TEST BENCH AND SSD ROUNDUP
The hard drive that we are going to be using for our test environment is the Lenovo standard Hitachi SATA 2 320GB hard drive.
As always, a quick click on any of our photos will give you a high resolution view.
The Lenovo X220 is an ideal candidate for testing of this type because, unlike all other manufacturers that I know of, videos and tutorials are publicly available that help you through system disassembly and the replacement of Thinkpad X220 hardware.
For our mSATA replacement, it was actually quite simple. There are seven crews on the bottom that have pictures of a keyboard or trackpad beside them which we removed. We then slid the keyboard towards the screen and lifted it. From there, we pulled back on the one piece palm rest and track pad which afforded us total access to the mSATA card. From there we just swapped each SSD as we went along.
Our software selection for this review is a bit less detailed than most as we have decided to test all of the mSATA SSDs we could locate. Software consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal DiskMark, BootRacer and PCMark Vantage.
All do a great job of showing us the numbers that we want to see, or dont want to see in some cases, while PCMark Vantage x64 is an excellent program which recreates tests that mimic the average users activity, all the while providing a medium to measure each.
Benchmark software used by The SSD Review can be obtained by clicking on the title of each application as all may be downloaded without cost to the consumer.
HITACHI 320GB 7200RPM 3Gbps HARD DRIVE
The main purpose of this report is to validate that Dataplex can increase the performance of a hard drive close to that of an SSD. Having said that, it would be unfair not to provide initial benchmarks for the hard drive itself. Beware though because, as we were, you just may be truly stunned at the performance difference between the hard drive and hard drive cached.
ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.
ATTO results of 92MB/s read and 83MB/s write are typical of a hard drive and the hard drives access times are around 9ms, on average compared to 0.01ms for the SSD. This is why a normal PC can take over a minute to boot compared to 15 seconds for the SSD system.
Crystal DiskMark confirms the high sequential speeds of ATTO but take a look specifically at the 4k random write score of 0.803MB/s as this is the disk transfer method that is in use the most during typical operations and also responsible for the most visible user performance jump when we move to an SSD.
The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete.
All eight tests are described in the results below and you might want to make a note of the fact that the highest transfer speed reached was 39MB/s with a Total Point Score of 4232.