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How We Test, System Specs

Core i7 Test System Specs
- Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition (LGA1366)
- x3 2GB DDR3-1333 G.Skill (CAS 9-9-9-20)
- ASUS P6T Deluxe (Intel X58)
- OCZ GameXStream (700 watt)
Intel X25-V 40GB
- ADATA S596 Turbo 32GB
- Kingston SNV425-S2 64GB
- OCZ Vertex 2 40GB
- OCZ Agility 2 40GB
- OCZ Onyx 64GB
- OCZ Onyx 32GB
- Seagate Momentus XT 500GB
- Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB
- ASUS GeForce GTX 480 (1.5GB)
Software
- Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 258.96

In addition to our featured storage devices, the Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB 3.5" 7200-RPM hard drive has been included for comparison purposes.

There are two SSDs that use the SandForce SF-1200 controller, one using the JMicron JMF616, one with the Intel PC29AS218A, one Toshiba TC58NCF618GBT and two using the Indilinx Amigos. Our testing suite consists of four synthetic benchmark programs and our own file copying and load time tests.

As you should know by now, the problem with testing SSDs is that while the manufacturer claims impressive peak I/O performance out of the box, this performance can diminish over time. Unlike a conventional hard drive, any write operation made to an SSD is a two-step process, first the data block must be erased and then written to. Obviously if the drive is brand new and unused there will be nothing to erase and therefore the first step can be bypassed, but this only happens once unless the drive is trimmed.

In consideration of this we will test how much performance you can expect to lose from each SSD over time. We will test all drives in their clean unused state, and then run the HD Tach full benchmark several times which fills the entire drive. This simulates heavy usage and gives us a clear indication of how performance will be affected in normal long-term use.

Having all that said, all drives in this round-up support the Windows 7 TRIM function, which is meant to counteract these negative effects in the long run, so it will be interesting to see how the drives perform against each other.