Finally, we reach the first of our real-world tests where there are no unusual testing or scoring algorithms to leave us scratching our heads, just simple tests to see how an SSD changes actual system performance.
For the File Transfer test we took a 4.5GB archive and timed how much time was required to transfer the file to another destination on the same drive. Keep in mind that with a hard disk, this requires the actuator arm to seek back and forth between the source and destination sectors of the disk platter, while any SSD can concurrently read and write to separate flash chips at once.
As SSD capacity is lowered write speed pays the highest price, and this aligns with the sequential write performance seen in this test. The Dataplex caching software was active even for something as basic as a file transfer, otherwise performance would have been much more similar to the only other mechanical hard drive in our graph.
With Adobe Lightroom, importing image files with “Copy” simply acts like a file transfer, exactly like our previous test. Rather than simply time how long it takes to create a duplicate set of 500 RAW files we elected to choose the “Copy as DNG” import option. This will convert the NEF files (Nikon’s equivalent to RAW) into the Digital Negative standard while importing them to its image library.
This test was not particularly effective as Adobe Lightroom 3.4 only spawns two threads, meaning that even with the power of a Core i7 that has eight threads available, the CPU was still the main bottleneck. When Adobe deems fit to update Lightroom to take advantage of more threads we will see a real need for faster storage here, as such a task as this is perfectly suited for high thread parallelization and SSDs with a high queue depth. We kept this test in our review to illustrate that most programs don’t support the threads required to properly take advantage quad-core processors, let alone fully utilize SSD technology.
Again, the Dataplex software has no trouble caching the gigabytes of data involved here, allowing OCZ’s Hybrid to deliver decent levels of performance, especially compared to a lone mechanical hard drive.