We use a mixture of real-world and synthetic benchmarks to quantify storage performance in our reviews. But how do you know our methodology is sound? We decided to test several workstation-oriented apps in order to generate real-world performance data.
Although storage benchmarks often show that many SSDs offer raw throughput many times better than hard drives, real-world testing isn't always as decisive. Many applications simply cannot take advantage of an SSD's benefits to the same degree as a synthetic metric designed to extract every bit of performance from a storage device.
In general, SSDs post the best results when they're presented to high queue depths. If you check out our Intel SSD 520 review for a better idea of how we're testing solid-state storage in real-world environments, though, you'll notice that desktop-class apps simply do not push the high queue depths needed to most significantly differentiate storage technologies. So, the question becomes: do the tasks you run from an SSD require all, some, or none of the drive's strengths? In some cases, the answer is surprising. Take a virus scan as an example. You'd think that piling up files to check would increase queue depth. But that's simply not the case, according to our office productivity investigation.
Over the past several months, as we've tweaked and optimized our benchmarking suite, we've also broken down the storage performance of many different applications and broken them into a handful of real-world analysis stories unlike anything else available. They include Office Productivity, Entertainment and Content Creation, and two different explorations of gaming behavior.
Today, we round out our evaluation of real-world SSD performance by looking at workstation-oriented tasks. Specifically, we're looking at 3D modeling, CAD, programming, and operating system virtualization.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge), 32 nm, 3.3 GHz, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z68 Extreme4, BIOS v1.4|
|Memory||Kingston HyperX 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V|
|System Drive ||OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.15|
|Graphics||Palit GeForce GTX 460 1 GB|
|Capture Card||Black Magic Intensity Pro|
|Power Supply||Seasonic 760 W, 80 PLUS|
|System Software and Drivers|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit|
|DirectX ||DirectX 11|
- Exploring SSD Performance: Workstation Applications
- LightWave 3D (Modeling): Editing Project
- LightWave 3D (Modeling): Rendering
- AutoCAD: Editing Project
- Visual Studio (Programming): Opening Project
- Visual Studio (Programming): Compiling Code
- MATLAB: Loading Data
- MATLAB: Analyzing Data
- VMware: Operating System Installation
- VMware: Booting
- VMware: Browsing
- Analyzing Workstation Storage Performance