3DMark has released a new storage benchmark (opens in new tab) to its suite of testing applications designed to test SSDs under real-world gaming situations. The new 3DMark Storage Benchmark now comes with the full 3DMark testing suite starting at $29.99 on Steam, (opens in new tab) or you can buy it as a standalone product for $2.9 (opens in new tab)9 on Steam as well.
3DMark notes that gamers have a wide variety of SSDs to choose from, ranging from hybrid drives to SATA and NVMe options. But the problem is that many storage performance measuring tools were developed for hard drives instead of SSDs. Nearly all of these tools also use synthetic workloads to measure performance which can skew results compared to real-world use of the SSD.
This new storage benchmark rectifies these problems by directly supporting all the latest storage technologies from the start. In addition, the benchmark specifically focuses on real-world gaming performance instead of using a synthetic workload.
Storage activity effectively consists of input and output operations. 3DMark notes it's possible to record these operations, called traces, while the SSD performs a task.
With this in mind, the 3DMark Storage benchmark uses traces recorded from popular games to measure real-world gaming performance. 3DMark lists the following scenarios:
- Loading Battlefield™ V from launch to the main menu.
- Loading Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
- Loading Overwatch® from launch to the main menu.
- Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch®.
- Installing The Outer Worlds® from the Epic Games Launcher.
- Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds®.
- Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike®: Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
Like other 3DMark benchmarks, the storage benchmarks give an in-house score of your SSD's performance to compare against other SSDs. The benchmark also gives the raw bandwidth and average access time of the SSD, but the main score will be the most important part of this benchmark.
For example, 3DMark already tested four NVMe Gen 3 and Gen 4 SSDs in its new benchmark and their scores include the following:
|Storage Device||3DMark Storage Benchmark Score|
|Intel® Optane™ SSD 900P 280 GB (PCI Express 3 M.2)||4,241|
|Samsung® SSD 980 PRO 500 GB (PCI Express 4 M.2)||2,858|
|WD_BLACK™ SN750 NVMe 500GB (PCI Express 3 M.2)||2,014|
|Samsung® SSD 860 EVO 1 TB (SATA III)||1,193|
These scores effectively mean that the Intel Optane drive -- out of the four drives -- can provide the best gaming performance for your system, with the 860 EVO having the slowest potential gaming performance. That probably won't mean higher FPS, but having a faster SSD will make games startup faster as long as your CPU isn't the bottleneck.
The Steam system requirements do note that a 3 GHz quad-core processor is required because of potential bottlenecks by the CPU on fast storage. With how fast SSDs have become, particularly NVMe SSDs, having a slow CPU can impact your SSD's ability to operate at maximum speed.
As more and more games require a count on fast storage for better gaming performance, this benchmark could prove to be a handy utility for seeing which SSDs are best for gaming in the future.