SSD Storage Review Format and Methodology


This article is intended to detail review format and methodology for reviewing SSDs and other similar storage devices.  Our goal is to maintain consistency, repeatability, accuracy and allow data to be compared in each review. 

Ultimately our plan is to build a database of benchmarks so that you can compare the results between SSDs and storage devices.  In order to accomplish this, our format and methodologies must be standardized.  This standardization must be adhered to from the handling of the hardware installation, down to the software and settings.

Before we dive into the format, know that we accept any type of SSD for review.  From PCIe to SATA, to M.2 to 2.5” and any other interface and protocol introduced. You can check out our catalog of storage reviews here.    

The Test Bench – The Heart of the Operation

It all starts at the hardware, and since we are very hardware-oriented enthusiasts here at this is where we will start.  The test bench will remain standardized, and consistent.  Every SSD and storage device will be tested on this exact same test system.  We are aware that any major changes to the test system could affect results.

ASUS TUF GAMING X570-Plus Wi-Fi motherboard top view

Our test bench consists of an ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI) motherboard.  This is an AMD X570 chipset motherboard that supports PCI-Express 4.0 x4 on both of its M.2 slots, M.2_1 and M.2_2.  The M.2_2 slot pulls its lanes from the X570 chipset, but it can fully run at Gen 4×4 speeds as it supports PCIe 4.0 x4 mode.  It can also support RAID.  It has 8 SATA 6Gb/s ports for testing SATA drives. 

For our CPU we are using an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X Zen 2 CPU.  This CPU fully supports PCI-Express 4.0.  Being very multi-threaded will also reduce any chance for any background processes affecting results.   Cooling the CPU is handled by an NZXT Kraken X63 AIO.  RAM is handled by 16GB DDR4 G.SKILL Trident Z Neo running at DOCP 3600MHz. 

The Power Supply is a Seasonic PRIME 850 Titanium SSR-850TR 850W 80+ Titanium.  It is very efficient and reliable.  We have an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition video card used for the display.

We run a SAMSUNG 860 EVO 2TB SATA SSD as the primary boot drive containing Windows and all the benchmarks. 

All of this hardware sits atop a Primochill Praxis WetBenchSX Pro Flat Edition review station in an open-air environment.  We also have a 120mm case fan attached to the optional fan mount bracket arm that allows us to position a case fan directly over the SSD as needed.  In this way, we can directly cool the SSD with a fan if needed.  It can be swiveled out of the way to remove airflow from the SSD. We can control how the SSD is cooled.

Software Configuration

Software configuration is just as important as hardware.  We run Windows 10 Pro with the latest updates and releases.  All drivers are kept up to date, which the AMD Chipset driver version is of the utmost importance to maintain the best I/O performance.  We also keep our benchmarking software up to date.

We have configured Windows so that background apps are disabled and we have custom configured privacy and other settings to remove as much garbage from running in the background. 

We have enabled the “High Performance” power profile in Windows.

We use Active KillDisk to allow us to use Secure Erase and Secure Wipe on SSDs.  We also run the TRIMM command after every benchmark.

Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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