Testing hard disks can be difficult, especially when using such a hard disk intensive operative system as Windows Vista 64-bit - give it thirty seconds and it's spun your hard drives up to handily defragment or index them - not exactly what you want when trying to ascertain a hard drive's peak performance.
The problem only gets bigger when testing solid state drives - Vista has been written for mechanical drives and many of its optimisations favour the more conventional technology. As we wanted to test out of the box performance we've tested all three drives "as is," but there's a whole community out there dedicated to tweaking Vista for improved SSD performance - you can check out a lot of the tips over at the OCZ forums
To get a decent idea of drive performance across the three SSDs in a variety of real world circumstances we tested each independently using a variety of tools. HDTach 3.040 gives us a good idea of theoretical drive performance, FC-Test’s intensive file transfer abilities give us a good idea of real world drive performance, and our image editing suite should expose any problems in the disk controller being unable to keep up with read/writer instructions - something cheaper SSDs are prone to.
We also wanted to see if these disks provide any real world performance advantages, so cloned an install of Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit onto each and then timed the resulting boot times before also timing Crysis
In order to maintain good benchmarking practice, each test was performed five times with the highest and lowest scores discarded and the remaining three results averaged.
To give some perspective in comparison to the mechanical drives that likely populate almost eveyone's current machine, we've also tested three mechanical drives; A 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11, a 250GB Segate Barracuda 7200.10 and a 150GB Western Digital
10,000RPM Raptor. We feel these provide a decent spectrum of the wide array of mechanical drives out there no matter what your budget.
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 (operating at 3.00GHz – 9x333MHz);
- Gigabyte GA-X38-DS5 motherboard (Intel X38 Express);
- 2x 1GB OCZ FlexXLC PC-6400 memory (operating in dual-channel at DDR2-800 with 5-5-5-15-2T timings);
- PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W PSU;
- Windows Vista Home Premium x86-64;
- Intel inf 8.3.0 WHQL.