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Benchmark Results: PCMark Vantage, Continued

Can Bargain SSDs Give Windows A Quantum Performance Leap?
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According to Futuremark, maker of the PCMark Vantage benchmarks, this video editing test involves performing video read and skip functions along with concurrent video writes. The read/write load is about 53% and 47%, respectively. You’d expect access times to impact performance here, but the VelociRaptor simply eats the SSDNow as an appetizer while Intel and Transcend race on above 120 MB/sec.

The story looks similar in Windows Media Center, which hits an almost even 50/50 split between reads and writes. Specifically, the test analyzes SDTV video playback, SDTV video streaming to a WMC extender, and SDTV video recording. I would expect this test to be especially telling given how many users are increasingly using systems as HD content hubs.

Interestingly, the VelociRaptor puts in what may be its best showing of the roundup in this test, drawing close enough to the top SSDs to make it the overall value winner for this application. Once again, Kingston takes a pile driver, putting a final nail in the idea that entry-level SSDs might be OK for write-intensive apps. Transcend emerges the winner in both of these tests, but I’ll dredge up that caveat about Intel performance results in this suite. With its TRIM support, Intel should have won.

Adding music into Windows Media Player 11 is about 80% read-based. No surprises at the high-end, but the WD and Kingston drives are separated by only about 20% at the other extreme. At 16 or 20 MB/s, I can see how adding a large music collection might chew up a lot of system bandwidth for an extended time. This isn’t an operation most uses will do often, but it’s still important for those with media-centric systems.

On application loading, the test is about 87% read-based. Futuremark states that the test involves loading Word 2007, Photoshop CS2, Outlook 2007, and an IE7 browser. Kingston shows a 3x lead over WD here as reads become more prominent. The surprise is Intel’s sudden doubling of Transcend’s performance, delivering a number that’s over 12x faster than the fastest hard drive on the consumer market.

Now, four apps is a fair load, but we’re still talking about a synthetic environment. It’s time to keep things real.

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