SSD PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS PROTOCOL
For those new to SSDs and our little spot on the net…welcome! This part of the report will demonstrate our analysis of the MacBook Air’s storage media. If you are new to SSDs, I might suggest that you take a peak at our article ‘Benefits of a Solid State Drive‘ to understand what a visible increase a solid state drive has over the standard hard drive. This will play an important role in any purchase decision you may contemplate.
Our testing today will follow a bit of a different course than we might see for a typical SSD as the entire regime of benchmarks will be completed within the MBA and not on any of our many Test Benches. We are able to do this only as a result of our successful installation of Windows 7 on the MacBook Air.
The reason for this, of course, is that everything including the operating system and software configuration is proprietary with Apple and we cannot simply do a clean install or migrate an OS onto the installed SSD without causing a world of difficulties getting our original system configuration back. To add to this, the solid state drive in use is partitioned equally with both OS X and Windows 7, the benchmarked portion of course being within Windows 7. The last factor we might mention is that this is not a ‘fresh’ solid state drive and it is common for most systems with pre-installed software to fall well below the specifications of a new and unused solid state drive.
The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consist of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities, and PCMark Vantage. We rely on these as they each have a way of supporting one another yet, at the same time, adding a new performance benchmark to the total picture. Much of the software is free and can be downloaded simply by clicking on the linked title.
ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance 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.
Performance has stepped up a notch since our initial testing of the Samsung PM830 where ATTO results then met specifications at 519MB/s read and 268MB/s write transfer speeds. Although no specifications for this new drive are available, initial ATTO highs of 511MB/s read and 460MB/s write are definitely much better.