SSD hard drives boost PS3 performance
A report by Digital Foundry at Eurogamer has found that upgrading your PS3 to a SSD drive can improve performance, but only for certain games. What’s an SSD? Well it stands for solid state disk. Instead of a hard drive using a big metal bit that has to spin and be read using a moving arm, an SSD drive uses flash RAM. That means near instant memory recall of whatever you stick on there.
Improvements included loss of the texture pop up in Rage and cleared Skyrim lag issues. True, Rimlag seems to have been sorted with the latest Skyrim PS3 1.4 update but Digital Foundry were running pre-patched games and noticed significant improvements with an SSD drive. Three drives were used: the 60GB launch PS3 HDD, a hybrid SSD/7200rpm Seagate Momentus XT, and a Samsung PM800 SSD. Seek time is the issue that really counts – the amount of time it takes the disk to find whatever data’s being called for.
The report states that the “Samsung PM800 SSD [is] hardly a state-of-the-art model, but it shouldn’t really matter – seek time is king here, and some might argue that 500MB/s throughput is sort of irrelevant when your host system only has 512MB of RAM in total.” Essentially even a less-than-brilliant SDD can fill the PS3′s RAM once per second.
The report does note that improvements are fairly similar between the hybrid and solid state drives, suggesting that simply a faster seek time is enough. Not all games benefit either. It seems to depend on the game. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Battlefield 3, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Enslaved were all tested and showed little more than minor loading boosts.
Digital Foundry conclude that SSD drives “improved install and loading times on a great many games – but not all – and in key titles that really hammer the hard drive, there may well be some performance improvements, but not enough to justify the expense, unless you really,really like Rage.”