We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA File System benchmark module. This test's method of hard disk performance analysis it what we would consider a "light duty" consumer-level evaluation tool. The folks in IT would have your head for recommending a drive based solely on SANDRA File System test results. However, the benchmark is a popular utility within the performance PC enthusiast community and it does give a decent quick swag at high-level throughput characteristics of the total storage subsystem, which of course includes HD controllers and other associated system components.
SANDRA's Read Performance tests show some surprising levels of parity for the Gigabyte i-RAM. The reading scores were 135-136 MB/s for each test, placing it well above the results for a single SATA drive. Comparing the i-RAM to a pair of Western Digital SE16's in RAID 0 is a mixed bag, however. Random Read speeds were double for the i-RAM over the RAID configuration, yet barely over 10MB/s better in sequential testing, and not even comparable performance in buffered reads due to the fast 16MB cache found in these drives.
Write Performance Tests were, for the most part, a mirroring of what we found with the read scores. Again the i-RAM runs pretty consistently at all three tests, and easily outpaces the Seagate Barracuda. And once again, the RAID 0 combination of SE16 drives has numbers that fall to either side of the i-RAM's performance levels. Random write scores are lower, but sequential and especially buffered writing bandwidth is better with the RAID configuration.
SANDRA's Drive Index is the final measurement of the drive's performance. Overall, the Gigabyte i-RAM came out on top at 131MB/s - almost exactly the same score that can be found in SANDRA's internal database. Our RAID 0 setup was 28MB/s lower, roughly a 20% lower score than the i-RAM. A single SATA drive may be the cheapest and easiest solution when building a PC, but it only scored a meager 37MB/s in SANDRA, almost 100MB/s slower than the i-RAM.