Testbed and Methods
After all those problems we have discussed in the previous section, it is not so easy to find the best way to benchmark SSDs. Of course, we might go the easiest way and “defragment” (i.e. level out) the SSDs by means of sequential reading and writing to all of the SSD’s addresses (as the manufacturers suggest in the reviewer’s guide). But then we would have a refined and unrealistic result. Instead, we use the following method:
- The SSD is leveled out before the test session
- The first test (the low-level test of read speed) is performed under ideal conditions
- The other tests go in the exact same order as listed in this Testbed and Methods section
- The SSDs are given some time (a couple of minutes) to “rest” between the tests
We guess this method will help compare the SSDS under identical conditions and yet produce real-life results.
The following testing utilities were used:
- WinBench 99
- IOMeter 2003.02.15
- FC-Test 1.0
- PCMark 2004
- PCMark 2005
- PCMark Vantage
- Raxco Perfect Disk 8.0
- WinRAR 3.60
- ASUS P5WDG2 WS Pro mainboard
- Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 processor
- IBM DTLA-307015 system disk, 15GB
- Radeon X600 graphics card
- 1GB DDR2-800 SDRAM
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 (and Windows Vista for PCMark Vantage)
We installed the generic OS drivers for the drives and formatted them in FAT32 and NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size. For some tests 32GB partitions were created on the drives and formatted in FAT32 and NTFS with the default cluster size, too. In every test the drives were connected to the mainboard’s ICH7 controller.
We will compare only the four SSDs in IOMeter’s tests but will throw in a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black for the sake of comparison in tests like FC-Test, PCMark and defragmentation which are more important for ordinary users. This HDD seems to us the best of desktop 7200rpm HDDs as it came out the winner of our comparative test session. We do not show you its IOMeter performance because it wouldn’t look good at all in comparison with the SSDs.