Although system boot-up and virus scans are enhanced with the SSD, PC gamers will always want to utilise an SSD for faster game loading times and in-game performance. We decided to put our trusty old hard drive up against the Kingston Limited Edition 120GB SSD. While some results were no surprise, there may be one or two you’ll need to take a second glimpse at…
To enhance this test further, we used games from multiple genres and from various studios (AAA, independent etc.). Lets begin with XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
XCOM: ENEMY UNKNOWN – HD vs SSD Loading Times (High Settings):
Load time from front-end to intro: 3.2 secs
Load time from 1st squad-select to mission landing: 5.3 secs
Load time from 1st ‘mission complete’ notice to world-map screen: 4.1 secs
Load time from front-end to intro: SAME
Load time from 1st squad-select to mission landing: SAME
Load time from 1st ‘mission complete’ notice to world-map screen: SAME
Although XCOM: Enemy Unknown is possibly one of the best action strategy games ever created, it doesn’t seem to challenge your internal storage (which is a good thing if you have an old/slow HD). Maps are pretty small enabling some fast loading times. If you have an older hard drive and are still after a AAA title that keeps you hooked, you can’t go wrong with XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Next-up is Capcom’s retelling of Dead Rising 2. Those screen-packed zombies should surely give us mixed results on loading times, right?
DEAD RISING 2: OFF THE RECORD – HD vs SSD Loading Times (High Settings):
Load time from front-end to game opening: 12.3 secs
Load time from TIR arena area to 1st safe house (Emergency Shelter): 13.5 secs
Load time from front-end to game opening: 10.3 secs
Load time from TIR arena area to 1st safe house (Emergency Shelter): 11.5 secs
That was probably your first surprise, eh? Don’t worry, that one got us too! HD and SSD load times really aren’t that far apart. This is simply down to a first-gen engine (in order to get all those zombies on-screen at once) and Capcom’s design and coding talent.
Every now and again a game comes along that EVERYONE should experience. Deadly Premonition may be available on PC (useful to prove the following points in our tests) but due to Access Games no longer owning the Deadly Premonition IP (causing major PC development issues) do yourselves a favour and hunt down the PS3 enhanced version, instead. You’ll certainly thank us if you’re still yet to experience this unusual classic.
DEADLY PREMONITION – HD vs SSD Loading Times
Load time from front-end to game opening: 17.9 secs
Load time from cutscene to epilogue gameplay: 38.5 secs
Load time from front-end to game opening: 7.2 secs
Load time from cutscene to epilogue gameplay: 6.7 secs
The SSD almost makes Deadly Premonition look cartridge-based in comparison to the HD! Almost a 32 second lead when loading the games prologue, means the solid state drive still has a lot of tricks up its sleeve!
STALKER: SHADOW OF CHERNOBYL – HD vs SSD Loading Times (Maximum Settings)
Load time from front-end to game intro cutscene: 42 secs
Load time from front-end to game intro cutscene: 15.5 secs
The SSD chews-up and spits-out the HD with STALKER. This game had many development issues and just like the original Crysis, it threw a spanner in the works for even the most powerful rigs.
NO MORE ROOM IN HELL – HD vs SSD Loading Times (High Detail)
Load time from front-end to ‘nmo broadway‘ map start: 61 secs
Load time from front-end to ‘nms flooded’ map start: 30 secs
Load time from front-end to ‘nmo broadway‘ map start: 18.5 secs
Load time from front-end to ‘nms flooded’ map start: 9.6 secs
No More Room In Hell certainly takes the award for long loading times but the SSD still charges through, resulting in yet more impressive loading times.
The last three games say an awful lot about the SSD and should give you a much better idea on whether a solid state drive is right for you?
HD vs SSD Gaming Verdict
Although at first we were shocked at the results with Dead Rising 2: Of The Record, as the tests progressed, we understood more clearly what was going on. Studios with the big budgets reflect this in their final engines (Dead Rising). However, studios with lower game engine budgets (Deadly Premonition and No More Room In Hell) or games that have undergone delay after delay due to engine and design issues (STALKER) will usually require heavy load-in times. It’s these games that really let the SSD shine.
Once you take into consideration that our SSD is nowhere near among the fastest models on the market, you suddenly realise the value in that little 120GB box. If you’re on a tight budget, all you really need is a 120GB SSD that reads and writes above half a GB and you’re laughing. That’s more than enough to boost your operating system, install essential programs and install a couple of games that you’re playing at the time.