If you've been waiting for some hard figures comparing the relatively inexpensive OCZ Core SSD drive with the extremely popular Western Digital VelociRaptor high-speed mechanical disk, have I got a treat for you.
The guys over at HotHardware
are preparing for another controversial SSD vs magnetic drive group test, and have offered a sneak-peak at the results that may surprise some of you still clinging to the notion that SSDs can't match standard drives for real-world performance in desktop PCs.
The test compared a 64GB OCZ Core SATA II SSD drive to a 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor SATA II mechanical drive, using HDTach and PCMark Vantage on an Asus P5E3 Premium motherboard featuring the Intel X48 chipset. The results give a surprising winner in read performance – the OCZ SSD, which managed 140MB/s sustained transfer rate across its entire 64GB volume and bested the already pretty nippy VelociRaptor by 8 percent.
The story takes a sudden shift when it comes to write performance, however: the SSD drops to 87Mb/s while the VelociRaptor shows almost exactly the same write performance as it did read performance, beating the SSD by a wide margin at almost 130Mb/s. Clearly SSDs are great for data that is often read by seldom written, but you wouldn't want to keep your swapfile on one – longevity issues aside.
The more real-world test of PCMark Vantage showed some impressive figures, too, with the OCZ SSD beating the high-performance VelociRaptor in almost every test thanks to almost instantaneous seek times and that little edge in read performance. Some tests that rely on rapid random access showed almost unbelievable differences in speed: one test involves importing a selection of photographs into the Windows Photo Gallery, and shows the SSD outperforming the VelociRaptor by 280 percent; another test, which simulates gaming activity, shows the OCZ SSD scoring some 602 percent higher than its mechanical counterpart. In fact, the only test in which the VelociRaptor got one over on its opponent was the Windows Media Center [sic] test, in which the mechanical unit scored 20 percent higher.
Although it'll be a while until SSDs hit a similar price-per-gigabyte to mechanical drives, it's clear that those willing to shell out the extra dosh will find their investment paying off pretty quickly - despite what IDC might claim
Is the promise of a 600 percent speed boost when loading game data enough to get you saving up for solid-state technology, or is the price still too much of a sticking point? Share your thoughts over in the forums