When it comes to gaming, the owner of a faster disk subsystem will surely enjoy faster loading of game applications, levels and saves. That's obvious, so let’s instead check out the influence of the disk and memory subsystems on the gameplay proper, i.e. on the frame rate.
As a matter of fact, we tried a number of games for this review and never met any game that wouldn't be satisfied with 4 gigabytes of RAM. Thus, modern gaming applications are unlikely to use the swap file on a typical PC configuration. Here are the numbers:
As you can see, there is no dependence of the frame rate on the speed of the disk or amount of system memory. Note that both the average and bottom frame rate is the same, indicating that all data fits comfortably into system memory. The games do not have to load data from the disk as long as you stay within the same game level.
Well, you can feel the benefits of a fast disk or a large amount of memory in games if you change your usage model. If you use your computer as a gaming console, there is no need for an SSD and 8 gigabytes of RAM. But if you are playing a game while running some programs in the background, the situation may be different. It is different even if the game and the background application both fit into system memory.
To illustrate this, we measured the frame rate of Far Cry 2 while running HandBrake in the background to encode HD video. These programs were not larger than 4 gigabytes, yet the faster disk and additional memory increased the bottom frame rate considerably.
Although the average frame rate is unaffected, the background activities may provoke slowdowns in the game you are playing. You need a faster disk or more memory to avoid that.