We use a Sandy Bridge-based system to test hard disks and SSDs. Our test system consists of an Intel Core i5 2500K processor, an Intel DH67BL motherboard and 4GB DDR3-1333 memory. The SSDs are connected as secondary drives and all benchmarks are run in Windows 7.
First we use the Atto Disk Benchmark to measure the SSD transfer rates with data blocks of 4kB and of 1MB. Atto is set at the standard value of "queue depth 4," which means that four tasks are simultaneously sent to the SSD each time. These values resemble most what happens in real life.
The AS SSD benchmark roughly measures the same as the Atto Disk Benchmark, with one important difference. AS SSD uses incompressible data, while Atto's test data can be compressed very well. SandForce-based SSDs therefore don't benefit from the built-in compression tricks within AS SSD. As such, the results are "worst case" for these SSDs.
The next two benchmarks are the most important, in our opinion. PCMark Vantage simulates the hard disk access of real programmes, and indicates what the performance of the drive is in different scenarios. The overall score gives a value for general use and the partial scores indicate the speed for different types of use. PCMark7 does the same, but with new Windows 7-based scenarios. PCMark7 also displays the scenarios in real-time, and performance gains that you wouldn't notice in real-life won't be reflected in PCMark7's scores either
In a new test we look at the performance of SSDs over a longer period of continual activity.
In the charts we included previously tested SSDs with a capacity of 480 GB and more. The Crucial M500 480GB is represented by the red bar.