ReadyBoost Performance

It almost sounds too good to be true - just plug in a USB drive and you get an instant performance upgrade. At the same time, it sounds a little hard to believe; flash memory is fast, but so are modern day hard drives. While it's true that USB flash drives aren't bad at random I/O, performance with small file sizes isn't exactly anything to brag about.

We spent days trying to test ReadyBoost and come up with benchmarks to truly showcase its real world impact on performance. Although it shouldn't be a surprise to you, ReadyBoost impacts application loading, closing and switching time, but CPU intensive tasks aren't impacted nearly as much. As such, most of our conventional benchmarks, even when running with only 512MB of memory, don't serve as a good benchmark for ReadyBoost. If your system has so little memory that it is swapping to disk while running a single task then you're in trouble, and ReadyBoost isn't going to save you.

Our first ReadyBoost benchmark has us encoding a video using Windows Movie Maker and benchmarking the completion time.

ReadyBoost Performance

This is one of those cases where ReadyBoost isn't given the chance to do much as the task we're running is mostly CPU bound.

Another example of a situation where ReadyBoost isn't able to do much is in one of Intel's Vista benchmarks - a Microsoft Word 2007 document compare test. This test simply takes two documents and compares them, generating a third document created from the differences between the two documents. The test has an I/O element to it as it is reading large Word documents from the hard drive in order to compare them.

ReadyBoost Performance

Once again there's virtually no performance difference that can be attributed to ReadyBoost.

This next test is pretty simple, we started Adobe Photoshop CS3 and timed how long it took for the application to start and finish loading 14 images.

ReadyBoost Performance

ReadyBoost does increase performance, cutting down the load time by around 13 seconds. In this particular test the performance impact of ReadyBoost levels off once you have around 1GB of flash memory. The real point to take away however is the performance benefit you get from ReadyBoost: even with 4GB of ReadyBoost storage, it is nowhere near what you get from simply moving to 1GB of memory.

We then looked at how long it took to close Photoshop/images with the various configurations:

ReadyBoost Performance

There's a pretty sizable performance impact due to ReadyBoost, but once again, you can't beat simply having more system memory.

Our final ReadyBoost test was a bit more strenuous: we opened Adobe Photoshop CS3 along with 22 images, iTunes, Microsoft Word 2007, Adobe Reader 8 and an Explorer Window. We then timed how long it would take to simply close all of those windows and get back to the desktop. The results are below.

ReadyBoost Performance

ReadyBoost makes a very significant impact on performance here. With 4GB of flash dedicated to ReadyBoost, we saw an increase in performance of over 47%. However for the cost of a 4GB flash drive you could probably upgrade to 1GB of memory which results in an even larger performance gain. That said, if you don't want to open up your system, ReadyBoost does actually work.

ReadyBoost Hard Drive Performance and ReadyBoost
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  • Lifted - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - link

    quote:

    The search, does it support network-drives? Search Desktop for XP does not...


    That's odd. I can search network drives using XP Pro. Maybe it's a Pro vs. Home issue?

    Was also wondering about the network test myself. 10MB/s file copy on XP Pro seems abysmally slow when using gigabit NIC's. Just testing right now I about 35MB/s between a pair of 5 year old servers (dual Xeon 1GHz) with Intel GB NIC's. I haven't checked transfer rates with XP as I'm on a 10/100 switch at the moment, but I can't believe it's really THAT much slower than 2003.
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - link

    I remember running a gigabit cross-over (CAT6) cable between my roommate's computer and my computer in college. We achieved about 33MB/s (through FTP) running Windows XP Professional on each. So I'd say that you'd probably see about the same speed if you were running a gigabit switch. Reply
  • mjz - Monday, February 05, 2007 - link

    i think windows xp sets a limit when downloading from another computer to 33MB/s.. Reply
  • Nehemoth - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - link

    Same here.

    I just wanna Vista for the improve TCP/IP Stack, now I'll wait for SP1
    Reply
  • tallsummi - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - link

    I'll wait for SP2 of vista and then go for it.. Reply
  • keitaro - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - link

    Perhaps Microsoft should have copied the idea from Novell's SUSE Linux Desktop (powered by XGL and compiz). The compiz software package (compositor and window manager) comes with its own alt-tab that surpasses Flip 3D in every way. http://www.novell.com/products/desktop/features/xg...">See here for a look at what XGL and compiz can do. Reply
  • mlambert890 - Friday, February 02, 2007 - link

    I think that xgl crap is an overenginered waste that adds 0 productivity. Flip 3d gives you the one thing you need - a live shot of running apps. Who the hell needs some spinning cube? And look how bad video playback perf is in that Novell demo...
    bleh... I dont feel myself drawn back to 1992 when I lived and breathed Novell; sorry...
    Reply
  • Locutus465 - Friday, February 02, 2007 - link

    I dont' know, personally I like flip 3d better.. Reply
  • archcommus - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - link

    The article makes me a bit sad about Vista. It made me realize - wow, yeah, it really IS a shame that Vista doesn't totally smash OS X Tiger given how long it's been in development and how long Tiger has been out for. I guess they just got in such a rut of catch-up that not many new revolutionary features could be developed.

    In particular, I'm disappointed with how similar (and ugly) certain aspects of Vista look compared to XP, for example the quick launch area, system tray, clock, and the overall taskbar. With the exception of the Start buttion being replaced by an "orb," it looks EXACTLY the same as XP, and this could have been and should have been revamped to improve productivity. Quick launch is just...stupid, and ugly. All it is is additional shortcuts, and they waste taskbar space. I think a small menu that appears and disappears on the fly would be nicer. I'm not sure what improvements to suggest for the taskbar, all I know is, with how pretty the rest of the OS looks, the application blocks down there just look out of place. Same with the system tray icons.

    Explorer is better though and the transparency is great. It's too bad x64 performance and drivers aren't up to snuff yet.
    Reply
  • thebrown13 - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - link

    Microsoft has to cater to about 349852395472039 more software programs.

    That's why. Updates, bug fixes, feature designing, it all takes A LOT longer than with an OS with 5 people that use it, like Apple.

    We're lucky the mainstream OS isn't MUCH farther behind.
    Reply

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