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

Loading A Realm In World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm

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Overall StatisticsWorld of Warcraft: Cataclysm: Realm Loading
Elapsed Time00:18
Read Operations5 727
Write Operations124
Data Read127.58 MB
Data Written1.18 MB
Disk Busy Time0.93 s
Average Data Rate138.15 MB/

Blizzard purposely designed World of Warcraft to have a more modular file system. Updates from Blizzard are distributed as MPQ archives, which are decompressed and extracted to their proper locations. This works well because adding a few files can easily expand the WoW universe.

However, this translates into storing a lot of individual files of varying sizes, which makes for a random I/O workload involving mixed transfer sizes. That’s what we see here when we load to Crushblow.

Random performance on a hard drive is still terrible, which is why WoW gamers are going to experience a bigger speed-up loading a level than Crysis 2 players as they ditch their disks in favor of SSDs.

I/O Trends:

  • 88% of all operations occur at a queue depth of one
  • 62% of all operations are random

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.