The Killer App: Multitasking Performance

Here's where things get interesting. I ran two tests, in one I extracted a 5GB archive and tried to run Photoshop after 30 seconds of extraction and in the second test, I extracted a 5GB archive and tried to scan my system for viruses using NAV 2008. Simple enough, right? I'm reporting the times of each task individually.

The extraction task took the longest to complete but the standings speak for themselves:



Multitasking Scenario 1: Extract Archive + Run Photoshop)

Here's one area where the Samsung SLC based devices actually come out ahead, by a good margin. The Samsung SLC SSD finished the extraction in 102 seconds, compared to 161 seconds for the X25-M. Even the VelociRaptor did better here at 116 seconds, but remember you need to look at both tasks for a complete picture:

Multitasking Scenario 1: Extract Archive + Run Photoshop)

Launching Photoshop took 5.2 seconds for the Samsung SLC SSD, it was like we weren't even running another test in the background. The X25-M did fine at 12.2 seconds and the VelociRaptor was much slower at 27.3 seconds. The JMicron based MLC drives didn't do too bad here either, although they were a little slower than Intel's MLC offering.

The real stress test was this next multitasking scenario. Quite possibly one of the most annoying thing about viruses is having to run real time scanning and protection software all the time, especially with a traditional HDD in your system. The extraction task is the same as before, but the other task is a full system scan in Norton Anti-Virus 2008. I timed both:

Multitasking Scenario 2: Extract Archive + Run Norton Virus Scan 

The WD 1TB drive would always complete the extraction task quicker than all of the other drives, but paid the penalty in the scan test (which is why you have to look at both charts for a full analysis). The Samsung SLC drive is still the overall winner here, followed closely by Intel's X25-M. The JMicron based MLC drives do horribly here, taking over twice as long to complete as Intel's MLC.

The mechanical disks however do a lot worse. While the Intel X25-M took 3.5 minutes to extract the 5GB archive, the VelociRaptor took over 17 minutes. The Seagate Momentus 7200.2 took over 23 minutes!

Let's look at the NAV results:

Multitasking Scenario 2: Extract Archive + Run Norton Virus Scan

The X25-M took around 5.3 minutes, the Raptor needed more than 23 minutes and Seagate Momentus made me wait over 40 minutes. It's these sorts of usage scenarios that really make SSDs worthwhile, and they are the most realworld you can get. When we started looking at real world performance the PCMark Vantage numbers may have looked a bit ridiculous, but by now you should see that they are more of the middle ground when looking at performance of these drives.

Game Load Performance Power Consumption & Battery Life
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  • Alleniv - Wednesday, August 19, 2009 - link

    Hi all,
    I report this new review about X25-M, that takes in consideration a comparative with other SSDs and also with HDDs, with several benchmarks ? http://www.informaticaeasy.net/le-mi...m-da-80gb.h...">http://www.informaticaeasy.net/le-mi...m-da-80gb.h...
    Reply
  • Bytales - Saturday, January 03, 2009 - link

    You said this: For example, let's say you download a 2MB file to your band new, never been used SSD, which gets saved to blocks 10, 11, 12 and 13. You realize you downloaded the wrong file and delete it, then go off to download the right file. Rather than write the new file to blocks 10, 11, 12 and 13, the flash controller will write to blocks 14, 15, 16 and 17. In fact, those four blocks won't get used again until every other block on the drive has been written to once

    By this i understand that a bigger capacity SSD, for instance 320 vs 160 will have more blocks and hence you will need more writes to deplete the number a write cycles the SSD was designed for. So for SSD bigger means even longer lasting. IS this TRUE ?
    Reply
  • lpaster - Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - link

    Can you overclock this SSD? Reply
  • Sendou - Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - link

    There are optimization methods available for SSD's which can mitigate performance loss through genuine usage over time.

    One such is Diskeeper's HyperFast Technology.

    There is a white paper regarding HyperFast available at:

    http://downloads.diskeeper.com/pdf/Optimizing-Soli...
    Reply
  • BludBaut - Thursday, March 31, 2011 - link

    I read the pdf article you linked from Diskeeper.

    Based on the information Anand has given in his articles about Intel's technology, Diskeeper's "whitepaper" sounds like crap advertising by a company who's afraid their technology might be considered not only useless but detrimental to use with SSDs. I'm inclined to agree since Diskeeper's own results show a 4x write loss by just *one* "optimization" while Anand's article clearly suggests that the proper design (which he says Intel has accomplished) eliminates the need for Diskeeper's service.

    Until I find more thorough examination of the facts, Diskeeper's remarks make me distrust them.

    On the other hand, Anand's article definitely sounds not just like a puff piece for Intel, but qualifies in my mind as advertising. Wonder how much money Intel has spent on Anandtech? That's not to suggest that anything is misrepresentative (well, it wasn't meant to sound that way, but keep reading and you'll find the one-sided praise will later be partially retracted and I don't know the end of the story yet), but we all know that advertising always leaves out the negatives.

    (Reviews shouldn't sound like advertisements but anyone who's been reading magazine reviews for 30 years knows that's frequently the case. The reviewer's bills get paid by the manufacturers' of the products he's reviewing. But, the reviewer is objective of course. It's a matter of journalistic integrity. Yeah, I believe that. Don't you?)

    One such negative was the promotion of the life of the drive. "20GB a day for five years"? Anand praises Intel for multiplying that by five to "100GB a day for five years" but then tells us that they'll only guarantee the drive for three years and has the audacity to suggest we'll likely have a recourse "if we can prove" ... -- how is anyone going to prove how many GBs a day they put on their computer? The annoyance of trying to keep track is not something 99% of people would do.

    Did you do the math to see how long it takes to write 100GB to a drive with a write speed of 200MB/s? Eight minutes and twenty seconds is all it takes.

    Well, that's great if all you use your computer for is reading articles, checking the news and sales prices and sending email. The drive should last as long as your computer. But if you love video (who loves video???), it's a different story entirely.

    There's another negative that, though first denied, eventually was acknowledged. More than six months later, Anand reports back and says essentially, 'Intel is still the best but the performance does degrade with time and I don't know why.' If he's explained it since then, I've yet to read it.

    So, for those just reading the article, don't get so encouraged that you start drooling. The article has a tendency to make one think, "What am I waiting for? I want one of these puppies!" Unfortunately, Intel's technology isn't as rosy and bulletproof and Anand made it sound.
    Reply
  • kevonly - Friday, November 21, 2008 - link

    I hope you do some benchmark on Samsung's new 256GB SSD. Hopefully it's as good as Intel's. Reply
  • kevonly - Friday, November 21, 2008 - link

    its read/write speed is 200/160 mb/s. Will it sustain that speed in a multi applications running environment?? Reply
  • kevonly - Friday, November 21, 2008 - link

    sorry

    read/write speed is 220/200 mb/s.
    Reply
  • scotopicvision - Monday, November 10, 2008 - link

    The article was an amazing read, fantastic, and well done thank you. Reply
  • D111 - Saturday, October 25, 2008 - link


    Legacy OS like Windows Vista, XP, and Applications like Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, etc. have built in, inherent flaws with regard to SSDs.

    Specifically, optimizations of these OS for mechanical hard drives like superfetch, prefetch, etc. tend to slow down, rather than help performance and is unnecessary to speed up reads in an SSD, but slow it down with unnecessary writes of small files, which SSDs are slower than a regular hard drive.

    Things like automatic drive defragmentation with Vista does nothing for SSDs except to slow them down.

    Properly optimized, even low cost 2007 generation SSDs test out as equivalent to a 7200 rpm consumer grade drive, and typical SSDs made in 2008 or later tend to outperform mechanical hard drives.

    The tests done here have done nothing to "tweak" the OS to remove design hindrances to SSD performance, and thus, have no validity or technical merit.

    The test, as presented, would be similar to installing a 19th century steam engine on a sailing ship, and observing that it is rather slow ---- without mentioning the drag and performance hits caused by the unused sail rigging, masts, etc.

    See the discussion here for a detailed discussion of SSD performance tweaks and what it takes to make them perform well with legacy OS and Applications.

    http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/forumdispl...">http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum...display....

    Reply

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