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Futuremark PCMark 7

The popular PCMark 7 contains an individual 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 completed in popular applications. Moreover, the disk access commands are not executed as a steady uninterrupted flow, but in a more realistic manner – with certain pauses caused by the need to process the data. The benchmark generates an overall disk subsystem performance rating as well as speed readings in MB/s in individual usage scenarios. Note that the absolute speed in these scenarios is not too high because of the above mentioned pauses between individual input/output operations. In other words, PCMark 7 shows you the speed of the disk subsystem from the application’s point of view. Numbers like that show us not only the pure performance of an SSD, but mostly how big of a performance gain a certain SSD can guarantee in real life.

We ran PCMark 7 on “steady” SSDs, which is what they are going to be in actual computer systems most of the time. 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.

Using compressible files, PCMark 7 is often very positive about SandForce-based SSDs. The Intel SSD 520 even wins this test, beating the opponents that use newer controllers. Intel's affordable SSDs cannot rise above the average level, though. They are also close to each other, suggesting that PCMark 7 cannot find any difference between 20nm and 25nm flash memory.

Now let’s check out the individual tests to get a more detailed picture of what our SSDs are capable of under various types of operational load:

It must be noted that the good showings of the Intel SSDs in terms of overall PCMark 7 scores are due to their high speed in the Gaming and Video Editing traces. Meanwhile, they are far from brilliant in the most important Starting Application trace, which indicates that SSDs like Intel’s 330 and 335 are not really versatile. That said, the new SSD 335 has good market perspectives thanks to its pricing. It is superior to many other offers in terms of its price/performance ratio.

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