Profiling Storage I/O In Three New Games
A little while back, we dissected the storage behaviors of Crysis 2, World Of Warcraft, and Civilization V to not only better understand how all three titles relate back to the benchmarks we run, but also the real-world experience you have with them. We received a lot of feedback in that story, not only about other games that our readers wanted to see, but also on some of the performance comparisons they wanted us to add. Namely, it was important to include a heads-up comparison of how solid-state storage fared against a hard drive.
Although that wasn't the purpose of the original story, it's certainly an understandable request. After all, it's hard to justify the premium of an SSD without a tangible real-world benefit (especially when a faster graphics card almost always does yield a noticeable performance boost). If you have questions about how an SSD might affect more pedestrian day-to-day productivity and content creation applications, check out Should You Upgrade? From A Hard Drive To An SSD; today, our focus is on the gaming experience alone.
We're still going to dive deep into an exploration of each game's storage characteristics. That's important data, since most SSD reviews are based on a handful of metrics that try to encapsulate performance, but rarely give you context on how those results correlate to gaming. Those familiar metrics include:
- 4 KB random writes
- 4 KB random reads
- 128 KB sequential reads
- 128 KB sequential writes
If those terms don't mean much to you at this point, we recommend reading Understanding Storage Performance, where we break them down. Really, the problem is that phrases like input/output operations per second and megabytes per second don't really mean anything to gamers interested in how storage technology affects the launch times and performance of the latest titles.
As a continuation of our previous exploration, we decided to revisit this topic using three new games in order to give you a better understanding of how they tax your storage subsystem. Battlefield 3 (representing the first-person shooters), F1 2011 (holding it down for racing sims), and Rift (the latest craze in MMORPGs) all get tested this time around.