwidth recorded for every power within the exc and pow get admission to strains are introduced under.

Usage - Microsoft Excel

The numbers aren’t favorable to the UFD, with the pow get admission to hint appearing an enormous functionality deficit in comparison to the exc workload.

Gaming Workloads

The read-write bandwidth recorded for every power within the bf, cod, and ow get admission to strains are introduced under.

Startup - Battlefield V

UFDs are ill-suited for loading up video games, and the numbers above ascertain the similar. Even entry-level moveable SSDs and high-end thumb drives just like the Kingston DT Max can give 3x to 4x the functionality – all at the price of compactness and value.

Recordsdata Switch Workloads

The read-write bandwidth recorded for every power within the cp1, cp2, cp3, cps1, cps2, and cps3 get admission to strains are introduced under.

Duplicating ISOs (Read-Write)

The Recordsdata Switch workloads are the place the Samsung MUF-256DA springs a marvel. It frequently surpasses the 500GB model of the Kingston XS2000 in more than one elements. Given the cost and measurement of the UFD, and the truth that those are meant to be the main use-case for the tool, it’s commendable.

General Rankings

PCMark 10 experiences an total rating in response to the seen bandwidth and get admission to instances for the total workload set. The rating, bandwidth, and moderate get admission to latency for every of the drives are introduced under.

Full System Drive Benchmark Bandwidth (MBps)

UFDs with local flash controllers and restricted channel rely are frequently hampered in relation to talent to ship excessive bandwidth and reduce latency. This sub-section confirmed the Samsung MUF-256DA appearing neatly in its meant use-cases, however the total rating is pulled low because of its habits in gaming and inventive workloads.

Miscellaneous Sides and Concluding Remarks

The functionality of the garage bridges / drives in quite a lot of real-world get admission to strains in addition to artificial workloads used to be introduced out within the previous sections. We additionally regarded on the functionality consistency for those instances. Energy customers can also be eager about functionality consistency underneath worst-case stipulations, in addition to power chronic intake. The latter could also be essential when used with battery powered gadgets equivalent to notebooks and smartphones. Pricing could also be a very powerful facet. We analyze every of those intimately under.

Worst-Case Efficiency Consistency

Flash-based garage gadgets have a tendency to decelerate in unpredictable tactics when topic to a lot of small-sized random writes. Many benchmarks use that scheme to pre-condition gadgets previous to the real checking out with a view to get a worst-case consultant quantity. Thankfully, such workloads are unusual for direct-attached garage gadgets, the place workloads are in large part sequential in nature. Use of SLC caching in addition to firmware caps to stop overheating would possibly reason drop in write speeds when a flash-based DAS tool is topic to sustained sequential writes.

Our Sequential Writes Efficiency Consistency Take a look at configures the tool as a uncooked bodily disk (after deleting configured volumes). A fio workload is about as much as write sequential information to the uncooked power with a block measurement of 128K and iodepth of 32 to hide 90% of the power capability. The interior temperature is recorded (if supported) at both finish of the workload, whilst the immediate write information charge and cumulative general write information quantity are recorded at 1-second durations.

Sequential Writes to 90% Capability – Efficiency Consistency

UFDs and entry-level moveable SSDs are frequently sufferers of the SLC caching cliff state of affairs. They begin off with excessive switch speeds, however drop right down to direct-to-TLC speeds after the cache runs out. The issue may also be observed in each the Kingston DT Max and XS2000 samples above. Underneath sustained load, the DT Max 1TB variant drops right down to round 50 MBps, whilst the XS2000 500GB fares reasonably worse than that (more than likely restricted via selection of parallel flash cube too). Distinction that with the functionality of the Samsung MUF-256DA : Whilst the highest pace is proscribed to round 100 MBps, the UFD manages to stay it round that mark via sustained loading for nearly the entire capability of the power.

Energy Intake

Bus-powered gadgets can configure themselves to function inside the chronic supply constraints of the host port. Whilst Thunderbolt ports are assured to provide as much as 15W for shopper gadgets, USB 2.0 ports are assured to ship best 4.5W (900mA @ 5V). On this context, it’s fascinating to have a fine-grained take a look at the facility intake profile of the quite a lot of exterior drives. The usage of the Plugable USBC-TKEY, the bus chronic intake of the drives used to be tracked whilst processing the CrystalDiskMark workloads (separated via 5s durations). The graphs under plot the immediate bus chronic intake in opposition to time, whilst singling out the utmost and minimal chronic intake numbers.

CrystalDiskMark Workloads – Energy Intake

Absolutely the chronic numbers are the bottom for the Samsung MUF-256DA, as anticipated (the capability / selection of flash cube is decrease, and the speeds also are restricted via the USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface). The height is available in at 1.66W (in comparison to 3.26W for the XS2000 and three.05W for the DT Max). Then again, one facet we want to see the MUF-256DA reinforce upon is the power to visit a deep sleep state. Each the Kingston drives can drop right down to sub-1mW after idling for round 20 mins, however the Samsung UFD helps to keep draining round 0.4W during.

Concluding Remarks

The fast developments in flash era have made moveable SSDs into an enormous product class over the previous few years. Those tendencies have additionally no longer left the ever present UFD (USB flash power) in the back of. Whilst local USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 flash controllers have enabled blistering speeds in high-end UFDs such because the Kingston DT Max lately, Samsung’s MUF-256DA USB Kind-C Flash Power has additionally proven that there’s a price proposition in turning in a compact UFD that shows functionality consistency with out breaking the financial institution. To reach this, Samsung has saved the BOM value low via stepping into for the legacy 5 Gbps interface (USB 3.2 Gen 1) and restricting write speeds to round 100 MBps. This has additionally allowed the thermal design some leeway.

The Samsung MUF sequence of USB Kind-C flash drives is available in 3 capacities – 64GB (MSRP of $13, side road worth of $12), 128GB (MSRP of $23, side road worth of $23), and 256GB (MSRP of $40, side road worth of $40). The Kind-C port and compact nature permit the UFD for use seamlessly with any fashionable Kind-C-equipped smartphone or pill supporting OTG garage (permitting the UFD to enter a deep sleep state after a bit of of idling would have made it much more horny). The Kingston DT Max is an alternate with higher marketed functionality numbers on the 256GB capability level. Then again, its construct is flimsier and it’s not as rugged because the Samsung MUF sequence in the case of withstanding put on and tear from common use. From a pricing standpoint, the Kingston DT Max 256GB is available in at $47. For the cost top rate and the bigger bodily footprint, the DT Max supplies a lot upper burst functionality. Then again, the Samsung wrests again the merit in eventualities the place functionality consistency underneath sustained load is essential. It’s uncommon for a compact UFD to ship on that premise, however this is precisely what Samsung has finished with the solidly-built MUF sequence.

Supply Through