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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.

It's pretty much a wash. Even stevens. The 970 EVO boots up just as swiftly as the 960 EVO did.

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 790-MB 4K video in Avidemux, a 30-MB spreadsheet in LibreOffice, and a 523-MB image file in the GIMP. In the Visual Studio Express test, we open a 159-MB project containing source code for the LLVM toolchain. Thanks to Rui Figueira for providing the project code.

The 970 EVO is a tad sluggish to load LibreOffice, but otherwise looks just fine. Fun and games next.

Games load in at the appropriate speeds. Probably not the most cost-effective use of an NVMe drive, but don't let us stop you.

The 970 EVO serves well as primary storage, though it didn't come away with any big wins over the 960 EVO. We're all out of tests, so skip ahead to conclusion unless you want to read about our test methods on the next page.