How are the Super Speed (SS) SSDs different? (HP Spectre Folio)

Discussion in 'Hewlett Packard' started by Billy Cantor, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. Billy Cantor

    Billy Cantor Pen Pal - Newbie

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    On page 1 (PDF page 9) of the HP Spectre Folio's maintenance manual, it says that the 1TB and 2TB SSD options are "Super Speed" SSDs.
    http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c06161497

    Is there an actual difference in speed between the 512GB and 1TB version? Enough to warrant an upgrade?

    And do they take more power? Or are they more energy efficient because (i.e. do they use a similar amount of power when active...but complete their work quicker)?
     
  2. gamefoo21

    gamefoo21 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Even if the drives are the same models the 1TB drives will often be quite a bit quicker than the 512GB drives. This difference is becoming more pronounced as flash density climbs. On TLC you can have 512GB running on 4 chips, so 4 channels but you double that for 1TB, so the controller can run faster longer. In benchmarking and heavy disk usage scenarios you can see a difference. Speed does cost power though.

    One thing to pay attention to is the type of flash the drive is listed as using. It generally goes like the following for speed, reliability and power use...

    MLC > TLC > QLC
    2 bit > 3 bit > 4 bit per cell

    The use more power, as they get slower.

    Maintenance manual is a bit useless here, you want the Quick specs document for the Folio.. HP is pretty good about putting the drive speeds in it for each drive option.
     
  3. Billy Cantor

    Billy Cantor Pen Pal - Newbie

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    According to HP, all the drives are TLC. But the 1TB and 2TB options are "SuperSpeed" (although there is no description of what that means; there are no real specs sheets I can find for this computer and the specs I have found don't even say TLC vs MLC).

    Do you think the 1TB drives are more power hungry than the 512GB drives? I was hoping they were less power hungry, since faster access times might use less energy overall.

    I really appreciate your expertise?
     
  4. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...the 1TB and 2TB options are "SuperSpeed" (although there is no description of what that means...>>

    HP is good about offering a variety of options for their devices, but they are not very good about explaining the differences so that buyers can make an informed choice. Fortunately, at least in recent times, HP has been good about creating documentation, and as @gamefoo21 suggests, you can frequently discover important details by doing a literature search at the HP web site for the product in question. A quick search for Folio documentation doesn't seem to shed any light on your Super Speed question, but you may be able to find answers in documentation for related products such as other Spectre laptops or stand-alone storage modules.

    Without anything specific to go on, I would guess that HP's Super Speed moniker is just that; a name to hype the speed of contemporary PCIe NVME SSDs. I would also guess that the installed performance of any of these SSDs is probably more of a function of the motherboard and processor than the SSDs own native speed.

    Bottom line, buy a PCIe NVME SSD in the size that you think you need and don't spend much time worrying about nuances of read / write times or impacts on battery operating time...
     
  5. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...the 1TB and 2TB options are "SuperSpeed" (although there is no description of what that means...>>

    This may not be much help, but this excerpt from a ZBook X2 technical white paper probably characterizes the Super Speed SSD performance that HP is talking about:

    SSD Data.jpg

    Capture.JPG

    I've updated this post with an enlarged image of the graph so that it's readable. Note that MLC reads clock in at about 3200 Mbps while TLC clocks in at about 2700 Mbps. MLC writes appear to be about 2000 Mbps while TLC is 1400 Mbps. Also, note the URL at the end of the first image for a reference document.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  6. Billy Cantor

    Billy Cantor Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the additional link; I really appreciate the help.

    In this image, the ZBook X2 uses TLC and MLC drives (with MLC being the "performance" option).

    With the Spectre Folio, both the "regular" and "SuperSpeed" drives are TLC. Sorry, when I said that HP doesn't say "TLC or MLC" in the specs, I meant the spec sheets. The maintenance guide actually does say "TLC" on all of them.

    For the 1TB and 2TB options: "NVMe SuperSpeed (SS) solid-state drive with TLC"
    For the 256GB and 512GB options: "NVMe solid-state drive with TLC"
     
  7. gamefoo21

    gamefoo21 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    On certain systems the Turbo/Super drive label is locked to MLC. On the sort of lower end, the label gets put onto drives that hit a certain performance threshold.

    A 2TB performance TLC NVME drive with the same chipset and pcie links available, will absolutely crush a 512GB MLC drive.

    I haven't found anything on how HP defines the Z Turbo Drive levels, but they do tend have qualifiers like DS, 4X, and SS stuck on the end. The Z Turbo Drive badging is all about making speed easy.

    Something to note...

    256GB TLC is no good. It's just not big enough, 512 GB TLC at the minimum and try to keep the drive below 80% full.
     
  8. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    @Billy Cantor : Found the following at a retail website. Comparing this to the ZBook X2 figure in Post # 5, it looks like HP has raised current generation TLC read / write speeds to about the same level claimed for previous generation MLC. I guess you could call that "Super Speed"...

    HP EX920 1TB NVMe SSD features:

    • M.2 2280, HP controller offering with 8 flash memory channels that support PCIe 3.0 x4 and NVMe 1.3
    • Sequential Read/Write Speeds up to 3,200 MBps / 1,800 MBps
    • An industry top leading Reliability (MTBF) 2M hours, and Endurance (TBW) up to 400 TBW
    • Higher Order LDPC Error Correction for high speed parallel decoding and real time error correction to ensure data integrity and security
    PS: I'll try to fix Post # 5 so that the graph is readable. It looked OK on my 4k monitor last night, but not so good this morning on a lesser monitor...
     
  9. Billy Cantor

    Billy Cantor Pen Pal - Newbie

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    That's excellent info, Steve. Thanks!
     
  10. gamefoo21

    gamefoo21 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I wanted to make an addition, which I missed is to do with flash reliability and speed.

    With flash you should always try to go bigger not just for speed but data reliability. When a cell in NAND is written to, it's a cycle, to rewrite that cell it has to be reset first then written to. The more cycles a NAND cell is put through, the more power it takes, the slower it is, and the less time the cell can reliably retain data.

    Generally speaking the following applies...

    MLC is generally rated for 5000 writes.
    TLC has gotten better and it's somewhere around 3000 writes.
    QLC is currently around 1000 writes.

    Sadly consumers demand mire space for less money. So consumer level drives have basically ended up with almost no extra space. An example is my Adata SX8200 NP 480GB, it has 512GB of flash but it's hard partitioned so the 32GB is reserved for wear balancing, bad cell replacement, etc. The new version is the SX8200 PNP at 512GB of available capacity. Enterprise drives use massive amounts of locked off flash, like you'll get a 240GB drive with 360GB of flash on the drive. You get more space but at a cost to performance and drive life. The enterprise drive can basically run full and experience very little performance difference, on a current mid or low end consumer drive, the performance drops off a cliff.

    The issue is that due to technical reasons the drive can't use any partitioned space for wear leveling. Luckily for us drive firmware is rather dumb in a sense, that we can over-partition ourselves and create a more reliable and more stable performing drive.

    Windows or decent partitioning software can shrink the partitions on the drive. You take the MB of reported drive size and decide on the level of over-partitioning you desire using the 512GB drive as an example, with TLC I tend to prefer to go with about 20% but I don't mind sacrificing some space. The SX8200 NP above is factory OP at 6%, I would suggest 10% as a minimum.

    I use 20% for TLC because it's around 80% full the drives start shedding performance, at 90% its very pronounced. My SX8200NP 480GB is now faster in benches than stock, and runs cooler too which is a handy perk. I added 14% of OP to the 6% factory and ended up with a measurably better 410GB drive.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019

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