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Boot times
Until now, 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.

Wanna boot Windows off of an SP550? Go right ahead, it'll do it as well as any of the rest of 'em. Boot times are just fine.

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 the 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.

The SP550 loads up our productivity applications quickly and unremarkably. Let's move on to games.

The SP550 loads games largely as fast as the rest of the SATA competition. f you need a primary boot drive, you can't go wrong with an SP550. Or literally anything else without spinning platters.

That's it for our benchmarking suite, so read on for our testing methods.