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Testbed and Methods

Our testbed was configured as follows:

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 (3.10 GHz, 2x256 KB + 3 MB cache)
  • Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3 (Intel Z68)
  • Hard disk drive: Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS (3 TB, 5900 RPM, SATA II)
  • SSD: Intel SSDSA2CW080G310 (80 GB, 2.5", SATA II)
  • SSD: Intel SSDSA2VP020G201 (20 GB, 2.5", SATA II)
  • Memory module: 1GB DDR3 SDRAM SEC M378B2873GB0-CH9 (PC-10600, 1333 MHz, CL9)
  • Graphics card: HIS HD 3870 IceQ3 Turbo H387Q512NP (Radeon HD 3870)
  • Power supply: Seasonic M12D SS-850EM (850 W)
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1

We use the latest drivers from the manufacturers of our testbed components.

It is the disk subsystem’s speed of reading that determines how responsive a computer is, so we are going to test the speed of loading the OS and various applications, omitting the speed of writing and the performance of those applications.

We will run each test five times with each disk subsystem configuration (an HDD, an SSD and hybrid disks built with Intel Smart Response technology or the HighPoint RocketHybrid 1220 controller working in different modes).

This will help us see the results of Windows 7’s optimizations (Prefetcher and SuperFetch) with the single SSD and HDD and check out how files caching depends on the number of application runs with the hybrid disk (HDD+SDD).

We will benchmark the speed of loading of the following applications:

  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • Microsoft Office 2007 (Word, Excel and PowerPoint)
  • Adobe Photoshop CS 5.1 (64-bit version)
  • Futuremark’s benchmarking suites (PCMark 7, 3DMark 06 and 3DMark Vantage)
  • Demos of the following games: X3: Terran Conflict (Rolling Demo), S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (Benchmark), Crysis SP Demo (using the Crysis Benchmark 0.xx tool), and PT Boats: Knights of the Sea (Benchmark)

With the 2D applications the loading time is counted from launching the application (from the OS loading screen for Windows 7) to the loading of the application’s main window (Desktop for Windows) with all of its interface elements.

With the 3D applications we measure the speed of loading a scene from starting the application up to the appearance of the game scene on the screen (with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat we turn our stopwatch on right after the system configuration analysis screen).

We round off our measurements to seconds (towards the closest integer).

The following disk subsystem configurations will be tested:

  • HDD only: Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS (3 TB, 5900 RPM, SATA II)
  • SSD only: Intel SSDSA2CW080G310 (80 GB, 2.5", SATA II)
  • HDD+SSD with Intel Smart Response in Enhanced mode and the capacity of the caching SSD set at 18.6 GB (the minimum capacity with Smart Response): Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS + Intel SSDSA2CW080G310
  • HDD+SSD with Intel Smart Response in Enhanced mode and the capacity of the caching SSD set at 64 GB (the maximum capacity with Smart Response): Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS + Intel SSDSA2CW080G310
  • HDD+SSD with Intel Smart Response in Maximized mode and the capacity of the caching SSD set at 19 GB (this is the full capacity of that SSD): Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS + Intel SSDSA2VP020G201 (Larson Creek)
  • HDD+SSD connected to the HighPoint RocketHybrid 1220 controller in Safe mode with automatic data caching: Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS + Intel SSDSA2CW080G310
  • HDD+SSD connected to the HighPoint RocketHybrid 1220 controller in Capacity mode with automatic data caching: Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS + Intel SSDSA2CW080G310
  • HDD+SSD connected to the HighPoint RocketHybrid 1220 controller in Capacity mode with selective caching of test application data to the SSD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS + Intel SSDSA2CW080G310
 
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