Before timing a couple of real-world applications, we first have to load the OS. We can measure how long that takes by checking the Windows 7 boot duration using the operating system's performance-monitoring tools. This is actually the first test in which we're booting Windows off each drive; up until this point, our testing has been hosted by an OS housed on a separate system drive.
Level load times
Modern games lack built-in timing tests to measure level loads, so we busted out a stopwatch with a couple of reasonably recent titles.
I could write a few sentences about the M500s being a little faster or slower than this or that SSD, but look at the overall times. Most of the solid-state drives are clumped within about a second of each other in all our load tests. You probably won't notice any difference between them.
You will, however, notice that mechanical storage is much slower. The Caviar Black takes about twice as long as the SSDs to load Windows and Duke Nukem Forever. It's also about seven seconds behind in Portal 2.
We tested power consumption under load with IOMeter's workstation access pattern chewing through 32 concurrent I/O requests. Idle power consumption was probed one minute after processing Windows 7's idle tasks on an empty desktop.
The power consumption of the M500s is surprisingly high given our results for the old m4. That said, most of the SSDs have idle power consumption similar to the newer Crucial drives. Apart from the m4, the M500s consume less power than anything else under load. There's very little difference in power draw between the 240 and 480GB models.
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