Futuremark’s PCMark 8 is a very good all round system benchmark but it’s Storage Consistency Test takes it to whole new level when testing SSD drives. It runs through four phases; Preconditioning, Degradation, Steady State, Recovery and finally Clean Up. During the Degradation, Steady State and Recovery phases it runs performance tests using the 10 software programs that form the backbone of PCMark 8; Adobe After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop Heavy and Photoshop Light, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Battlefield 3 and World of Warcraft. With some 18 phases of testing, this test can take many hours to run.
The drive is written sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data, write size of 256 × 512 = 131,072 bytes. This is done twice.
Run writes of random size between 8 × 512 and 2048 × 512 bytes on random offsets for 10 minutes. It then runs a performance test. These two actions are then repeated 8 times and on each pass the duration of random writes is increased by 5 minutes.
Run writes of random size between 8 × 512 and 2048 × 512 bytes on random offsets for final duration achieved in degradation phase. A performance test is then run. These actions are then re-run five times.
The drive is idled for 5 minutes. Then a performance test is run. These actions are then repeated five times.
The drive is written through sequentially up to the reported capacity with zero data, write size of 256 × 512 = 131,072 bytes.
For PCMark 8’s Consistency benchmark, the overall performance is stunning. The most surprising thing about the overall results is that the only time the performance really starts to drop is, oddly, during the recovery stages.