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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.

Although INASPT and PCMark 7 are of similar nature and basically measure the time it takes to process a number of preset scenarios, they produce very different results. In our opinion, INASPT results are of greater significance, because this test and the usage scenarios in it are adjusted specifically for the solid state drives.

I have to say that INASPT considers Marvell 88SS9174 controller a higher performing solution than the Futuremark benchmark. Corsair Performance Pro wins the first place here, while Plextor M3S runs as fast as OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS. Crucial m4 also looks very good in this test demonstrating slightly higher results than Corsair Force GT. The secret behind this test running better on Marvell 88SS9174 based SSDs is in the fact that INASPT emulates the least favorable situation for SandForce controllers by working with files containing random incompressible data.

The detailed INASPT results help us see what usage scenarios are the most suitable for our today’s testing participants. Take 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.

It is pretty interesting that the total score winner, Corsair Performance Pro, is the fastest only in two tests out of twelve. In other words, its leadership is most likely determined by the fact that in any type of usage scenario its performance is at a decent level without any serious drops. So, it turns out to be an excellent option for general-purpose use, which will fit perfectly into any desktop system.

Overall, SSDs with Marvell 88SS9174 controller are particularly fast in applications using a lot of streaming writes: saving large files, installing programs, processing video.

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