Results: PCMark 7 And PCMark Vantage
Futuremark's PCMark 7: Secondary Storage Suite
PCMark 7 uses the same trace-based technology as our Storage Bench v1.0 for its storage suite testing. It employs a geometric mean scoring system to generate a composite, so we end up with PCMarks instead of a megabytes per second. One-thousand points separate the top and bottom, but that encompasses a far larger difference than the score alone indicates.
PCMark 7 is a vast improvement over the older PCMark Vantage, at least for SSD benchmarking. The storage suite is comprised of several small traces. At the end, the geometric mean of those scores is scaled with a number representing the test system's speed. The scores generated are much different from PCMark Vantage, and many manufacturers are predisposed to dislike it for that reason. It's hard to figure out how PCMark 7 "works" because it uses a sliding scale to generate scores. Still, it represents one of the best canned benchmarks for storage, and if nothing else, it helps reinforce the idea that the differences in modern SSD performance don't necessarily amount to a better user experience in average consumer workloads.
Seagate's effort doesn't show as well, but anything above a score of 5,200 is ridiculously fast anyway. The 600's 5,290 puts it very close to Corsair at 5,345. How close? The 600 SSD trails by an insignificant 1%. How's that for parity? And, even more telling, the old-school SSD 510 is another 1% down from Seagate's 600. Flexing big IOPS numbers doesn't hand over the top spot in more desktop-oriented workloads, just as weak I/O performance doesn't kick you down to the recycling bin of history. Intel's SSD 510 is still proper-quick, and so is Seagate's 600. One shows better in measures of random I/O performance, but that simply doesn't translate to significant differences in these trace-based tools.
The Plextor M5 Pro actually takes top billing away from OCZ's Vector, but the margin of victory is so, so narrow.
Futuremark's PCMark Vantage: Hard Drive Suite
PCMark's Vantage isn't the paragon of SSD testing, mainly just because it's old and wasn't designed for the massive performance solid-state technology enables. Intended to exploit the new features in Windows Vista, Vantage was certainly at the forefront of consumer storage benching at the time. Vantage works by taking the geometric mean of composite storage scores and then scaling them a lot like PCMark 7 does. But in Vantage's case, this scaling is achieved by arbitrarily multiplying the geometric sub-score mean by 214.65. That scaling factor is supposed to represent an average test system of the day (a system that's now close to a decade behind the times). PCMark 7 improves on this by creating a unique system-dependent scaling factor and newer trace technology. Why bother including this metric, then? A lot of folks prefer Vantage in spite of or because of the cartoonish scores and widespread adoption.
Corsair's Neutron reclaims the top rung from Plextor's drive, though the differences are quite small and very few PCMarks separate the best of the best. The Seagate 600 lands ever so slightly ahead of the Vector to wrench third place away from OCZ.