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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.

The PCMark 7 score is a good guide for people who don’t want to delve into technicalities but need a simple illustration of relative performance of different SSDs. Here, this benchmark changes our opinion about the new SSDs. Although we praised the high performance of the Vertex 4 series after the synthetic benchmarks, they do not look so good in PCMark 7 which is based on real-life disk usage scenarios. The resulting score is low because of the low speed of sequential reading, which is one of the most popular file access methods in ordinary applications. As a result, the new SSDs from OCZ are slower than the SandForce-based SSDs with synchronous flash as well as the Corsair Performance Pro with its Marvell 88S9174 controller.

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:

There is no test in which the OCZ Vertex 4 is as impressive as in the synthetic benchmarks. Unfortunately, this SSD is no better than its predecessor Vertex 3 in real usage scenarios. At least, that’s what PCMark 7 says. Let’s see what the other tests can tell us.

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