by Robert Tanner on March 19, 2010 in Solid-State Drives
Making the decision to upgrade to an SSD isn’t difficult, but finding the “perfect” SSD is a different story thanks to the sheer amount of choice out there; sometimes even from the same vendor! Fortunately, OCZ’s Vertex Turbo delivers a great blend of performance and GB per dollar, making it well worth consideration.
There are few PC enthusiasts who are unfamiliar with the name “Futuremark”, as the Finland-based developer has been producing quality benchmarks to help us gauge our computer’s worth for years. Originally known as Madonion, Futuremark has expanded its focus to go beyond its bread and butter, graphics and gaming, and tackle other areas, such as full system performance. That’s where PCMark comes into play.
The company’s most recent addition to the PCMark family is Vantage. For most users, a full suite would be run, but because we’re focused on storage performance only, we instead run only the storage-specific tests. Fortunately, Futuremark makes this easy for us to do as it has split up the entire suite into seven separate sub-tests, one being the aptly named “HDD Suite”.
PCMark’s HDD Suite may look simple on the surface, but it’s actually quite exhaustive. While the benchmark does deliver a simple “overall” result, it actually tests I/O performance based on a variety of scenarios, from adding music to Windows Media Player, to loading applications in succession, to editing video, to running a malware scanner, and more. It even includes metrics to evaluate a simulated Windows Vista boot time, so Futuremark has done a fine job of combining many useful scenarios into a single button press.
The OCZ Vertex Turbo wades right into the middle of the pack in the overall score, but thanks in part to its blend of high sustained writes and better small file writes (think 4KB sizes) it easily takes the overall HDD Suite score. Taking a closer look at the HDD tests it’s easily obvious the Vertex is all over the charts. While the test results were a little unusual in some graphs, such as the Windows Media Center and video editing tests, they were repeatable. The Vertex seems particularly well suited for any sort of encoding or high bit-rate video tasks.
Of course we can’t forget about the lonely hard disk drive in these charts. One can’t gauge (gage?) how far one has progressed without a clear point of reference and the Seagate Barracuda serves as a good one. It is hard to see just how good SSDs are until you place them side-by-side with a typical desktop drive, and then the differences suddenly became absurd. There just isn’t any other kind of easy, widely available upgrade for the PC that can give these sorts of performance gains today in everyday tasks.
The performance differences between SSDs may seem significant in these charts, but the typical person would be hard pressed to differentiate which SSD was which when placed in their system. The only drive that would stick out loudly during use would be the HDD.