Game load times
Although we haven't seen SSDs boot systems substantially faster than their mechanical competition, Modern Warfare 2 game levels load much quicker. In this test, we loaded the "O Cristo Redentor" special-ops mission with a stopwatch in hand.
The mechanical drives are way out ahead in the bar graph again. We're looking at reasonable gaps in performance, but the difference in cost-per-gigabyte between the mechanical and solid-state camps remains daunting.
In our scatter plot, the RealSSD again finds itself atop the heap. The SSDNow is hot on its heels, but after that, you're into a cluster of drives that offer less performance at higher cost per gigabyte.
By far the biggest loser in this test is the X25-M, whose relatively slow load times kill its chances. The SandForce SSDs don't look so hot, either; they're still on the pricey side and don't have the performance to justify the premium.
Our second gaming test loads a save game from the very beginning of Crysis Warhead. There's a little less separation between the SSDs here, and the mechanical drives aren't that far off the pace.
By now you know the score with the bar graphs. I'm much more interested in the scatter plots, which nicely illustrate the costly step up to what really isn't vastly superior performance in this test.
Most of the SSDs are arranged in a loose horizontal line that denotes a similar performance level. The most attractive points on that line are over to the left with the SSDNow, RealSSD, and SiliconEdge Blue. The Nova doesn't look too bad, either, but it's no faster than the cheaper solid-state options.
As it did in our first gaming test, the X25-M looks a little out of place. The Intel drive is slower than the quickest mechanical drives, yet it costs several times more per gigabyte. That's not a good place to be, and the X25-V doesn't look much better.