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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 NAS Performance Toolkit is more positive about the SanDisk Extreme than PCMark 7, putting it between the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (32nm Toggle Mode NAND flash) and the Corsair Force GT (25nm synchronous ONFI flash). This agrees with the results of our synthetic benchmarks.

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.

We have different standings in the different scenarios, but there are a number of tasks at which the new SandForce implementation with 24nm Toggle NAND looks better than others. These are such tasks as archiving, copying of a large file from the SSD, gaming, loading of the OS and applications, and video transcoding. Of course, the Intel SSD 520 remains the fastest SSD with SF-2281 controller, yet the SanDisk Extreme looks good among the products with reference firmware.

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