SSD Performance In Crysis 2, World Of Warcraft, And Civilization V

Gameplay In Crysis 2

The 23-minute captured trace from Crysis 2 represents playing through the level Dead Man Walking until Gould performs the suit scan.

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Overall StatisticsCrysis 2: Gameplay
Elapsed Time23:13
Read Operations2 609
Write Operations12 885
Data Read50.58 MB
Data Written1.37 GB
Disk Busy Time4.05 s
Average Data Rate359.23 MB/s

When you're firing up Crysis 2 and loading a level, you're almost exclusively reading data from your drive. Actually playing the game changes this, demonstrating to us an almost all-write environment. Why is this? Once the game and level data are loaded into memory, the system writes a lot of unique data in order to record progress.

Just as interestingly, most operations occur between a queue depth of two and eight. Everyone's style of play differs, but the way we crept through this level was slow-paced stalker-style. If you're the run-and-gun sort, almost none of your accesses will happen at a queue depth of one, since the game is forced to address more commands concurrently.

I/O Trends:

  • 72% of all operations are 128 KB in transfer size
  • 91% of all operations are sequential
  • 35% of all operations occur at a queue depth of one
  • 60% of all operations occur between a queue depth of two and eight

Seek Distance


Transfer Size
  • the_krasno
    If it doesn't improve FPS I don't see competitive gamers adding SSD's to their rigs for nothing but main OS drive.
    Longer loading times are not crucial when all you want is to frag your enemies!
  • Soma42
    This just confirmed what I knew already. I will probably upgrade to a SSD with my next build, but they are still so bloody expensive for the storage they offer. Plus, SSD are supposed to have better reliability compared to magnetic drives.
  • AbdullahG
    If only SDDs were a few cents a GB...
  • Gamer-girl
    Gameplay: Nearly all writes.

    Doesn't this reduce the life of a SSD?
  • crewton
    I took WoW off my SSD for 2 reasons: space and performance. WoW is just way too big of a folder with addons and everything else it was around 35GB and like this article states the start and initial load is really the only benefit. Once you are in the world (of warcraft) it's not used.

    I'd like to see how the witcher stacks up with SSD. You are constantly having to load different areas the entire game so I made sure to have that on the SSD while playing it hoping to reduce the load times. Would like to see if that really paid off or not.
  • Nnymrod
    It's all about the bottleneck, which isn't storage for actually playing a game. That said, SSDs are definitely cool, and I have one.
  • cngledad
    a comparison with a 7200rpm hdd for example will be great.
  • AlexIsAlex
    So it looks to me like game loading and level loading is not significantly hard-disk bound, if the disk is busy for such a short period of time. For example, loading a Crysis 2 level taking 58s, of which the disk is busy for 2.

    Does that mean if you had an infinitely fast disk, the level loading would take 56s? In which case, where is the bottleneck for level loading? Is it CPU bound? (if so, why isn't CPU usage at 100% when loading a level?) Memory? Graphics card?
  • agnickolov
    There was supposed to be a comparison with a 1TB Barracuda, but nothing made it into the article itself. How hard could it be to display two adjacent bars on every graph instead of 1? E.g. red for the SSD and blue for the HDD.
  • celuloid
    Why don't we see how long are those loading times with HDD drive? Maybe we find out 2x faster loading is not worth 30x times more money per GB.