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Intel NAS Performance Toolkit

Intel NASPT is another disk sub-system test that uses real-life usage scenarios. Like PCMark 7, Intel NASPT reproduces predefined disk activity traces and measures how fast they are executed. However, the default traces are designed for network attached storage devices rather than for SSDs. Therefore during our test session we replace them with the specially developed SSD Benchmarking Suite which offers more relevant usage scenarios such as compressing and decompressing files, compiling large projects, copying files and folders, loading 3D game levels, installing software, batch-processing photos, searching a digital library for data, mass-launching applications, and transcoding video.

Like PCMark 7, this benchmark gives us a true-to-life illustration of disk subsystem performance. Here the SSDs are again tested in their “steady” state.

Intel NASPT provides a more adequate picture of real-life SSD performance, in our opinion, and the Intel SSD 335 is almost as fast as the Intel SSD 520 here. It also means that the new affordable drive from Intel is ahead of the older one. Although unable to compete with the leaders like the OCZ Vector, Plextor P5 Pro and P5S, the Intel SSD 335 beats such popular solutions as Corsair's Neutron and Crucial's m4. This benchmark proves the benefits of Intel's exclusive firmware, by the way. Any of the Intel SSDs is faster than the Corsair Force GS which is based on the same SandForce SF-2281 controller.

Besides the average benchmark score, we would also like to offer you the results of individual usage scenarios, which will show where Intel SSD 335 can really shine. Note that the data-transfer rate is higher than the SATA III interface bandwidth in some subtests. That’s because INASPT is a high-level test that uses standard Windows functions to access the disk subsystem. As a result, the OS caching mechanisms also affect the results.

Intel’s firmware is optimized for real-life scenarios, so when we switch from synthetic benchmarks to those that simulate the actual use of the disk subsystem Intel SSDs often turn out to be superior to their opponents. Of course, no firmware optimizations can make up for the low writing speed of the SandForce controller, but the Intel SSD 335 is very good when there is a lot of reading to be done. Such scenarios are present in NASPT as well as in reality: software compilation, copying folders from the SSD, launching programs, searching for data, gaming, etc. Summing up, we can say that Intel’s SSD 520 and SSD 330 cannot set any performance records in benchmarks but can hardly disappoint you in real-life usage scenarios.

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