SSD Caching: PCMark Vantage
Caching is a fickle technology to benchmark because its performance gains depend on the movement of frequently-used data from one slower storage medium to a faster repository. This means monitoring performance over time. As a result, we're going to toss out our typical SSD benchmark suite and turn to application-level testing. However, we're going to start off with the older PCMark Vantage, since it's more sensitive to hard drive-esque performance. This makes it ideally suited for examining the effects of SSD caching.
Overall, the RevoDrive Hybrid outperforms Intel's Smart Response Technology. But the individual suites within PCMark Vantage really highlight the specific differences. Nvelo's Dataplex has a catch-all policy to data caching, whereas Intel's algorithm tries to avoid caching large chunks of data read sequentially, assuming that sort of usage pattern is only going to be touched once by the user. That's why, we surmise, SRT doesn't help improve performance in the TV and Movies suite.
Looking at the graphs, it's clear that the performance benefit of caching is much more dramatic on the RevoDrive Hybrid. It nearly happens all at once. Compare this to the Z68, where there's a slow and steady improvement. No matter the solution you analyze, though, you need three or four runs in order to experience the boost of performance enabled by caching.
This graph helps illustrate that caching with an SSD is in no way equivalent to unleashing the full potential of an SSD. While the RevoDrive Hybrid brings an impressive six-fold jump in performance, it's still not as fast as running a SSD on its own. If you manually manage storage space between a SSD and hard drive, it's possible to achieve 50% more performance than the potential of a PCIe-based RevoDrive Hybrid.