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Can Bargain SSDs Give Windows A Quantum Performance Leap?

Benchmark Results: CrystalDiskMark

As mentioned before, CrystalDiskMark is a handy tool when you just want a quick idea of raw throughput performance. There are three basic tests within the benchmark: sequential reads/writes and then random reads/writes in both 4KB and 512KB sizes. I set the parameters to run three 500MB tests.

Now things start to get interesting. Beating its own promise, Intel’s G2 actually delivers sequential reads exceeding its own peak specifications. In turn, Transcend does a respectable job of hitting almost 189 MB/s. Observe that the VelociRaptor is actually faster than the Kingston on sequential reads, supposedly one of the key strengths of all SSDs. Once we turn to random reads, though, it’s all over for the WD drive. The seek times inherent in hard drive architecture doom HDDs to an unavoidable drubbing. Observe that while the gap from low (Kingston) to high (Intel) is over 2:1 on sequential reads, the delta narrows markedly on random reads.

Writes are well-known as the Achilles' heel of SSDs, and while updates such as TRIM, supported only by the Intel G2 drive among our three SSD contenders, help on this front, the VelociRaptor finally gets a chance to bite into its flash-based foes. Not even the G2 can beat it.

This test clearly shows the advances made in late-model SSDs. Even with its optimized JMicron controller, Transcend and Intel blow Kingston off the map, in part probably because of cache and memory channel advantages. This is what an extra $100 buys you these days. If sequential writes are a big part of your everyday usage, go hard disk. If random writes are more up your alley, though, the G2 drive proves that TRIM support really does pay off and now firmly establishes SSD dominance over HDD, at least on raw performance. Whether that performance is still worthwhile when weighed against capacity and price will depend on your own situation.