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Futuremark PCMark 8

Futuremark PCMark 8 contains a special disk subsystem benchmark. It is not a synthetic test but is based on real-life applications. This benchmark reproduces typical disk usage scenarios and measures how fast they are performed. Compared to PCMark 7, it features more scenarios based on Adobe and Microsoft applications as well as games. The result is calculated as the average speed across all of the subtests.

We run PCMark 8 on steady-state SSDs, just as they are going to be used in actual computers. Their performance in this case is affected not only by their controller or flash memory speed but also by the efficiency of their internal algorithms that fight performance degradation.

As opposed to the synthetic benchmarks, PCMark 8 emulates real-life loads by reproducing prerecorded disk activity traces. It provides a notion of what users will get from a particular SSD in practical applications.

Intel’s new flagship does well here. The 480GB version is almost as fast as the leader Samsung 840 Pro whereas the 240GB model is just as good as the best SSDs from OCZ, Plextor and SanDisk. This is partially due to the specifics of PCMark 8 which focuses on emulating applications that read a lot of data from the disk. Such loads are favorable for the Intel 730 as is reflected in the results. That's in fact the real-life disk load you have when you use your SSD to install the OS and applications.

The overall PCMark 8 results are the average of the individual subtests, so let’s check the latter out, too.

The Intel 730 480GB is among the fastest SSDs for desktop computers while its lower-capacity cousin performs worse. The 240GB version is inferior to the Marvell and Indilinx-based flagship SSDs in Word, PowerPoint and InDesign. In Photoshop the Intel 730 480GB is downright slow, only outperforming the old SandForce-based Intel 530 model.

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