Our real-world load time tests give the Desktop SSHD an opportunity to show off its caching mojo. Before timing a couple of 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.
The Desktop SSHD reserves a portion of its cache for data associated with the Windows boot process. This boot data is stored in the NAND's faster SLC cells, and it's normally loaded into the flash during the installation process. Adaptive Memory is also capable of picking up on boot data with imaged installs, which is what we used with our test system. It kicked into high gear after the initial startup, shrinking the boot time from 23 seconds down to just nine for subsequent runs.
That performance puts the Desktop SSHD a little more than a second behind the SSDs. The desktop hybrid is much faster than the mechanical drives, though. The Barracuda 3TB takes nearly twice as long to load the OS. Even the latest VelociRaptor falls a couple of seconds behind.
Level load times
We observed similar behavior from the Desktop SSHD in our level load tests, though the hybrid didn't hit its top speed until the third run in each game. It still improved substantially after the first tests, dropping from highs of 19 seconds in Portal 2 and 14 seconds in Duke Nukem Forever.
The Desktop SSHD is two seconds behind the SSDs in these tests. Its lead over the mechanical field remains, but the gaps are smaller than in our boot test. The Barracuda 3TB, for example, is only three-to-four seconds slower than Seagate's desktop hybrid.
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