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How We Test, System Specs

The OCZ Vertex 3 and Crucial RealSSD C300 were tested using SATA 6Gb/s, requiring us to use the Sandy Bridge (LGA1155) platform. All other 3Gb/s drives were tested on our older LGA1366 platform but this shouldn't affect the results. A few select SATA 3Gb/s drives were tested on our newer LGA1155 test system to check for testing accuracy, both synthetic and real-world performance was much the same.

In addition to our featured storage devices, the Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM hard drive has been included for comparison's sake. Other SSDs used for comparison feature controllers such as the SandForce SF-1200, JMicron JMF616, Intel PC29AS218A, Marvell 88SS9174, Toshiba TC58NCF618GBT and Samsung S3C29MAX01. Our testing suite consists of four synthetic benchmark programs and our own file copying and load time tests.

As you should know by now, while manufacturers claim 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: a 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.

Considering this, we'll test how much performance you can expect to lose from each SSD over time. We'll 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.

All drives in this roundup support the Windows 7 TRIM function, which is meant to counteract these negative effects.

SATA 6Gb/s System Specs
- Intel Core i7-2600K (LGA1155)
- x2 4GB DDR3-1600 G.Skill (CAS 8-8-8-20)
- Asus P8P67 Deluxe (Intel P67)
- OCZ ZX Series (1250w)
- Crucial RealSSD C300 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 3 240GB
- Asus GeForce GTX 580 (1536MB)

Software
- Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 270.51

SATA 3Gb/s System Specs
- Intel Core i7-965 EE (LGA1366)
- x3 2GB DDR3-1600 G.Skill (CAS 8-8-8-20)
- Asus P6T Deluxe (Intel X58)
- OCZ ZX Series (1250w)
- Crucial RealSSD C300 256GB
- Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 256GB
- Kingston SSDNow V 100 256GB
- OCZ RevoDrive X2 240GB
- OCZ Vertex 2 Pro 100GB
- OCZ Vertex 120GB
- Intel SSD 320 Series 300GB
- Samsung 470 Series 256GB
- Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB
- Asus GeForce GTX 580 (1536MB)

Software
- Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 270.51