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

Launching World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Even though our World of Warcraft: Cataclysm installation monopolizes more than 25 GiB, launching the game is far less storage-intensive than Crysis 2. Our Vertex 3 only has to read about 110 MB to get from the launch button to selecting a realm.

Overall Statistics
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm: Game Launching
Elapsed Time
Read Operations
4 037
Write Operations
Data Read
110.51 MB
Data Written
3.07 MB
Disk Busy Time
0.69 s
Average Data Rate
169.90 MB/

Transfers sizes are scattered between 4, 16, 32, and 128 KB chunks, but almost all of the read operations occur at queue depth of one and are mostly random. This reflects the scattered nature of the World of Warcraft: Catacylsm installation. Files of varying sizes are strewn across the drive. SSDs excel at speeding up random accesses. And as a result, you don’t have queue depths stacking up like you would see on a hard drive.

I/O Trends:

  • 87% of all operations occur at a queue depth of one
  • 55% of all operations are random
  • 27% of operations are 16 KB, 20% are 4 KB, 15% are 32 KB, 7% are 128 KB

Seek DistanceSeek Distance


Transfer SizeTransfer Size

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  • 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.
  • executor2
    I bought my SSD for 2 reasons:
    1. Level loading with dragon age ( which dramatically improved over my 1 TB Samsung F3 , in reality the level loads 2x faster from 1 minute to around 22-28 seconds )
    2. My OS which was transfer to the SSD ( which brought faster windows loading , extremely faster shutdowns , instant application lunch , and better multitasking because i have my browsers on the SSD )

    If any of you don't wanna invest into a SSD believe me , IT IS WORTH IT !
    If you wait for performance to not cost you , you will wait an eternity.

  • feeddagoat
    You should include fallout new vegas, that game seems to spend most of its life loading something or other.
  • From a pure readability point-of-view, it would be helpful to add a small summary chart on the last page that says
    - The more randomly data is accessed, the more performance boost is given by an SSD
    - The higher the queue depth is, the more performance boost is given by an SSD
    - The higher the transfer size is, the more performance boost is given by an SSD
    - The more (less?) write operations you have, the the more (less?) performance boost is given by an SSD

    Otherwise interesting read, thanks!
  • mayankleoboy1
    @ alexisalex
    excellent point. i would like to know that too.

    the end graph is not clear at all. can you add a bigger/better looking graph ?
  • sceen311
    Pretty bad game picks for use of an SSD, once I am in game in Civ5 there is no more loading and those games can go for hourrrrssss. Only time I load in WoW is entering an instance and load times are very bearable. Not sure about crisis2.

    I put Oblivion on my SSD and that was a fantastic idea, there are loading times at least every 20 mins or so in that one, and sometimes within 2 mins. Fallout would be another good one for it, similar load times and all. Witcher would be a good one, I'm wondering about NWN, Dragon Age and the Mass Effect series but it's been a little while since I've played those and can't remember what the load times are like.
  • Shadowgargos
    I would like to see League of Legends included in this benchmark metric, since the game has attracted 15 million users, and even though it's Online, SSD's & HDD's play a crucial roll in load times for the game.
  • icepick314
    how about comparison between drives in RAID 0?

    I imagine since large capacity SSD are VERY expensive, most people use 2 or more middle-of-the-road SSDs in RAID 0 striping method...

    I hear 10000RPM HDDs are very fast in loading when in RAID 0 configuration...

    I imagine in real world situation, 2 of 10000RPM HDDs in RAID 0 are just as fast as 2 of the most SSDs in RAID 0....
  • jacobdrj
    the_krasnoIf 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!

    Meh, the faster I can start Fragging, the better...

    But while I can NOT live without an SSD as a boot drive, I CAN live with my games being on a 3-way RAID-0 of 10,000 RPM Raptors...
  • achoo2
    This article is useless, Andrew. Show me concrete level load-times using a HD and SSD rather than abstract information about IO patterns and leaving me to synthesize possible comparisons.
  • JohnnyLucky
    Interesting article. Confirms what users have been reporting.
  • I still dont get it. Does it smoothen the stuttering in games? But if you save the money, and get a better GPU, there wouldn't be stuttering in the first place now would there?
  • Results of loading maps for Battlefield Badcompany 2 would be nice.
    Maybe even for DX9 and DX11 as there is noticable difference in startup speed of two on some PCs.
    Keep up the good work.
  • monkeysweat
    Gamer-girlGameplay: Nearly all writes.Doesn't this reduce the life of a SSD?

    so does driving your car, but I bought my car to drive, so i'm gonna drive it,, may last me 5 years, may last me 50

    I bought an SSD,, it should last 5-10 years regardless of the consumer usage, when was the last time you used a hard drive for that long before you moved on to something faster & bigger? I think anyone worried about the life of newer SSDs should not be worried anymore with things such as TRIM enabled
  • jixser
    So where's the comparison of load times in game between the 2 drives? Did I just not see it? It's the one thing I came to this article to find out.