Comparing diskperformance between my laptops

Posted on Sun 28 March 2021 in linux, apple

Intro

Last week I was executing some disk performance measurements for a client. As part of the session I tested my Macbook and a Dell XPS laptop. The results seemed to indicate the Dell XPS outperforming the Macbook. As the laptops were only tested for comparison, I left it at that for the moment.

But I was keen to find out which laptop had the best performing disk in a comparable test. So I took the time to run a couple tests using fio. The tests were performed while the laptops were plugged into a power source, to prevent performance hits caused by powermanagement.

Tested setups

For this session I tested the following setups:

  • Dell XPS 9570 with 512 nvme and 64 GB RAM, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8
  • Macbook Pro 2018 i7 with 1 TB nmve and 32 GB RAM, Big Sur
  • Macbook Pro 2020 i9 with 1 TB vnme and 32 GB RAM, Big Sur

Testtool

The tests were ran with fio 3.26 on Macos and 3.19 on RHEL8.

Single 4KiB random write process

fio --name=random-write --ioengine=posixaio --rw=randwrite --bs=4k --size=4g --numjobs=1 --iodepth=1 --runtime=60 --time_based --end_fsync=1

MBP 2018

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
  WRITE: bw=293MiB/s (307MB/s), 293MiB/s-293MiB/s (307MB/s-307MB/s), io=19.2GiB (20.6GB), run=67192-67192msec

MBP 2020

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
  WRITE: bw=223MiB/s (234MB/s), 223MiB/s-223MiB/s (234MB/s-234MB/s), io=19.4GiB (20.9GB), run=88998-88998msec

Dell XPS 9570

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
  WRITE: bw=534MiB/s (560MB/s), 534MiB/s-534MiB/s (560MB/s-560MB/s), io=32.4GiB (34.8GB), run=62076-62076msec

Single 1MiB random write process

fio --name=random-write --ioengine=posixaio --rw=randwrite --bs=1m --size=16g --numjobs=1 --iodepth=1 --runtime=60 --time_based --end_fsync=1

MBP 2018

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
  WRITE: bw=1180MiB/s (1237MB/s), 1180MiB/s-1180MiB/s (1237MB/s-1237MB/s), io=73.0GiB (78.4GB), run=63376-63376msec

MBP 2020

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
  WRITE: bw=1490MiB/s (1562MB/s), 1490MiB/s-1490MiB/s (1562MB/s-1562MB/s), io=87.4GiB (93.9GB), run=60083-60083msec

Dell XPS 9570

Run status group 0 (all jobs):
  WRITE: bw=695MiB/s (728MB/s), 695MiB/s-695MiB/s (728MB/s-728MB/s), io=58.6GiB (62.0GB), run=86443-86443msec

Ah shit, it depends

After running the first test, it seemed the older MPB and the Dell outperformed the 2020 Macbook Pro. But then the second test seems to indicate the opposite. So it depends on the workload. And checking real world performance is a lot more complicated then just running fio. Well, at least I can hang onto my Macbook for now. I was worried for a moment that the Dell would outperform the Macbooks in all the tests, but this just isn't the case :-)

References

The tests ran were taken from an ARS technica article https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/02/how-fast-are-your-disks-find-out-the-open-source-way-with-fio/