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Boot times
Thus far, all of our tests have been conducted with the SSDs connected as secondary storage. This next batch uses them as system drives.

We'll start with boot times measured two ways. The bare test depicts the time between hitting the power button and reaching the Windows desktop, while the loaded test adds the time needed to load four applications—Avidemux, LibreOffice, GIMP, and Visual Studio Express—automatically from the startup folder. Our old boot tests focused on the time required to load the OS, but these new ones cover the entire process, including drive initialization.

These results attest to the fact that there aren't drastic differences between SATA SSD boot times. The 850 EVO's numbers blend in with the rest. Nothing to see here—move along.

Load times
Next, we'll tackle load times with two sets of tests. The first group focuses on the time required to load larger files in a collection of desktop applications. We open a 790MB 4K video in Avidemux, a 30MB spreadsheet in LibreOffice, and a 523MB image file in GIMP. In the Visual Studio Express test, we open a 159MB project containing source code for the LLVM toolchain. Thanks to Rui Figueira for providing the project code.

Again, there's no big shocker here. The EVO was a bit faster in GIMP and a bit slower in Visual Studio than the other drives, but the real-world difference is minimal. Next, we'll see how well the EVO performs in gaming scenarios.

The level load times are right within our expectations. The 850 EVO 2TB is as fine a choice as any for a gaming rig, and its 2TB capacity lets gamers keep an enormous library of games installed.

Power consumption
Now for a glance at power consumption. For idle power, we take the lowest value we get over a five-minute period, one minute after Windows has processed its idle tasks. For load power, we take the highest value over a five-minute period while hitting the drive with a write-heavy IOMeter workload.

The EVO stays lean with idle power usage, drawing about as little power as we've ever seen in an SSD. It's a good candidate for a laptop drive, especially if you need high capacity on the go without fumbling with externals. The EVO's draw under load is in line with the other drives in our dataset.

That concludes our performance testing. For details on the hardware and our testing methods, hit the next page. Otherwise, feel free to jump ahead to the conclusion.