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.
The PCMark 7 score is a good guide for users who want to see how SSDs perform in typical applications without delving into technical details. The Intel SSD 520 drive is second here and but slightly slower than the OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS which has Toggle NAND flash. The benefits of the exclusive firmware are indicated by the fact that the Intel drive is ahead of the Corsair Force GT which is identical to it on the hardware level.
Let’s check out the individual tests to get a more detailed picture.
Well, the tests all agree that the Intel SSD 520 is in between the OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and the Corsair Force GT in performance. Just as expected.