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To accurately represent the overall performance of the drives, we gave each model a proportional score in each real world benchmark series (loading, application, file copying, and installation), with each benchmark set equally weighted. The fastest hard drive on the market, the VelociRaptor 1TB, was used as a reference point, assigned 25 points in each category for a total of 100 points.
In our test suite, the SX910 was 24% faster than the VelociRaptor while the Corsair Force had only a 5% performance advantage.
The SX910 was also evaluated on our old test system that has only a SATA 3 Gbps controller. The performance advantage over the other SSDs was similar, so it doesn't appear that the slower SATA interface bottlenecks the drive, at least not in our real world application tests.
It's also notable that the SX910 came close to matching our current SSD leader, the original OCZ RevoDrive. The RevoDrive uses two first generation SandForce controllers in RAID 0 utilizing a PCI Express 4x interface (which offers more bandwidth than the latest SATA standard).
HD Tune & CrystalDiskMark Performance
Our first HD Tune scan showed subpar performance in the first 50GB of the disk which was where our real world test suite was imaged (even though the partition was erased, the data was still there). SSDs require partially or fully populated blocks to be wiped before being overwritten, so naturally this portion of the drive measured slower.
We then formatted the drive completely, and in doing so, executed the TRIM command over the entire drive to wipe all its blocks to clear the way for new data. The average transfer speed dropped to a much more consistent 274 MB/s and access time increased by about 71%, but this more indicative of what to expect after using the drive for some time.
CrystalDiskMark is a useful tool for analyzing the performance of SandForce drives as it allows users to use a nonrandom data to show off their benefits with easily compressible sets of data. With the more easily compressed data configuration, we saw a massive increase in write speed specifically, except for random writes using a 4K block size.
Random 4K read speed was a disappointment, less than half of the write speed. Like most SSDs, the SX910 is particularly proficient with the smaller block sizes, coming in just under 500 MB/s in sequential 512K reads and writes, exceeded the 384 MB/s bandwidth limitation of SATA 3 Gbps controllers by a substantial margin.
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