Exploring SSD Performance In Battlefield 3, F1 2011, And Rift

Gamplay In Rift

The 15-minute trace captured in Rift involves walking through Sanctum and grinding through Silverwood.

Overall Statistics
Rift: Gameplay
Elapsed Time
15:33
Read Operations
10 234
Write Operations
1 982
Data Read
306.46 MB
Data Written
34.66 MB
Disk Busy Time
1.84 s
Average Data Rate
185.73 MB/s


Rift's gameplay is substantially different from WoW, at least as it pertains to storage. Whereas the latter hit our SSD with a lot of writes, this title turns out to be more read-heavy, just like Battlefield 3. According to the trace, there’s a wide variety of transfer sizes, and we continue to see a preponderance of random accesses, which makes sense given what we know of the game structure. Most operations occur at a queue depth of one, and nothing happens beyond a queue depth of 12.

Interestingly, WoW is the only game we've tested thus far with more than 5% of its commands stacking up at a queue depth in excess of 32. Rift gamers are going to find an SSD upgrade less beneficial than those loyal to WoW.

I/O Trends:

  • 32% of all operations are 16 KB in transfer size
  • 27% of all operations are 64 KB in transfer size
  • 85% of all operations are random
  • 63% of all operations occur at a queue depth of one
  • 31% of all operations occur between a queue depth of two and eight


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    Top Comments
  • IMO, a WD Caviar Black or a Samsung Spinpoint F3 would have been a better test drive than the Green one.
    26
  • True, but it is much more cost effective to add more RAM to your system in that circumstance than to get an SSD large enough for your OS and a couple of games. With RAM so inexpensive these days there is absolutely no reason to be running low on it under any gaming scenario.
    19
  • gmcizzle said:
    Storage can actually make a difference in FPS in certain situations. Only put in 2gb or so of RAM in the test system and rerun Battlefield 3, and the difference in frame rates will be different between HDD and SSD as the game switches to secondary storage once RAM is exhausted.


    And who the hell would buy an expensive SSD but cannot even put a decent amount of RAM on his system? :pfff:
    14
  • Other Comments
  • Interesting to see it won't imrpove all gameplay
    8
  • Makes sense. I'll install sw:tor to the ssd after i figure out how to make its 20GB fit on it lol... the rest go to the HDD...

    Good read. Thanks for being so thorough.
    3
  • IMO, a WD Caviar Black or a Samsung Spinpoint F3 would have been a better test drive than the Green one.
    26
  • Thanks to all the reviews you made here guys. A couple of months ago I started planning my ssd purchase, and i decided to buy a Kingston HyperX 240gb bundle kit. I cant wait till it arrives. I have advanced computer skills, so many things I thought from personal experiences are published here, like I knew some games are more write dependant or read dependant from and HDD, and about the apps on the background on WIN7, and many many more. I already ordered my SSD, but its nice to have a serious review about ssds on gaming performance. Its all about the speed that the apps can be done by write/read on a ssd on the background that really matters, from this simple thing is that anyone willing to upgrade to an ssd can benefit with a smoother playable experience.
    0
  • Storage can actually make a difference in FPS in certain situations. Only put in 2gb or so of RAM in the test system and rerun Battlefield 3, and the difference in frame rates will be different between HDD and SSD as the game switches to secondary storage once RAM is exhausted.
    -7
  • True, but it is much more cost effective to add more RAM to your system in that circumstance than to get an SSD large enough for your OS and a couple of games. With RAM so inexpensive these days there is absolutely no reason to be running low on it under any gaming scenario.
    19
  • Agreed with xyzqwerty, please do another test with faster drives such as wd black or the f3. Comparing the ssd with green version is like racing your turtle with the neighbor's hare.
    4
  • cumi2k4Agreed with xyzqwerty, please do another test with faster drives such as wd black or the f3. Comparing the ssd with green version is like racing your turtle with the neighbor's hare.


    I'm a little confused why you would want to see that comparison. We established there was no diff between a slow HDD and a fast SSD. And you expect a difference between a fast HDD and fast SSD?

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    9
  • asnorton44Interesting to see it won't imrpove all gameplay

    I see what you did there. :P
    2
  • acku said:
    I'm a little confused why you would want to see that comparison. We established there was no diff between a slow HDD and a fast SSD. And you expect a difference between a fast HDD and fast SSD? Cheers, Andrew Ku TomsHardware.com



    He probably want to see that comparison on the "Hard Drive Performance Comparison" page, where is a big difference between SSD and HDD performance (the HDD up to 477% slower)
    4
  • Quote:
    IMO, a WD Caviar Black or a Samsung Spinpoint F3 would have been a better test drive than the Green one.

    The point of using a slower drive than those is to emphasize the effects of using SSD vs HDD when it comes to gameplay/FPS. Of course, if the slower drive is quite on par with SSD on FPS ratings then the faster HDDs will do well too.
    -2
  • gmcizzle said:
    Storage can actually make a difference in FPS in certain situations. Only put in 2gb or so of RAM in the test system and rerun Battlefield 3, and the difference in frame rates will be different between HDD and SSD as the game switches to secondary storage once RAM is exhausted.


    And who the hell would buy an expensive SSD but cannot even put a decent amount of RAM on his system? :pfff:
    14
  • Quite surprised to see Skyrim and WoW left out of the pool. In my opinion games like these give a lot of improvement in SSD. Just think how many times you load in BF3 and compare that with skyrim. Pretty insane :D

    Notably, my laptop with a Intel 510 250GB, my in-game load times are about 2 seconds in skyrim compared to the desktop running 1TB spinpoint at raid takes 4-5 seconds. The same desktop with a crucial M4 takes around 2 seconds. Moreover I never had any spikes/lags with SSDs while gaming.
    6
  • masterjawAnd who the hell would buy an expensive SSD but cannot even put a decent amount of RAM on his system?

    Nobody would of course, but the point is it can make a difference.
    -3
  • ackuI'm a little confused why you would want to see that comparison. We established there was no diff between a slow HDD and a fast SSD. And you expect a difference between a fast HDD and fast SSD?Cheers,Andrew KuTomsHardware.com


    If you are just looking at frame rate performance, you are of course correct Andrew; what's the point?. However, what about the launching of the games and level loading? In some games there is a marked difference.

    The comparisons I'd like to see would be the load times for game launching and levels with faster hard drive solutions. As an MMORPG player, the zoning times would be of interest - how long does it take to zone into another instance, and does that significantly improve with an SSD?

    I'd like to see 2 hard drives in RAID 0 compared. Other single hard drives would be interesting (being a great fan of the Velociraptor series, I'm always interested in those, even if they are kind of an odd duck at their price in today's world) but to a lesser degree for me.

    The other test comparisons I'd like to see would be SSDs used in caching systems, such as what the Z68 chipset allows, (a whole article could be done on the effects of size of SSD on caching, I think) and solutions like the OCZ Synapse, and RAM drives. (RAM is so cheap now popping an extra 12GB into a 24GB capable mainboard and setting up a 16GB RAM drive looks like a very attractive way for me to boost performance in my aging X58 system. :) )

    Please don't take any of my suggestions as complaints or that I'm saying your tests were incomplete; I'm just throwing some ideas out. I'm well aware of how much effort goes into producing these articles, and am grateful for all that you do.

    ;)
    10
  • What happens if you limit the SSD to a SATA 3Gb/s port?
    -2
  • I want to see how RAID of HDD compares to single SDD at comparative cost, and not only for games.
    3
  • There a lot of things to consider, however smoothness in gaming is still an expensive feature. In the future we´ll be looking at SSDs prices like we do today with RAM.
    2
  • perfectblueQuite surprised to see Skyrim and WoW left out of the pool. In my opinion games like these give a lot of improvement in SSD. Just think how many times you load in BF3 and compare that with skyrim. Pretty insane Notably, my laptop with a Intel 510 250GB, my in-game load times are about 2 seconds in skyrim compared to the desktop running 1TB spinpoint at raid takes 4-5 seconds. The same desktop with a crucial M4 takes around 2 seconds. Moreover I never had any spikes/lags with SSDs while gaming.



    He did WoW in a previous article.

    I would like to have seen Skyrim too, but really Andrew's test suite should be about displaying different facets of storage solution performance before it's about pleasing the readers with games they want to see - and the games he chose are extremely popular. In my opinion, Rift isn't "the latest craze" in MMOGs, it's kind of old news, but it is still a good test to run at least once in that we see how it runs and how it is different than, say, WoW, or the other non-MMOG games.

    One thing is very clear, games aren't all the same; not even games of the same type. One of the reasons I kept asking for WoW to be used as a bench in the past was because it was so CPU intensive, and most game weren't. In Cataclysm, that changed, and it became a game that could stress both CPU AND GPU, so I think it is a very good game to use for benches. However, MMOGs are harder to bench with than other games.

    You can only use so many games for benchmarks, and some people are going to wish other games were used so an article relates to them more directly. I think it's good to make suggestions, but have trouble understanding why people get surprised when a game isn't used, talk in terms of something being "left out", or seem to take things personally.

    ;)
    0
  • Arma 2 is one of those games that really leans on hard drive performance. Because it uses a very large continuous world the game struggles to load the textures when travelling any faster than walking speed. There is never any texture/world popping with a Vertex 2 however, even an Intel X25-M is fast enough to solve the problem.

    It matters a lot when using a helicopter or plane as trees are notoriously appearing at very short range all of a sudden. While it doesn't affect the frame rate the game works a whole lot better with enough IO performance.
    3