|Silicon Power 32GB SLC SATA-II SSD|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 08 November 2008|
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SSD Testing Methodology
EDITORS NOTE: Please read Solid State Drive (SSD) Benchmark Performance Testing to understand how the benchmarks used in this article should be interpreted.
Solid State Drives have traveled a long winding course to finally get where they are today. Up to this point in technology, there have been several key differences separating Solid State Drives from magnetic rotational Hard Disk Drives. While the DRAM-based buffer size on desktop HDD's has recently reached 32 MB and is ever-increasing, there is still a hefty delay in the initial response time. This is one key area in which flash-based Solid State Drives continually dominates because they lack moving parts to "get up to speed".
However the benefits inherent to SSD's have traditionally fallen off once the throughput begins, even though data reads or writes are executed at a high constant rate whereas the HDD tapers off in performance. This makes the average transaction speed of a SSD comparable to the data burst rate mentioned in HDD tests, albeit usually lower than the HDD's speed.
Benchmark Reviews is aware that all Intel ICH9/9R and ICH10/10R chipsets featured on 3- and 4- series motherboards exhibit a bandwidth limit defect for most SSDs of approximately 80MBps when not operating in ACHI mode (BIOS configuration). Since the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard we used for testing also comes equipped with a JMicron JMB363 SATA controller for two additional SATA-II ports, all tests were conducted using this drive controller.
Comparing a Solid State Disk to a standard Hard Disk Drives is always relative; even if you're comparing the fastest rotational spindle speeds. One is going to be many times faster in response (SSD's), while the other is usually going to have higher throughput bandwidth (HDD's). Additionally, there are certain factors which can effect the results of a test which we do our best to avoid.
Nevertheless there will be some tests which will not be completely representative of the individual product tested, but a combination of the product and supporting system hardware. An excellent example of such a test is the write-to bandwidth benchmarks, which rely on other system components to force data onto the drive along with the bus bandwidth to support it. This dependency on system hardware is why you will see Benchmark Reviews place an emphasis on read bandwidth over write tests.