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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)
- Kingston SSDNow V+ 180 64GB
- Kingston SSDNow V Series 64GB
- AData S596 Turbo 32GB
- OCZ Onyx 64GB
- OCZ Vertex 120GB
- OCZ Vertex 2 40GB
- OCZ Vertex 2 Pro 100GB
- Intel X25-V 40GB
- Seagate Momentus XT 500GB
- Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB
- Asus GeForce GTX 480 (1.5GB)
Software
- Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 262.99

In addition to our featured solid-state storage devices, we've included the Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB 3.5" 7200-RPM hard disk drive for comparison.

Other SSDs used for comparison feature controllers such as the SandForce SF-1200, JMicron JMF616, Intel PC29AS218A, Marvell 88SS9174, Toshiba TC58NCF618GBT and Indilinx Amigos. Our testing suite consists of four synthetic benchmark programs as well as our own file copying and load time tests.

As you are likely aware by now, a problem with testing SSDs is that their peak out-of-box I/O performance can diminish over time. Unlike a conventional hard drive, any write operation made to an SSD is a two-step process. Data blocks must be erased before they are 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.

Considering this, we 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 can give us a clear indication of how performance will be affected in normal long-term use.