2x Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB SATA3 2.5" SSD RAID Review

The introduction ...

SSD too slow ?
Today we test two 60GB SSDs in a RAID 0 array.
Recently we tested one Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB SATA3 SSD, which could not reach the top performance of the so far on ocinside.de tested SSDs.
Now we will test two of these SSDs in RAID 0 at a SATA3 controller to compare the Solid State Drive Striping against the previously tested SSDs.

 

 

 

Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks to Caseking.de for the support with the Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB 2.5" SSD.

One Mach Xtreme MX-DS Fusion 60GB SATA3 2.5" SSD MXSSD3MDSF-60G has at present a price of approx. 100 Euro (05/2012).

The MX DS Fusion SSD 2.5-inch series contains at present the following types:
Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB MXSSD3MDST-60G
Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 120GB MXSSD3MDSF-120G
Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 240GB MXSSD3MDST-240G
Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 480GB MXSSD3MDST-480G
The performance of these Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion SSD Series with SF2281 controller does not alter depending on the capacities like e.g. the previously tested Crucial C300 or Crucial m4.
So also the smallest 60GB SSD RAID0 has already a high read and write performance.

Here you can buy the Mach Xtreme Technology SSD for a low price.

 

 

The supply of both Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB SATA3 SSDs ...

Here are the cardboard boxes of the MX-DS Fusion SSD from Mach Xtreme Technology, whereby our test samples were labled as "DS Turbo" on the front of the box:

 

 

That is contained ...

Mach Xtreme Technology delivered the DS Fusion 2.5" SSD well protected in this packing:

 

Here is a picture of both Mach Xtreme Technology DS Fusion 60GB SSD front surfaces:

 

One the back side one can see the full order number MXSSD3MDSF-60G and the SATA3 connectors for data and power on the left.
The SATA3 connectors are identical to conventional SATA2 and SATA3 hard disk drives, so one can also operate the SATA3 SSD with lower speed at a SATA2 interface.
We tested the two SSDs at a SATA3 controller:

 

Here you can see the SandForce 2281 controller IC and eight Intel 29F64G08AAME1 25nm Intel 25nm Multi Level Cell NAND components of one SATA3 SSD with each 8GB capacity to reach a total capacity of 64GB or 60GB without overprovisioning:

 

Here is once again a picture of the important SandForce 2281 controller IC with the excact name SF-2281VB1-SDC:

 

The flipside looks very empty on this 60GB SSD RAID0 contrary to a 120GB SSD:

 

 

The technical data ...

Manufacturer Mach Xtreme Technology
Article number MXSSD3MDSF-60G
Capacity 60GB
Interface SATA3 6GB/s
Cache -
Controller Sandforce 2281
Flash Type Intel MLC - Multi-Level-Cell
Size 2.5" (99.8 x 69.63 x 9.3mm)
Weight 80 gramm
Speed Read up to 530 MB/s / Write up to 490 MB/s
Seek Time <0.1
Power Consumption 1.6 Watt idle / 2.8 Watt in operation
MTBF 2 million hours
Other TRIM Support, GC Support, Hot Plug Support

 

 

SSD firmware update ...

We update the firmware of the SSDs before we begin with the tests.
That is especially meaningful with the SSD with Sandforce 2281 controller, since there are clear performance improvements with newer firmware versions.
The SSD was delivered with the firmware version 3.30.
To the point of testing time, Mach Xtreme Technology offered the version 3.32, which we updated with the MX DS Field Updater.

 

RAID Setup ...

The RAID installation is essentially quite simple:
- first attach both SSD drives at a RAID capable controller e.g. on the motherboard.
- then enable the RAID controller in the BIOS or by a Jumper (pay attention to additional references in the manual) and change the SATA controller in the BIOS from IDE or AHCI to RAID.
- at the next start enter now the RAID BIOS with the explained key combination (ASRock e.g. CTRL+F).
- there activate the desired RAID assignment.

In order to explain only two simple RAID array type possibilities (there are still some further combinations):
RAID1 mirror drives, in order to operate two or more drives at the expense of the size as much fail safe as possible reduntant.
RAID0 stripe drives, in order to operate two or more drives at the expense of the data loss possibility with higher performance, thus without redundancy.

Since we would like to reach a higher SSD speed, we setup a RAID-0 Striping.
First with a Stripe block size of 64KB and then again in comparison to it with a Stripe block size of 128KB.
Gigabyte Boundary remains on ON, Fast Init remains on ON and Cache Mode on WriteThru.

Here is a screenshot of the RAID BIOS ROM, where both 64 GB SSD drives are combined with RAID0 into one 128 GB SSD logical drive, in order to achieve a higher performance:

 

After creating the RAID array we restart the PC and see now the new logical drive assembly, to which we assigned the LD name ocinside, which we can partition and format now in the Windows like a conventional drive.

 

 

Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue with the benchmark results.
The SATA3 drives are currently tested with an ASRock 890GX Extreme3 motherboard.
At present, Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition is used as the operating system.

The SSD drive speed was examined and compared with the following benchmark software:

AS SSD Benchmark 1.4.3704.27281 - Download
ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46 - Download

For the RAID test, first we tested as comparison a benchmark of one SSD without RAID 0 array at the RAID controller, then two SSDs were tested as RAID0 with 64KB block size at the RAID controller and then again two SSDs were tested at the RAID controller as RAID0 with 128KB block size.
In order to get a somewhat better overview, in this RAID test we skip the other benchmark tests, which we use additionally for the SSD reviews at ocinside.de.

 

AS SSD benchmark result ...

The SSD benchmark values offers a very good reference point of the maximal possible reading and writing performance, the speed with smaller files and the respective access time.

In RAID mode the SSD reached like the previously tested SSDs in IDE mode a much slower performance as in AHCI mode.
The maximum transfer rate of the Serial ATA 2.0 interface was not exceeded with approximately 186,39 MB/s, so that a SATA3 interface would not be necessary for this benchmark.
The write performance in RAID mode reached slow 56,28 MB/s.
In comparison to this value, the Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB reached in AHCI mode a read performance of 198,90 MB/s and a write performace of 73,24 MB/s (see Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB single test).

So in RAID mode the MX-DS Fusion reached with these values a total score of 196 points and in comparison to this the score in AHCI mode was about 268 points.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3, 1x SSD at RAID controller):

 

The overall capacity of the RAID0 array remains approximately at the 2x 60 GB, thus approx. 120 GB (117,34GB with 64KB and 119,13GB with 128KB block), but the performance increases clearly and that is exactly what we wanted to reach.

In RAID 0 with 64KB block size the two Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS fusion 60GB SSDs reached approximately a read value of 350,11 MB/s and a write value of 114,51 MB/s.
The benchmark values are thereby almost twice as high as the values of one single SSD.

As RAID 0 the total score of the two MX-DS Fusion reached with these values 333 points, in comparison to this the score of an ADATA S511 120GB in IDE mode was 311 points and in AHCI mode it was 488 points and the so far fastest Crucial m4 256GB SSD reached in IDE mode 325 points and in AHCI mode about 530 points.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3, 2x SSD at RAID controller as RAID0 64KB):

 

In RAID 0 with 128KB blocksize both Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB SSDs reached a bit slower results but at a higher total capacity of 119,13 GB instead of 117,34 GB at 64 KB block size.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3, 2x SSD at RAID controller as RAID0 128KB):

 

In order to get an impression of the speed, here is another Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD copy benchmark (SATA3, 1x SSD at RAID controller):

 

Also the AS SSD copy benchmark values of both SSD in RAID 0 are nearly twice as fast as one single SSD (SATA3, 2x SSD at RAID controller as RAID0 128KB):

 

With the AS SSD Copy-Benchmark results is the block size of 128KB only at the ISO measurement a bit higher as one ca see on the following screenshot (SATA3, 2x SSD at RAID controller as RAID0 128KB):

 

The comparison of the AS SSD benchmark results is extended with each new HDD/SSD test.
Here we see several SSDs in comparison to the Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB 2.5" SSD in IDE mode, in AHCI mode, in RAID mode and as RAID 0 array with 64KB and 128KB block size, whereby the diagram is updated frequently with new SSDs.
Currently, the Crucial m4 256GB SSD is at the to of all result, which offered in AHCI mode also a higher performance than the RAID0 array of both MX-DS Fusion 60GB SSDs at the SATA RAID controller.
Also the Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Turbo 120GB SSD reached a higher total result in AHCI mode.
But the two Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB SSD in RAID0 are much faster than previously tested SSDs in IDE mode.

Here is a comparison of the AS SSD benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

ATTO Disk benchmark result ...

The ATTO disk benchmark values gives a very good overview about the write and read rate on different file sizes.
These values are maximum ratings, which are different to the previously continuous transfer rate benchmarks.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the ATTO Disk benchmark values (SATA3, 1x SSD at RAID controller):

 

Both, the write performace (red) and the read performance (green) of the SSDs as RAID0 array are nearly twice as fast as the bandwidth of one single SSD at the RAID controller.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the ATTO Disk benchmark values (SATA3, 2x SSD at RAID controller as RAID0 64KB):

 

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the ATTO Disk benchmark values (SATA3, 2x SSD at RAID controller as RAID0 128KB):

 

These ATTO disk benchmark values are compared with a small transfer size of 32KB and a large transfer size of 8192KB.
The bar chart already shows a first comparison to a Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB hard disk drive, OCZ Agility 120GB SSD, Crucial 256GB C300 RealSSD and a few other SSDs, wherat both results of the two Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion in RAID0 reached the current top SSD results.

Here is a comparison of the ATTO disk benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:

 

 

Result and general impression ...

The two Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 2.5" 60GB SATA3 SSDs MXSSD3MDSF-60G achieved at the SATA3 port as RAID-0 array nearly twice as high performance as in single operation without AHCI and the to date highest maximum ratings in ATTO benchmark.

The two Mach Xtreme Technology MXSSD3MDSF-60G 60GB MLC Solid State Drive with SandForce controller and 25nm Intel NAND were tested in a RAID array and reached pairwise as expected the almost double transfer speed compared to one SSD with the same RAID controller.
The read and write performance burst values in ATTO benchmark reached the to-date best results.
But the continuously transfer rates in AS SSD clearly showed the disadvantages of the onboard SATA3 controller in RAID mode compared to the AHCI mode.
Because similar to the controller in IDE mode, the results decreased rapidly at the same controller in RAID mode and has additionally the same disadvantages as the IDE mode, like the older technology communicating in Windows like missing TRIM, GC, NCQ, Hotplug, etc.
And of course the risk of loosing the data by a possible mailfunction of one of both SSDs in RAID0 is twice as high.

Last but not least took the boot time with activated RAID BIOS approx. 20-30 seconds more than without RAID BIOS.
The Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate boot procedure from start screen to login screen was approx. 11 seconds and the Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate boot procedure including motherboard BIOS and RAID BIOS took approx. 45 seconds.

All in all is a RAID 0 array with two or more Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB SSDs only in some cases useful, even if e.g. the ATTO benchmark performance is nearly doubled.
As long as one backup all data frequently and do not allocate the full SSD capacity and is dissatisfied with the performance of one single SSD, one can take of course nevertheless advantages from the SSD RAID 0 setup.
Surely we will give shortly again a comparison to further Solid State Drives in RAID 0 at ocinside.de, because the highest performance at the lowest expenses is surely the goal of many readers.

 

Discuss in our forum and exchange experiences ...

Here you can buy the Mach Xtreme Technology SSD ...

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