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Seagate Backup Plus Slim External USB 3.0 2TB Hard Drive Review

Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Meet the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 motherboard, a non-integrated graphics take on the new Intel Z68 chipset. While the Intel Z68 is reknown for combining the best the Intel P67 & H67 chipsets had to offer in one platform...
 88% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Dec 30 2011   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3

Testing Intel SRT: PCMark Vantage HDD Suite

PCMark Vantage HDD Test Suite: Testing Intel SRT

Across the board, the Vantage HDD Test Suite reveals that Intel SRT improves responsiveness roughly four-fold. With this benchmark we can also compare Intel SRT in Enhanced mode to Intel SRT in Maximized mode since the results are in MB/s. Full test system specs are noted later in this review. Because Intel SRT takes a couple iterations to kick in, three consecutive runs were done for each Intel SRT test.

Test Description:
SSD:
Win7 system running off the OCZ Vertex 2 solid state drive.
HDD: Win7 system running off the Western Digital WD740 hard drive.
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced): Win7 system running off the Western Digital WD740 hard drive with the 20GB Intel 311 SSD configured via Intel SRT to Enhanced mode.
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized ): Win7 system running off the Western Digital WD740 hard drive with the 20GB Intel 311 SSD configured via Intel SRT to Maximized mode.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportFuturemark PCMark Vantage - HDD Suite
Windows Defender: (MB/s) Points Ranking
SSD 153.465
HDD 20.466
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 20.237
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 120.669
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 114.189
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 20.677
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 123.118
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 118.959
Gaming: (MB/s) Points Ranking
SSD 145.101
HDD 14.064
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 14.693
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 123.917
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 124.048
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 14.82
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 118.525
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 118.916
Importing Pictures: (MB/s) Points Ranking
SSD 188.798
HDD 37.987
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 32.818
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 145.343
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 145.431
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 32.188
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 141.487
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 133.684
Windows Vista Startup: (MB/s) Points Ranking
SSD 176.547
HDD 19.14
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 25.073
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 118.636
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 118.152
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 25.911
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 119.452
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 123.474
Editing Videos: (MB/s) Points Ranking
SSD 196.339
HDD 47.515
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 45.346
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 91.016
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 92.651
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 53.319
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 136.343
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 137.193
Media Center: (MB/s) Points Ranking
SSD 244.554
HDD 56.621
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 49.527
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 115.429
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 114.929
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 49.929
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 150.816
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 141.989
Adding Music: (MB/s) Points Ranking
SSD 107.371
HDD 14.347
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 13.186
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 74.547
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 76.779
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 14.428
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 100.079
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 90.766
Application Loading: (MB/s) Points Ranking
SSD 163.113
HDD 4.461
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 1 6.057
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 2 83.073
HDD + Cache SSD (Enhanced) RUN 3 83.817
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 1 7.024
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 2 89.018
HDD + Cache SSD (Maximized) RUN 3 85.457

The best benchmark results are held by the Windows 7 system installed directly to an SSD, the poorest by the Windows 7 system installed to a HDD without Intel SRT. Those tests frame the reference points from which to judge Intel SRT's impact. As to the question of Maximized or Enhanced mode, the results clearly show that Intel SRT Maximized mode does offer a small speed advantage over Enhanced in the majority of tests. In 'Adding Music', 'Media Center' and 'Editing Videos' the difference between Maximized and Enhanced modes is substantial.

For virtually all the Vantage HDD Suite results the first RUN with Intel SRT enabled was not significantly better than the solo HDD system results. By the second RUN Intel SRT improved the results to near-SSD levels. PCSTATS' expanded look at Intel Smart Response Technology covers the full gamut of PCMark Vantage tests and dives into what it can and cannot improve in greater depth.

Obviously, applications that aren't storage intensive will see less of a positive impact from Intel SRT, so in that regard the above results are somewhat cherry picked to illustrate the best potential from Intel SRT.

Interpreting the Results

Intel SRT can speed application launching and so forth, but the first time around Intel SRT doesn't do all that much. It's only on the second and subsequent instances when frequently accessed data blocks are called that Intel SRT kicks in and Windows reads directly from SSD cache, bypassing the hard disk entirely and saving time.

If you're putting together an Intel Z68 computer and installing Windows 7 onto a 2TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive,adding a 20GB SSD cache and setting up Intel SRT is a worthwhile extra measure that will yield speed benefits. In many regards the Intel SRT approach is a band-aid solution until SSDs achieve sufficient storage density and affordability... but if you decide to abandon Intel SRT the cache SSD can always be reverted back to a simple storage device. If you plan which cache SSD to buy carefully, there's no real downside to giving Intel Smart Response Technology a try.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  The LucidLogix Virtu Question + Intel Z68 Chipset
 Pg 3.  Guide: Setting Up Intel SRT
 Pg 4.  — Testing Intel SRT: PCMark Vantage HDD Suite
 Pg 5.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Features and Layout
 Pg 6.  360-Degree Motherboard Gallery: Connectivity
 Pg 7.  Introducing Gigabyte Touch BIOS
 Pg 8.  Overclocking on the Intel Z68 Chipset
 Pg 9.  Sysmark 2007 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 10.  SiSoft Sandra: CPU Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 11.  Sandra: Memory Motherboard Benchmarks:
 Pg 12.  PCMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 13.  3DMark 11 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 14.  3DMark Vantage Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 15.  3DMark 06 Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 16.  FEAR Motherboard Benchmarks
 Pg 17.  System Power Draw and Final Conclusions

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