It has become clear recently that simply conducting endless benchmarks on SSD drives is pointless. Real users may run a few benchmarks when they first fit their SSD drive, but most users just want a drive that performs well in the real world. They want their drive to work "out of the box" and work fast and smoothly.
Most of the latest SSD drives can deliver very fast sustained reading and writing speeds, but these alone tell you very little about how the drive will perform in the real world.
If you intend to use your SSD as your primary system drive, with an operating system and applications installed and running from the drive, real world performance becomes much more important than just fast sequential read and write speeds.
Real world copy tests
I will now conduct a few real world copy tests. These tests simulate what real people do with their drives. I will be conducting writing tests, using a large single file and a multiple file copy of various file sizes. Then I will round off the tests by copying a folder of MP3 audio files, and also a folder of JPG pictures.
I should point out that this is not a scientific way of measuring performance. These timings were taken with a stop watch; we have however ensured that the reading drive is well able to supply a data stream to our writing drive, which is high enough not to be slowing down the performance of the writing drive.
I will once again be comparing the obtained results with our comparison drives, and will present the results in the form of graphs.
Multiple file copy writing test
For this test I copied the Nero Burning Rom install folder from our review PC to the OCZ RevoDrive X2 240GB SSD, and then copied the contents from the RevoDrive to the Plextor PX-256M2S SSD and our other comparison drives.
Our test copy contained 1,772 files of various sizes with a combined capacity of 307MB.
The Plextor PX-256M2S is pretty impressive in this test, and is the second fastest SSD.
Single large file writing test (7.95GB)
For this test I used a single DVD9 ISO file which had been copied to the OCZ RevoDrive X2 240GB SSD. The file was then copied to the Plextor PX-256M2S SSD and our comparison drives.
The Plextor PX-256M2S with its excellent sequential writing performance pushes the OCZ Vertex 3 close in this test, and once again it is the second fastest SSD.
Write a folder of JPG picture files.
For this test I copied a folder of JPG picture files from our OCZ RevoDrive X2 SSD to the Plextor PX-256M2S SSD, and our other comparison drives. The folder contained 3,714 JPG pictures, with a total capacity of 5.16GB.
Again the PX-256M2S is performing extremely well when writing our folder of JPG picture files.
Write a folder of MP3 audio files.
For this test I copied a folder of MP3 audio files from our OCZ RevoDrive X2 SSD to the Plextor PX-256M2S SSD and our other comparison drives. The folder contained 851 MP3 audio files, with a total capacity of 3.85GB.
The Plextor PX-256M2S had no problems in dealing with our folder of MP3 audio files, and once again has performed extremely well in this test.
In the previous two pages of this article, it was clear that according to our synthetic benchmarks and the IOMeter test results that the Plextor PX-256M2S wasn’t the fastest drive when it had to deal with small random files, however it did compete very well with sequential files, and this is also translated to the real world, where the PX-256M2S has performed extremely well and is overall the second fastest drive in our real world file copying tests.
Windows start-up and closedown
For these tests, I simply used a stop watch and tested the amount of time taken for a full installation of Windows 7 to boot to the desktop, and then timed how long it took for Windows 7 to close down by the normal start menu method.
The timing was started once the BIOS had initialised and reached the “loading OS message”.
Windows 7 boot time
Windows 7 closedown
All the SSDs are very much the same in this test, and any difference is marginal.
Single drive copy tests
These tests are to simulate a single drive in a PC or laptop. In other words, I will copy a series of files from one folder on the tested drive to another folder on the same drive. This means the drive is simultaneously reading and writing during the tests. I also want to make this a realistic test. So I have used a folder or MP3 music files, and then repeated the test with a folder of JPG picture files.
Single drive copy tests – 851 MP3 song files (3.85GB total)
The Plextor PX-256M2S's excellent reading and writing performance has made sure that it has performed very well in this test, being beaten only by the OCZ Vertex 3.
Single drive copy tests – 3,714 JPEG picture files (5.16GB total)
Once again, the Plextor PX-256M2S is giving the Vertex 3 a run for its money, and once again has performed very well indeed.
Our real world tests, though not scientific in nature, I feel are more realistic than simply running benchmarks. What is clear from our tests is that the Plextor PX-256M2S has proven that small random file performance is not the be all and end all of how an SSD can perform in the real world. In these simple copy tests, the Plextor PX-256M2S is showing us that sequential performance is also very important in the real world.
Now let’s look at the MyCE Reality Suite tests on the next page.....