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Performance in Games

3DMark 06

As opposed to the gaming tests (see below) we measure the time it takes to load the main 3DMark 06 window here. Still, we can see that the hybrid disk configurations are twice as fast as the HDD, the pure SSD being almost three times as fast as the HDD.

This test shows that Smart Response technology is good not only for the subsequent runs of the application but also on average. The hybrid subsystems are all inferior to the pure SSD but the Smart Response configurations are obviously ahead of the HighPoint-based ones despite taking somewhat longer to load the application for the first time.

By the way, while the results of the Smart Response configurations are predictable (the configuration with the faster SSD is ahead; the configuration with the slower SSD and the minimum cache size is the slowest), the HighPoint-based setups do not perform as expected. The seemingly fastest configuration (Capacity mode with selective caching) turns out to be the slowest whereas the Safe mode with automatic caching is for some reason the most effective here.

3Dmark Vantage

This application is loaded much faster than the older 3DMark version discussed above. The effect from using an SSD instead of an HDD is conspicuous but smaller.

As opposed to 3DMark, we don’t see anything odd about the results. As in many other tests we’ve seen, the HighPoint configurations have a better average result thanks to loading the application faster on the first run but the subsequent runs negate this advantage.

The Smart Response configuration with the fast Larson Creek SSD is slower than the other configurations based on Smart Response technology which may be due to its smaller cache size.

X3: Terran Conflict

You can see the game settings in the screenshot.

The SSD and hybrid disk configurations do not have a crucial advantage with this type of applications. Anyway, we can note that the HighPoint-based configurations are ahead of the Smart Response ones, and not only due to their faster first run.

The HighPoint-based subsystem with selective caching is ahead of the pure SSD connected to the chipset controller. This indicates that the Marvell chip can be faster than the Intel Z68 chipset in some scenarios.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

You can see the game settings in the screenshot.

The SSD and hybrid disks do not improve the loading time of this game, either. On the other hand, we can note that the hybrid subsystems (except for the HighPoint controller in Safe mode and the Smart Response configuration with the Larson Creek SSD) are but slightly slower than the pure SSD.

Crysis

You can see the game settings in the screenshot.

As opposed to the previous two games, the effect from using a pure SSD or a hybrid disk subsystem is conspicuous in Crysis.

The pure SSD is of course the fastest, being almost four times as fast as the conventional HDD.

The three Smart Response configurations go neck and neck here. They have the same results in each run of the test and they are all about three times as fast as the conventional HDD.

The HighPoint controller produces rather odd results in the Capacity mode. It is the closest to the pure SSD with automatic caching but slows down with selective caching. The loading time even increased with each subsequent run after we enabled selective caching!

These oddities cannot be written off as some problems with drivers or anything because the selective caching configuration was tested right after the automatic caching one which had been free from that problem. The OS and drivers were the same, so the only difference was that we had cached all test data to the SSD before the test.

Interestingly, the fast loading of data from the SSD or hybrid configurations affected the overall speed of the game with Crysis whenever our testbed lacked system memory (the memory amount installed in our testbed is not enough for a heavy 3D game). With the HDD, the game's frame rate was about 15 fps whereas the SSD and hybrid configurations increased it to about 50 fps. Well, system memory doesn't cost much today, so installing an extra 4 gigabytes of system RAM is going to be cheaper than buying a cheap single-platter HDD, let alone an SSD.

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

You can see the game settings in the screenshot.

The last 3D game that we used for our tests loads the scene faster with the SSD or hybrid disk configurations. The difference between the pure SSD and hybrid disks is small but larger than in Call of Pripyat.

The HighPoint-based configurations are faster on average but, like in many previous tests, this is largely due to their faster first run of the test.

 
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