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Solid State put to the test - Team 16GB 2.5-inch IDE Solid State Drive - Test System Setup

Large, heavy, and fragile - we look at why hard disk drives are quickly becoming outdated by solid state drives (SSD).

| SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 24, 2007 4:00 am

Test System Setup

 

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 @ 2.66GHz (266MHz FSB x 10 at 1:1) (Supplied by Intel)

 

Motherboard: Gigabyte P965-DQ6 (Supplied by Gigabyte)

 

Memory: 2x 1GB Kingston DDR2-1000 Hyper-X @ DDR-800

 

Hard Disk: 4 x Seagate 7200.10 320GB SATA II (16MB cache buffer) in RAID 10

 

Graphics Card: XFX GeForce 7900GS (Supplied by XFX)

 

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Edition

 

Drivers: Latest Vista updates, Intel INF 8.1.1.1010 and JMicron R1.17.11

 

When we first started testing the SSD, we thought we were experiencing some issues not initially knowing what type of read and write speeds to expect.

 

We were expecting to max out the Ultra ATA 100 interface of 100MB/s or at least come close to it but we found the drive came well off the mark. After contacting Team Group for some clarification, we were told that the flash modules and controller chip inside are limited in read and write speeds. Team said we should expect around 20 to 25MB/s in most benchmarks, which is far shy of the 100MB/s that the bus interface is capable of delivering. So, even if we were testing with the faster SATA interface, it is unlikely that we would see any performance increases. Nevertheless, we updated all the hard disk controllers in the test system with the latest drivers. It did not make much difference and we noted the same speeds when testing on a Windows XP system.

 

The thing to remember with SSD is that while the read and write speeds are not as impressive as regular hard disk drives, access and seek times are basically nil. This means that any system application which is not dependent on fast read and write transfer speeds, is going to see a good boost in performance, but that is difficult to test and prove in benchmarks. Windows boot times are quicker with SSD and it is emphasized further with no spin up time. Since the access time of data is so quick, things feel much snappier. For instance, if you would place the swap file on an SSD, which is not so dependent on read and write transfer speeds, you will see performance improvements.

 

We tested using a number of hard drive benchmarks such as SiSoft Sandra, HD Speed, HD Tach and so on but they all delivered consistent results. As such, we have only used HD Tach which is able to show us not only transfer speeds but also burst speed, random access time, and CPU usage. We also threw in a file copy test for good measure that demonstrates real-world performance figures.

 

 

If you trust Windows transfer speed calculations (which you should not) it would indicate that the Team SSD is capable of write speeds of around 16 to 17MB/s, as you can see above.

 

 

Above are some performance figures which were recently tested by Team engineers. Take note that read speeds are considerably faster than write speeds (something which is always attributed to flash memory) and when the IDE interface is changed to USB 2.0, we see a reduction in transfer speeds. That is interesting considering that Hi-Speed USB is capable of 480Mb/s (or 60MB/s).

 

With all that out of the way and with a brand new SSD in hand for the very first time, let us move onto our own benchmarks and see what we have here. For comparison we will be comparing against a Seagate 7200.10 320GB SATA desktop hard drive (single config, non-RAID connected to Intel ICH8R southbridge) and Hi-Speed USB 2.0 pen drive from Crucial, which is the fastest pen drive that we have tested. Our previous tests show the Seagate Momentus 5400.3 notebook hard drive as being around 35% slower than the Seagate 7200.10 at read speeds.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320 GB SATA Hard Drive

 

Further Reading: Read and find more Storage content at our Storage reviews, guides and articles index page.

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