UL Adds New Storage Benchmark to 3DMark Suite


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3DMark Storage Benchmark
3DMark Storage Benchmark

On Saturday, UL Benchmark added a new storage benchmark to its popular 3DMark benchmarking suite. Before 3DMark Storage Benchmark, users had to rely on either synthetic or single game benchmarks. This latest option now provides a range of real-world gaming performance by sampling multiple games and providing a much broader result. Users can then compare their results to others online. UL is currently offering its storage benchmark for $2.99 through Steam or the UL website for 3DMark Advanced Edition users or as a free upgrade for 3DMark Professional Edition users. For more information, continue reading UL’s press release below.

3DMark adds new SSD benchmark for gamers

For more than 20 years, 3DMark has been gamers’ first choice for benchmarking the latest graphics cards and processors.

Today, we’re taking ‘The Gamer’s Benchmark’ into a new area with the 3DMark Storage Benchmark, a dedicated component test for measuring the gaming performance of SSDs, hybrid drives, and other storage devices.

3DMark Storage Benchmark
3DMark Storage Benchmark

Introducing the 3DMark Storage Benchmark

With fast modern SSD storage, loading times are shorter, levels restart faster, and there are fewer interruptions to your gameplay. PC gamers can now choose from a wide range of high-performance storage options from the fastest PCI Express 4.0 and NVMe devices down to cheaper SATA SSDs and high-capacity hybrid drives.

Unfortunately, many of the tools for measuring storage performance were developed when HDDs were the most common drive type. And it’s hard to relate results from those synthetic benchmarks to real-world performance.

The 3DMark Storage Benchmark is a dedicated component test that measures the gaming performance of the fastest modern PC storage hardware. It supports all the latest storage technologies and focuses on practical, real-world gaming performance.

3DMark Storage Benchmark-Loading Screen
3DMark Storage Benchmark-Loading Screen

Real-world gaming performance

The problem with many storage tests is that they use artificial, synthetic workloads to measure performance under ideal conditions. Results from these tests are hard to relate to practical, everyday needs, which is why the 3DMark Storage Benchmark focuses on measuring real-world gaming performance.

Storage activity consists of input and output operations. It is possible to record these operations while the storage device is performing a task. These recordings are called traces.

The 3DMark Storage Benchmark uses traces recorded from popular games and gaming-related activities to measure real-world gaming performance, such as:

  • Loading Battlefield™ V from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Overwatch® from launch to the main menu.
  • Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch®.
  • Installing The Outer Worlds® from the Epic Games Launcher.
  • Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds®.
  • Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike®: Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
3DMark Storage Benchmark-Results Screen
3DMark Storage Benchmark-Results Screen

Compare the performance of the latest SSDs

The 3DMark Storage Benchmark is compatible with all modern storage devices and can be used to test both internal and external drives.

The test produces a 3DMark Storage Benchmark Score as a measure of performance. As usual with 3DMark, a higher score means better performance. Here are a few reference scores for context.

Storage device3DMark Storage Benchmark score
Intel® Optane™ SSD 900P 280 GB (PCI Express 3 M.2)4,241
Samsung® SSD 980 PRO 500 GB (PCI Express  4 M.2)2,854
WD_BLACK™ SN750 NVMe 500GB (PCI Express 3 M.2)2,014
Samsung® SSD 860 EVO 1 TB (SATA III)1,193

The test also produces bandwidth and average access time metrics. You can read more about the benchmark in the 3DMark technical guide.

Start testing SSD performance today

3DMark Advanced Edition

The 3DMark Storage Benchmark DLC, purchased separately, extends 3DMark with a dedicated test for benchmarking your SSD. The Storage Benchmark DLC is available now for USD $2.99 on Steam and the UL Benchmarks website.

3DMark Professional Edition

The 3DMark Storage Benchmark is available as a free update for 3DMark Profesisonal Edition customers with a valid annual license. Customers with an older, perpetual license will need to purchase an annual license to access the new test. Contact us for details.

 

-John Nester (Blaylock)

About John Nester 359 Articles
John started writing and reviewing PC components for Overclockers.com in 2015, but his passion for PCs dates all the way back to the early 1980s. His first personal computer was a Commodore 64 with a cassette drive. As a dedicated member of the news team, he focuses his articles on new product releases and software updates. He reviews a wide variety of PC components including chassis, storage drives, keyboards, and more. John works in technology as a C.A.D. designer for a major automotive manufacturer. His other passions in life include motorcycles, hunting, guns, and football.

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mackerel

Member

3,541 messages 121 likes

First a copy/paste where I put my thoughts on this elsewhere:

In concept it isn't bad. They took traces of accesses for several gaming scenarios to recreate on the test system. Apparently it needs a 30GB test file to work off, so it does kinda represent a porky game install. The headline output is a benchmark score, with detailed output of average transfer rate and access latency.

I'd be curious to see how it performs if it wasn't for one hurdle. This is a paid DLC to the paid 3DMark Advanced, which is probably the version enthusiasts most likely have as it is frequently on sale. While the cost is not huge, the main question is what value does it give? If you have the hardware already, you get a score and... then what? Unlike CPUs and GPUs, there's not really much you can do to overclock or otherwise improve performance of a SSD. Maybe if you're testing software caching strategies? That's a bit of a stretch. Or just checking system performance, but there are other ways to do that.

Also the headline score is an abstract value, and only useful if viewed in context of others. I also have to wonder, how the tests are weighted. For example, one is for recording gameplay via OBS. I do wonder if they would have been better to split scores into several sections, for example, loading time (probably most important generally), install time (mix of read/write and/or copy operations?), and game video capture as another output.

Benchmark wise, how much does it vary with the SSD itself, or does it get impacted by the rest of the system? If you use it to decide what to buy, then the reviewer will buy and use it.

I think this opens more questions than it answers. Think I'll stick to CrystalDiskMark as at least it is clear what the outputs are of that.

Some additional thoughts since then:

I have since looked at the technical description given for the bench, which partially answers the "what" but is still unconvincing in its relevancy.

I have seen some others have run it and report not a lot of disk activity going on, and getting low average transfer rates. Far lower than what the drives are capable of. This might be realistic in the sense that games may still be coded in a way that benefits HD owners, at the cost of SSD owners. I don't know how true that is today. For a slow storage device, CPU performance impact cost is lower than storage performance impact cost. For faster storage like a SSD, the CPU quickly becomes the limiting factor. The traces that were taken and used in the bench would probably have such limitations baked in. Then it is no longer that much of a SSD test. Well, a fast SSD might still perform better than a slower SSD or even HD, but we kinda already know that already. Does this bench rank SSDs in a gaming usage case better than other test tools?

I think that it isn't free to the masses will kill it off from much usage.

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Woomack

Benching Team Leader

12,328 messages 955 likes

So far it's crashing for me after about 70% pass with no clear info why. Clean OS/Win11, CPU at auto, RAM at XMP, M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD. This benchmark is really long and I have a limited time right now so will check it some other time.

Most of the tests are not meant to be used for masses and actually barely anyone is comparing that anymore. Overclockers community is getting smaller each year and I don't count all those who run 1 test per year and call themselves overclockers.

The idea of a storage benchmark based on games is actually good as there are no benchmarks like that and storage performance affects gaming much more than it used to be some years ago. I haven't seen how all test results look like so I can't say much about it. There are only two results that seem interesting and it's MB/s and access time. If there will be only some weird score then I won't use it as it's impossible to compare to daily usage.

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Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member

7,868 messages 564 likes

At $2.99 I believe that is a pretty small hurdle. I do agree that most users won't care about this or will run it one time to get the results and then forget about it. As far as the single score at the end, I view this the same as Anvil Storage Utility. Where Anvil produces a single synthetic score, 3DM SB generates a real-world single score. By no means should a potential buyer base their purchase based on one benchmark. This just gives reviewers another tool in the toolbox.

I also agree that the results from this bench should be broken down to the individual benches before tallying them up for the final score. This would help determine what area a drive may be lacking or excelling in.

If memory serves me correctly there was an older 3DMark that measured complete system performance. I hated that one because the storage area always dragged my final score down.

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EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner

74,582 messages 1,538 likes

Haven't touched it. Likely won't. There's other, better(?) tools out there.

I do like how it goes through several different scenarios though to test different things. Worth noting is that just because the drive isn't 'maxed out' doesn't mean the tests are bad or not doing enough. It's just the test and how the data is processed that determines what kind of load is on the device. For example, I know game loads don't slam the SSD to 100%. Perhaps other tests there are like that too? Not sure.

If you want to get a good idea of performance on your drive(s), I suggest looking at multiple tests. I use a combination of CDM and ATTO and get a mix of results in CDM and 'best case' (read: box specs) out of ATTO.

RE: a score, can't say I mind an all-ecompassing value at the end, but it would be nice to see the details, absolutely.

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Woomack

Benching Team Leader

12,328 messages 955 likes

Real-life results are almost always far from results in synthetic benchmarks. PCMark storage tests usually end at about 500MB/s on modern SSD, but this is random performance in some specific scenarios. The SSD can't make more in this scenario so it still runs at its maximum speed, just can't push as high as its specified maximum sequential bandwidth.
This is why the fastest storage for daily work or gaming, doesn't mean the one that can make the highest bandwidth in a synthetic, sequential bandwidth benchmark. As long as ATTO or similar benchmarks are great for comparison, then are telling us barely anything about the storage performance in daily work or games. Here appears PCMark and now 3DMark with storage tests based on popular applications. The only problem is to present test results in the right way, so they will be clear and comparable for everyone.

@Blaylock, you mean PCMarks in general. There is a new PCMark 10 that has some more storage tests and shows results in MB/s. Tests are based on popular software so the same as the new 3DMark test which uses popular games as a test environment. So PCMark covers the office/home environments while 3DMark focuses almost only on gaming.

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EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner

74,582 messages 1,538 likes

UL Procyon, Woo? That's solid so far for Office, Photo and Video editing. Didn't try/know of the storage benchmark... interesting.

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Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member

7,868 messages 564 likes

Yes, PCMark is the one I was trying to remember. I never liked that one. LOL

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Woomack

Benching Team Leader

12,328 messages 955 likes

Some tests require MS Office or Adobe software to be installed. It's actually a problem as most of that soft is signed to the PC or user's account in some other way. Even business licenses have limited activations. I'm just not using these benchmarks. I think that's why I wasn't using Procyon too. I don't remember what benchmarks were there. I have a license but it required too many other things. It's just too problematic, especially that I reinstall OS quite often. I already download 250GB+ 3D benchmarks for comparison each time I reinstall OS, as Ubisoft or other games with benchmarks can't be just copied or installed offline.

I really hope that the 3DMark storage benchmark will be improved soon as I wish to use it in storage or even motherboard reviews. Most benchmarks give only synthetic bandwidth results which mean nothing to most users. I just wish to make storage reviews a bit more interesting.

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EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner

74,582 messages 1,538 likes

That's why you set it up and image your OS. Then, simply restore the image. Once the base OS is setup and the image captured, it's literally a 10-15 minute process (for me and my test OS) to have a fresh OS up and running from scratch with all of my applications/benchmarks/etc ready to go. :)

Procyon requires MS Office, Photoshop/Lightroom Classic and Premiere Pro. I've been through 4 boards so far with the key I have for Procyon and the Adobe apps and haven't run into issues (outside of having to log in every time). Occasionally I get a warning that I'm signed in on another device, but I just log it out and move on. So yes, it's tied to your account. I just log in before I bench and go! :)

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mackerel

Member

3,541 messages 121 likes

as Ubisoft or other games with benchmarks can't be just copied or installed offline.

I haven't tried it myself, but Ubisoft Connect launcher does have a "locate installed game" function. Implies you can copy that between installs.

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