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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  • aeternitas - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    Wow.

    #1 Meaning; Great read.
    #2 Meaning; Why do you not use World of Warcraft in your testings more? This game still has huge system requirements on absolute full settings in crouded areas. No one is getting 60fps in that game in Shatt on a saterday night 16xAA/AF full distance view. Everything maxed running a high resolution. Also, the disk access of this game may not be as much as Crysis, but its far FAR more prolonged as people play this game for a matter of years, instead of a handfull of months tops.
    Reply
  • hoohoo - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    What?! Google Chrome Launch Time? Is this a new benchmark? The world was waiting for that test I can tell ya! Did Google slip a little something in your pocket? Reply
  • Ph0b0s - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Sorry if this repeats what anyone else has said, but I think this is the best harddisk review I have seen. All the other hdd reviews I have read though, all go into detail about how many mb/s the drive can transfer and what the access time is, I/O performance etc. This is all very nice, but all we really care about is how does the hdd perform in real world apps and games in comparision to other drives. How much faster is my browser going to load.

    And that is why I was so impressed with this review. I realise it probably took more time to create this review, but it was well worth it. You can see how much the drives in the comparision compare to the amount of money you will spend instead of having to extrapolate from throughput benchmarks.

    I would feel a lot more confident in putting down money on the X25 after this review. Because I can see what the benefit I would get after in comparsion to other drives. Though the X25 needs to be another $100 dollars cheaper...

    Anyway, please more hdd reviews like this...
    Reply
  • bruto - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Anand, could you please post map load times for R6 Vegas 2 using
    these drives?
    That game was killing me, and I'd like to know just how much
    happiness is around the corner :)
    Reply
  • FFFFFF - Tuesday, September 9, 2008 - link

    I am very familiar with the tech works of SSDs and it is interesting to know of the security risk that involves the technology. http://www.techworld.com/SECURITY/NEWS/index.cfm?n...">http://www.techworld.com/SECURITY/NEWS/...cfm?news...
    This is one reason why I am not going to upgrade to SSD just yet till they figure out a more secure encryption.
    Reply
  • cokelight - Tuesday, September 9, 2008 - link

    RE: PLEASE LEARN HOW TO USE COMMAS! by ggordonliddy, 19 hours ago

    You are just making it clear that you do not have a firm grasp of English. You are afraid of those who criticize poor grammar, because you know that you yourself will be exposed for the fraudulent pustule that lies beneath your slimy veneer.

    I have a life. I'm just sick of illiterate authors. Just because it is a tech site is no excuse for extremely poor writing skills. I'm talking about skills that should be completely mastered before being allowed to graduate from elementary school.

    ^
    Take your elitism elsewhere. If you actually practiced what you preached then you'd note your own comma abuse:

    "You are afraid of those who criticize poor grammar, because you know that you yourself will be exposed for the fraudulent pustule that lies beneath your slimy veneer."

    The second clause is dependent. Therefore, it does not necessitate a comma.
    Reply
  • aeternitas - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    Use the reply link. Reply
  • xenon83 - Tuesday, September 9, 2008 - link

    "Do keep in mind though, the numbers we're talking about here are ridiculously low - even 900 µs to write to MLC flash is much faster than writing to a mechanical hard disk."
    But when it comes to random writes ssd's in general - this intel ssd included - fails miserably.
    http://www.alternativerecursion.info/?p=106">http://www.alternativerecursion.info/?p=106
    Reply
  • johncl - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Yes as the other poster say, the Intel drive have solved the issues with small random writes that the OZC and other MLC drives so far have been suffering from. If you read the whole article thoroughly you will see that clearly.

    Lets hope OCZ can come up with a better controller in their next generation MLC SSDs. We really need the competition here to bring those prices down, the Intel drive is a tad too expensive atm imo.
    Reply
  • balotz - Tuesday, September 9, 2008 - link

    Random writes are exactly as fast as sequential writes on this Intel SSD (10,000 random 4k writes per second).

    The article you referenced uses data from an SSD which appears to suffer from issues relating to the JMicron controller.

    The Intel SSD is obviously not affected, this is clearly shown by the numbers in this very review!
    Reply

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