PCMark05 v1.2.0 

For these tests, we use RankDisk, an application developed and copyrighted by Intel. In our testing, we found RankDisk to be suitable for a neutral benchmark. RankDisk is used to record a trace of disk activity during usage of typical applications. These traces can then be replayed to measure the performance of disk operations for that usage.

RankDisk records disk access events using the device drivers and bypasses the file system and the operating system’s cache. This makes the measurement independent of the file system overhead or the current state of the operating system. In replaying traces, RankDisk always creates and operates on a new dummy file. This file is created in the same (or closest possible) physical location of the target hard disk. This allows the replaying of traces to be safe (does not destroy any existing files) and comparable across different systems. Due to the natural fragmentation of hard disks over time, they should be defragmented before running these tests.

The traces used for each test were created from real usage. The traces contain different amount of writing and reading on the disk; total ratio in the HDD test suite disk operations is 53% reads and 47% of writes.

The following input traces are used:

Windows XP Startup: This is the Windows XP start trace, which contains disk activities occurring at operating system start-up. The test is 90% reading and 10% writes. This trace contains no user activity.

Application Loading: This is a trace containing disk activities from loading various applications. It includes opening and closing of the following applications:

Microsoft® Word      
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 5      
Windows® Media Player      
Leadtek® Winfast® DVD      
Mozilla Internet Browser

The application loading trace is 83% reads and 17% writes.

General Hard Disk Drive Usage: This trace contains disk activities from using several common applications.

These are:

Opening a Microsoft® Word document, performing grammar check, saving and closing      
Compression and decompression using Winzip      
Encrypting and decrypting a file using PowerCrypt      
Scanning files for viruses using F-Secure® Antivirus.      
Playing an MP3 file with Winamp      
Playing a WAV file with Winamp      
Playing a DivX video using DivX codec and Windows® Media Player      
Playing a WMV video file using Windows® Media Player      
Viewing pictures using Windows® Picture Viewer      
Browsing the internet using Microsoft® Internet Explorer      
Loading, playing and exiting a game using Ubisoft Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon

The General Usage trace is 60% reads and 40% writes.

Virus Scanning: Virus scanning is a critical task in today’s PC usage. As the major bottleneck of scanning viruses is in hard disk activity, it is reasonable to include virus scanning as a HDD test. The test consists of HDD activity of scanning 600MB of files for viruses. The Virus Scanning test is mostly disk reading (99.5%).

File Write: This trace contains disk activities from writing 680MB files on the hard disk and no read operations are involved in this test.

Disk idle times have been compressed to 50 milliseconds to speed up the playback time. Our studies showed that 50 milliseconds was the smallest idle time interval that didn’t affect the test results. The results of the HDD tests are reported in Megabytes processed per second.

OCZ Technology Vertex 3 Pro SandForce 2582 200GB SATA 6G SSD Review - Storage 40

OS tests showed only marginal gains over the previous generation SandForce units, with the startup test getting the biggest boost. 

OCZ Technology Vertex 3 Pro SandForce 2582 200GB SATA 6G SSD Review - Storage 41

Virus scan is slightly random, with small-ish accesses. This pushed the Vertex 3 Pro down with the other units. PCMark’s file write test is less random, enabling the new unit to flex some of its SATA 6Gb/sec muscle.

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