Intel X25-M 80GB SSD, Intel Ups The Ante

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PCMark Vantage HDD Testing

Next we ran the new Intel SSD through a battery of tests in PCMark Vantage from Futuremark Corp. We specifically used only the HDD Test module of this benchmark suite to evaluate all of the drives we tested. Feel free to consult Futuremark's white paper on PCMark Vantage for an understanding of what each test component entails and how it calculates its measurements. For specific information on how the HDD Test module arrives at its performance measurements, we'd encourage you to read pages 35 and 36 of the white paper.

Futuremark's PCMark Vantage

We really like PCMark Vantage's HDD Performance for its real-world application measurement approach to testing.  From simple Windows Vista start-up performance to data streaming from a disk drive in a game engine and video editing with Windows Movie Maker, we feel confident that these tests best illustrate the real performance profile of our SSDs in an end user/consumer PC usage model.

Let's put things into perspective here first.  Obviously, this graph is what we in the industry call a "chart surfer's delight".  In other words, you don't have to read a single word of text on this page to see how the Intel X25-M SSD dominated all other drives that we tested, including of course the WD VelociRaptor, in this series of tests.  The metric PCMark Vantage rates here is MB/sec of available bandwidth to handle each of these specific standard desktop application workloads.  Obviously Intel's bars are significantly longer than all the others, but if we do the math, the 80GB Intel SSD is offering over two times the available bandwidth versus even the fastest competitive SSD from OCZ, which in reality is actually a re-branded Samsung product. 

The margin of gain with the Intel SSD is unmistakably huge.  However, we should note that, for example, when we actually imaged each of the SSDs tested with a clean Windows Vista SP1 installation, and then measured boot times manually, we observed that all SSDs in this group booted Vista to a desktop in a little under 20 seconds.  The Intel SSD did seem to shave a second or two off boot time but it wasn't nearly as prominent as these Vantage HDD test bar graphs suggest.  That said, we'd offer that you should interpret the available upside bandwidth with the Intel X25-M as offering room for growth.  For example, as your drive becomes loaded up with data or you install applications that may require OS start-up support in Vista, you'd likely find that the Intel SSD would offer more throughput.  This same correlation can be drawn for all of the other tests here as well.

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