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Intel NAS Performance Toolkit

Intel NASPT is another disk sub-system test that uses real-life usage scenarios. Like PCMark 7, Intel NASPT reproduces predefined disk activity traces and measures how fast they are executed. However, the default traces are designed for network attached storage devices rather than for SSDs. Therefore during our test session we replace them with the specially developed SSD Benchmarking Suite which offers more relevant usage scenarios such as compressing and decompressing files, compiling large projects, copying files and folders, loading 3D game levels, installing software, batch-processing photos, searching a digital library for data, mass-launching applications, and transcoding video.

Like PCMark 7, this benchmark gives us a true-to-life illustration of disk subsystem performance. Here the SSDs are again tested in their “steady” state.

The SSDs with SF-2281 controller are all very close to each other in the diagram with the exception of the Intel 520, confirming our point that it’s hard to see a practical difference between SandForce SSDs with synchronous flash. Intel NASPT thinks that such products are faster than the Crucial m4 but worse than the Samsung 830, Plextor M3 and Intel 520. It is in the individual benchmarking traces that we can see the SandForce-based SSDs differ more or less conspicuously.

Note that the data-transfer rate is higher than the SATA III interface bandwidth in some subtests. That’s because INASPT is a high-level test that uses standard Windows functions to access the disk subsystem. As a result, the OS caching mechanisms also affect the results.

There are only a few scenarios where the Force GS differs noticeably from the Force GT, the latter being a typical representative of SSDs with second-generation SandForce controller and synchronous flash memory. The examples are the test of copying a folder with lots of files to the SSD and the software installation test. The Force GT is faster in them. The Force GS is ahead in the gaming test (a popular 3D shooter loading save files and new levels).

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