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How We Test HDDs And SSDs

Real-World Software

Lab Notes

We use the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

Once we get past the synthetic tests that measure the extreme corners of performance, we move into testing storage traces from real-world software. Our storage traces come from Futuremark and are part of the PCMark 8 suite.

PCMark 8's standard storage test leverages a number of real-world applications. The software runs and its I/O traces are recorded. PCMark 8 then plays the traces back on your computer, just as if you were running the workload in real-time. The benchmark also plays back the data stops, just as they'd appear with you running the workload. This is the most advanced test available for reproducing such a wide range of real-world software.

Futuremark PCMark 8 Storage Test

Sequential ReadsRandom ReadsSequential WritesRandom WritesData ReadData Written
Photoshop Light150817525183421743313MB2336MB
Photoshop Heavy427718655447422065468MB5640MB
Illustrator103621923682532373MB89MB
InDesign2359222074874927401MB624MB
After Effects17721779386500311MB16MB
Word1524302748205107MB95MB
Excel7231481198773MB15MB
PowerPoint56344114710783MB21MB
World of Warcraft14151492710659390MB5MB
Battlefield 3578243487218431887MB28MB

A standard run gives us a result for each individual test in the form of service time. More often than not, these numbers only demonstrate small differences between premium and value-oriented products. This happens in the real world, too.

PCMark also gives us a breakdown, conveying the average throughput of all tests. This result shows us a wider range with all of the software workloads combined. The single results are misleading since they capture a moment in time. But the final throughput number is an average of around one hour worth of work.

  • damric
    How I test an SSD. HARD RESET my computer 20 times. If the SSD is still recognized by the motherboard, then the SSD controller is worth a flip.

    SSDs will never wear out due to IOPs. Only the controllers break. Quit kidding yourselves.
    Reply
  • schizz69
    Great article. Always good to get a glimpse inside the process, which Tom's is always so willing to do.
    Thanks Chris.
    Reply
  • ssdpro
    You'll notice all these review sites keep their tests nice and short. That way Samsung stays happy and keeps buying ad space. If they tested a drive months apart Samsung would be exposed with those floppy disk slow reads.
    Reply
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  • Gurg
    None of these tests give the consumer any indication of the degredation of the performance of the SSD over time. While my systems have been become more powerful and the software has been updated, the performance of my main SSD used mostly for for W7 and hardware drivers and as measured by Passmark runs has declined by 38% in about three years.
    Reply
  • unityole
    @Gurg, as SSD over time, either via temperature or usage or amount of data filled performance declines. if you secure erase and install new window and it'll back to brand new performance again, tbh i think this article cover most of it, maybe you're just confused between a good ssd or uncleaned window files slowing down your system.
    Reply
  • ykki
    How I test an SSD. HARD RESET my computer 20 times. If the SSD is still recognized by the motherboard, then the SSD controller is worth a flip.

    And that will be all on your first day of "How to test hardware the MacGyver way"

    Tomorrow we will learn to test psu's by putting them in microwave at 50 degree C for 60 minutes while it itself is powering the microwave.
    Thank you. :lol:

    Reply
  • damric
    15491425 said:
    How I test an SSD. HARD RESET my computer 20 times. If the SSD is still recognized by the motherboard, then the SSD controller is worth a flip.

    And that will be all on your first day of "How to test hardware the MacGyver way"

    Tomorrow we will learn to test psu's by putting them in microwave at 50 degree C for 60 minutes while it is powering the microwave.
    Thank you. :lol:

    I choked on my drink you had me LOLing so hard :)
    Reply
  • unityole
    15491425 said:
    How I test an SSD. HARD RESET my computer 20 times. If the SSD is still recognized by the motherboard, then the SSD controller is worth a flip.

    And that will be all on your first day of "How to test hardware the MacGyver way"

    Tomorrow we will learn to test psu's by putting them in microwave at 50 degree C for 60 minutes while it itself is powering the microwave.
    Thank you. :lol:

    calm down!!
    Reply