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Front-end dev generally involves high read-write throughput and compiling hundreds or thousands of small files regularly. I'm trying to figure out which SSDs are fastest at that sort of workload (it's not often any of the files will be over 1Mb).

I'll be using Visual Studio, Code, Node, NPM etc.

Can anyone explain what features I should be looking for in the new SSD?

Note: I've read dozens of SSD benchmarks and most seem to have a low MB/s thoughput (~80Mb/s) when dealing with smaller files.

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  • Do you have a budget? RAM Disks are usually much faster than high end NAND and other nonvolatile solid state storage, which are still an order of magnitude faster platter drives. Random throughput is typically lower, as they are limited by IOPS. – timuzhti Oct 31 '16 at 12:28
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    So are you saying that you want an SSD with the fastest random read/write speed? Your post would be much simplified if you simply stated this. – Rubydesic Nov 2 '16 at 21:30
  • Also, are you looking for a specific interface? Capacity? – NZKshatriya Nov 3 '16 at 14:48
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Here's a link with some good charts for identifying which SSD has better 4k random read/writes.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8216/samsung-ssd-850-pro-128gb-256gb-1tb-review-enter-the-3d-era/10

It looks like the Samsung SSD 850 Pro would be your best bet at 106 MB. The same brand/model just with 512GB of storage instead is at 103 Mb.

Doing dev work with files just 4kb in size is really not a fair test. Sure, not alot of files are 1MB but there are TONS of 100kb files and more. The 128kb file testing may be a better performance measure for you. However, at that testing level it may be that you are just splitting hairs.

I use my SSD for Ruby on Rails dev work along with HTML5 dev and some online code editors as well running on RAID arrays and found not much difference locally.

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Edit: 11/03/2016 As interface and capacity are not detailed as of yet:

For m.2 PCIe: SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 512GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4

  1. Max Sequential Read Up to 2500 MBps

  2. Max Sequential Write: Up to 1500 MBps

  3. 4KB Random Read Up to 300,000 IOPS (4KB, QD32) Up to 12,000 IOPS (4KB, QD1)

  4. 4KB Random Write Up to 110,000 IOPS (4KB, QD32) Up to 43,000 IOPS (4KB, QD1)

  5. MTBF 1,500,000 hours

For m.2 SATA III: SAMSUNG 850 EVO M.2 500GB SATA III

  1. Max Sequential Read Up to 540 MBps
  2. Max Sequential Write Up to 500 MBps
  3. 4KB Random Read Up to 97,000 IOPS
  4. 4KB Random Write Up to 89,000 IOPS

For 2.5" SATA III: As has been mentioned already: SAMSUNG 850 PRO 2.5 256GB

  1. Max Sequential Read Up to 550 MBps
  2. Max Sequential Write Up to 520 MBps
  3. 4KB Random Read Up to 100,000 IOPS
  4. 4KB Random Write Up to 90,000 IOPS
  5. MTBF 2,000,000 hours

For PCIe x16 with no restraints on budget: Intel 910 Series Solid-State Drive 800 GB

  1. Max Sequential Read Up to 2 GB/s
  2. Max Sequential Write Up to 1 GB/s
  3. 4KB Random Read Up to 180,000 IOPS
  4. 4KB Random Write Up to 75,000 IOPS
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  • Thanks. I'm really trying to understand what & why I should be choosing particular features of an SSD. I can see benchmarks with terms like 4K, Queue depth etc. and am trying to understand the relative importance of these features. – Astravagrant Nov 1 '16 at 10:18
  • Thanks, @NZKshatriya. I've bought mine now (Samsung 960 Pro 512GB), but it would be very useful to explain in your answer how the different benchmarks affect real-world (i.e. Developer) experience. For instance, Johnny Burst's answer mentions that 128Kb benchmarks are better suited for developer file usage (given a lot of front-end dependencies are well over 4Kb). – Astravagrant Nov 7 '16 at 13:14
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... compiling hundreds or thousands of small files regularly. I'm trying to figure out which SSDs are fastest at that sort of workload (it's not often any of the files will be over 1Mb).

An Intel Optane 900P Series SSD (for a consumer drive at reasonable prices).

Consider all your options:

  • Buy more memory. 16 gigabytes / 1 megabyte = 16,000.

    If you only have 16 GB (or 8GB) of memory then buying more memory would be a good investment. Reading a file, even from a harddrive, is fairly quick; it's the conversion from text to assembly language and opcodes that takes processing effort, reading the files from memory is very fast.

    More memory allows more space to do the operations necessary to compile the source and allows for a larger swap file, staving off the need to fetch from storage.

    It also allows more breathing room for your program to execute and to have additional necessary programs running, speaking of which, close unnecessary programs during compilation.

  • Any SSD will be much faster than a harddrive. You can buy an inexpensive and small SSD and be better off than using a harddrive for storage.

    A 250 GB SSD will hold your operating system, a couple of games, your compiler toolchain and plenty of source code. You can use your old harddrive as a secondary drive and to backup your SSD.

    Exactly which one to choose is mostly a matter of availability and price. A lot of what you are doing when writing the source code will involve very little disk activity. Once you get to the compilation that will involve reading the file, making many calculations as to how to optimize the output, and finally writing out the object file.

    If you have lots of existing source code that you want to compile and intend to spend next to no time writing then the need for faster storage becomes a consideration.

It depends on what you will be spending most of your time doing, arguably a CPU upgrade might be a greater benefit than memory.

But let's assume you have gone through the above considerations and crunched the numbers, you want your question answered, as written.

  • An Intel Optane SSD 900P Series (280GB, AIC PCIe x4, 3D XPoint) for approximately U$250 will provide an enormous speedup; above and beyond other SSDs.

You could:

AnandTech's conclusion is: the Optane is the fastest and most expensive, the not yet available M.2 version of the SZ985 is untested and an unknown price (expected to be comparable to an Optane and less expensive), the Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series will either save you money or gain you 4x the capacity for equal money, and the least expensive HP EX920 isn't far behind (or poor quality) and will save you U$100.

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