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Is A SATA 3Gb/s Platform Still Worth Upgrading With An SSD?

Real-World Benchmark System And Software

Beyond our normal synthetic benchmarks, we also wanted to add some real-world metrics. This time, we'll switch over to Windows 8 Professional 64-bit to contrive a handful of workloads that might apply to your daily life. Does data rate matter to these basic tasks?

Real-World Benchmarks

  1. Booting up Windows 8. The clock starts when the POST screen vanishes and stops when the Windows desktop appears.
  2. Shutting down Windows 8. After Windows 8 runs for three minutes, we shut it down and start the clock. The clock stops once the system powers off.
  3. Booting up Windows 8 and Adobe Photoshop. After Windows 8 boots up, a script starts the image editor Adobe Photoshop CS6 and loads a photo with a resolution of 15,000x7,266 pixels and a size of 15.7 MB. Once this is complete, Adobe Photoshop is closed. The clock starts after the POST screen and stops when Adobe Photoshop closes. We perform this benchmark five times.
  4. Five applications. After booting up Windows 8, a script starts five different applications. The clock starts when the first application launches and stops when the last one closes. We perform this benchmark five times as well.

Script for the Five-Application Benchmark

  • Load a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and then close Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • Start the Autodesk 3ds Max 2013 command line renderer and render a picture with a resolution of 100x50 pixels. The picture is so small because we’re benchmarking the SSD, not the CPU.
  • Start the built-in ABBYY FineReader 11 benchmark and convert a test page.
  • Start the built-in MathWorks MATLAB benchmark and execute it once.
  • Start Adobe Photoshop CS6 and load the same picture used in the third real-world benchmark, but in the original TIF format with a resolution of 29,566x14,321 pixels and a size of 501 MB.

Real-World Benchmark System

Benchmark System Hardware
HardwareDetails
MotherboardIntel DX79SI, Chipset: Intel X79 Express, BIOS: 280B
ProcessorIntel Core i7-3690X Extreme Edition (32 nm Sandy Bridge-E), 6C/12T, 3.3 GHz, 6 x 256 KB L2 Cache, 15 MB Shared L3 Cache, 130 W TDP, 3.9 GHz max. Turbo Boost
Memory4 x 4 GB DDR3-1333, Kingston KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX
SSD System DriveSamsung 840 Pro, 256 GB, Firmware DXM04B0Q, SATA 6 Gbit/s
Power SupplySeasonic X-760, SS-760KM Active PFC F3
Benchmarks
Benchmark Software3ds Max 2013 FineReader 11 Matlab 2012b Photoshop CS6 PowerPoint 2010
Benchmark System Software and Drivers
Software / DriverDetails
Operating SystemWindows 8 x64 Pro

  • Combat Wombat
    Far Out! I didnt realise there was such a big difference between my Raptor, and a Samsung's 840,

    Thanks toms, Samsung will get a few hundred out of me next pay day. :P
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    I have been using an M4(on SATA 3gigabit/sec) on my older media center as a boot drive and for some games. The difference from the hard drive it replaced was massive. The old hard drive is still great for storing media and files.
    Reply
  • DarkSable
    This... was a kind of stupid test. Of COURSE an SSD is a good thing even on a SATA II connection.

    Does Tom's not remember the early days of SSDs, when everyone wanted one and noone could afford one? There was no such thing as SATA III back then, and if SSDs didn't give a benefit, nobody would have payed attention with how expensive they were.
    Reply
  • LordConrad
    Even With SATA 3Gb/s, An SSD Makes Sense
    I could've told you that. I put a OCZ Vertex 2 in my HP dv6t-2100 laptop a while ago and the difference was like night and day. SATA II is definitely SSD worthy!
    Reply
  • Onus
    This article measured what was intuitively obvious. My primary system's boot drive is a 3Gb/s mSATA Crucial M4; I've felt no need to upgrade. Just today I put a 128GB 6 Gb/s SSD on an old 790GX board, and the difference is amazing.
    Reply
  • rdc85
    IMO It well worth it, if u had the budget... (even it in sata2 mode)

    still the price is the issue...
    hope the price will continue to decline, so it became affordable for (most of) everyone....
    Reply
  • CommentariesAnd More
    Yes it is
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    Combat WombatFar Out! I didnt realise there was such a big difference between my Raptor, and a Samsung's 840,Thanks toms, Samsung will get a few hundred out of me next pay day.
    Any SSD on 3Gb/s kill Raptors outright. Even my older X25-M does due to the sheer IOPS compared to a Raptor or any mechanical HDD.

    I do need to upgrade but not for the speed, mostly for size. 80GB is not enough even for OS and a few apps. I have messed with everything from a SATA II SSD to a PCIe SSD (Revo 3) and as long as you are on SATA II or better its going to be more than fast enough.

    But that said, I might just wait for Broadwell and SATA Express.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    1. This test feels kind of incomplete. What i felt was the right comparison was to add a native SATA2 SSD on a SATA2 port, and then compare it to a SATA3 drive on a SATA2 port.

    2. The startup and shutdown times will increase once you start adding softwares to the system. Specially, an Antivirus (kaspersky internet security) makes me weep on startup on a mechanical disc.

    3. Kind of stupid question : Will overclocking the CPU improve the startup/shutdown times, now that the storage bottleneck is largely removed ?

    4. Can we have the time taken by each system to install all the Windows updates, just after the fresh install ?
    Reply
  • coolbz
    DarkSableThis... was a kind of stupid test. Of COURSE an SSD is a good thing even on a SATA II connection.Does Tom's not remember the early days of SSDs, when everyone wanted one and noone could afford one? There was no such thing as SATA III back then, and if SSDs didn't give a benefit, nobody would have payed attention with how expensive they were.
    This article does give very important guideline, where people evaluate different upgrade options. Conclusion is, you don't need to replace a SATA2 computer with SATA3 computer for the mere of SSD speed benefit.

    Reply