Impact of Drive Performance on ReadyBoost

For our ReadyBoost tests we used a modern hard drive, a Western Digital 500GB drive. We wanted to find out if ReadyBoost had an even greater impact if your system has a slower drive, so we switched to a five-year old Western Digital WD1000 100GB drive to see how ReadyBoost's impact changed, if at all. We took three benchmarks - the Movie Maker, Word, and Application Close tests - and ran them on the WD1000 to compare performance scaling with ReadyBoost.

ReadyBoost Performance with a Slower HDD

ReadyBoost Performance with a Slower HDD

ReadyBoost Performance with a Slower HDD

ReadyBoost doesn't seem to do any better with a slower hard drive, although we'd suspect that you may see bigger gains on similarly old notebook drives.

ReadyDrive

The last I/O feature before we get to networking is ReadyDrive, a technology that is closely related to ReadyBoost. Whereas ReadyBoost is designed for use with external flash memory, ReadyDrive is based around internal flash memory, which has been cropping up in recent years in so-called hybrid drives (hard drives featuring large amounts of flash memory as a cache) and with Intel's Robson technology (which puts flash memory right on the motherboard). In both of these cases this internal flash memory has the added advantage of being unremovable and hence more reliable (as a USB flash drive could be removed at any second along with its cached data), which opens up a few more uses of flash memory as a cache.

On top of the standard caching uses to improve general performance, ReadyDrive can use this internal flash memory as a way to improve hibernation recovery and boot times, as flash memory could be a faster non-volatile data storage than a hard drive. Use of this flash memory also stands to reduce average hard drive power usage (a particularly important item for notebooks), as caching of data can allow Vista to spin the hard drive down more often. Finally, integrated flash devices are likely to be faster overall than most external flash drives, for a couple of reasons. First, pulling data over a USB connection tends to require a bit more work. Second, we would expect most integrated flash devices to use higher performance flash memory.

Coming up with tests for ReadyBoost was a bit tricky, but testing ReadyDrive is even more so. Besides creating some reasonable test scenarios, you also need hardware that supports ReadyDrive. It is also likely that various ReadyDrive devices will offer differing levels of performance. For these reasons, we will hold off on trying to benchmark ReadyDrive for a future article.

ReadyBoost Performance Analysis I/O Priority and Networking
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  • thebrown13 - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    This is TOTALLY false. Microsoft allows content providers to do what they want with their content. Again, THE CONTENT PROVIDERS DECIDE WHAT THEIR CONTENT PLAYS ON. MICROSOFT DECIDES NOTHING. Reply
  • MAIA - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    The architecture is still x86 with 64-bit extensions. The correct naming should be 32-bit x86 and 64-bit x86. Although some vendors use the x64 "slang", this only serves to create more confusion, making people believe it's a different architecture. More, editors and reviewers should use the correct definitions, they also have an educating factor which have to live up by a good standart. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    It makes little sense on our part to use something different than Microsoft's own terminology here when talking about Vista. The x86-64/EMT64/AMD64 versions of Vista are all called Vista * x64, so we're going to be consistent on using Microsoft's naming to avoid possible confusion among Windows versions. Reply
  • Myrandex - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    Eh I don't know how x64 can get confusing, but x86_64 is pretty typical as well. Reply
  • smitty3268 - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    Actually, it is a new architecture that just happens to be backwards compatible with x86. That is why there are twice the number or registers available and not just the same amount doubled in size. You're right that x64 is not the correct name, (it's technically called x86-64) but what does it matter? Everyone knows what it means. Reply
  • Gunlance - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    I wish I could agree about the new installer. My experience with trying to boot windows vista so far is worse than when I learned how to put NetBSD on an Apple G3.

    In fact I am still trying to get into the Windows Vista setup as I type this comment. I have been up all night :( I simply just don't get it. Every OS I have ever put on my desktop at least boots, and the vista beta's installed fine. Ugh.

    The article was great! Heh. It has made me a bit more frustrated though. Because here I am with vista but still only being able to read about.
    Reply
  • erwos - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    Your OpenGL performance numbers are radically higher than what Tom's has. Could you comment on the drivers and installation that you used? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    Normally I tend to avoid commenting on anything involving competitors, but...

    Assuming I'm looking at the right article here, they were using the Catalyst 8.31.100.3.2.1 driver, which was released back in December. We were using the Catalyst 7.1 driver(version # 8.33.something). ATI did not include an OpenGL driver until 7.1(and just barely at that).
    Reply
  • ktgktg - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    I'm surprised that the article didn't mention how much ReadyBoost could lower the boot time. A member of notebooreview forums claimed that http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=1...">he lowered the boot time on a laptop (slower HD) from 80 to 43 seconds (including POST) with a 2 GB SD card. Remember that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_memory_...">SD cards are slow compared to USB and CF. Although they're all slow compared to RAM, they have the benefit of storing the data until next boot.

    SuperFetch seems to be just another reason for using standby mode.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - link

    Any word on FireFox compatibility with Vista? That is, does it run just as flawlessly as it does under XP x86 and x64?

    Just wondering. The comment on the Conclusions page about IE 7+ being the new standard for Safari is what made me think to ask.
    Reply

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