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PCMark 7 And Power Consumption

Time To Upgrade: 10 SSDs Between 240 And 256 GB, Rounded Up

PCMark 7’s Storage suite involves quite a bit of compressible data. As a result, the SandForce-based SSDs put up a pretty good fight.

However, the general performance hierarchy we like to use persists when it comes to categorizing NAND interfaces for a given controller. For example, the Adata SX900, Transcend SSD720, PNY XLR8 Pro, and SanDisk Extreme SSDs all jump to the front of the SandForce grouping thanks to either synchronous or Toggle NAND. Meanwhile, the drives equipped with asynchronous NAND fall to the bottom of the ladder, just as we'd expect.

It's also interesting to note that PCMark 7 puts Corsair's Neutron GTX right on par with those drives, beating out OCZ's Vertex 4.

Because SSDs are so fast, they sit idle most of the time. In almost our almost-30-minute virus scan, the SSD was only busy for 281 seconds. As a result, idle power consumption is the most important figure to consider in a desktop environment.

We've already seen Samsung's drives fare particularly well in idle power measurements, despite their beefy triple-core ARM-based controller. The 840 Pro is our top finisher, followed by a couple of different 830s.

The SandForce-based SSDs fall within a pretty tight range, though. Again, we expect this. Although SandForce's drive partners implement their own power circuitry designs, they're all engineered from a single reference.

It's interesting that the SSD 330 240 GB, which we're testing for the first time today, uses so much more power at idle than Intel's SSD 335 240 GB, which we reviewed in Intel SSD 335 240 GB Review: Driving Down Prices With 20 nm NAND. Perhaps this is a result of Intel's shift to 20 nm NAND, or maybe there really were some optimizations made to the power circuitry.

Corsair's Neutron drives, which we're looking at for the first time today, consume more than 1 W while idle in PCMark 7's Storage sub-test. They're better than OCZ's power-hungry Vertex and Agility 4 drives, but they more than triple the power use of Samsung's 840 Pro.

The power chart gets reshuffled a bit when each drive is hit with a workload, and there's less difference between opposite ends. PNY's 240 GB XLR8 drive consumes the most power of our SandForce-based models, though the 256 GB Vertex 4 is an even more egregious consumer.

Corsair's Neutron and Neutron GTX aren't far behind either XLR8 drive, or Intel's 240 GB SSD 330. That's the wrong end of our power measurements. Adata's XPG SP900 fares much better, even besting the improved 240 GB SSD 335.

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