We'll kick things off with HD Tune, which replaces HD Tach as our synthetic benchmark of choice. Although not necessarily representative of real-world workloads, HD Tune's targeted tests give us a glimpse of a drive's raw capabilities. From there, we can explore whether the drives live up to their potential.
The F120 offers read performance essentially identical to the F100 and other SandForce-based drives in HD Tune. Quite a few competing SSDs hit higher average and minimum read speeds, though.
They start a little slow, but the F100, Agility, and Vertex almost immediately hit their peak sustained write speeds, which average out to 216MB/s. The F120 averages a much slower 162MB/s, finding itself four places shy of the rest of the SandForce pack.
More troubling than the F120's lower average write speed is the cause: wild oscillations that can clearly be seen in the line graph above. The F120 alternates between lows under 150MB/s and a highs of nearly 220MB/s, peaking briefly and spending most of its time in those deep valleys. Corsair may list the same 275MB/s sustained write speed rating for the F100 and F120, but the latter is clearly slower.
Next up: some burst-rate tests that should test the cache speed of each drive. We've omitted the X25-V RAID array from the following results because it uses a slice of system memory as a drive cache.
Differences in overprovisioning don't affect the SF-1200's performance in HD Tune's burst speed tests. The F120's burst speeds are impressively quick given the drive's lack of a DRAM cache.
Our HD Tune tests conclude with a look at random access times, which the app separates into 512-byte, 4KB, 64KB, and 1MB transfer sizes.
All of the SandForce-based SSDs have very low access times with random reads. The F120's access times are marginally quicker than those of the F100, Agility, and Vertex, but it still can't catch the X25-M.
Random writes prove to be fertile ground for the F120, which is in the mix with the leaders across all four transfer sizes. Like the other SandForce-based drives, the F120 fares comparatively better with the larger 64KB and 1MB transfer sizes. The lower overprovisioning percentage certainly isn't slowing the 120GB Force here.