So I had planned on testing a few drives, but between my frustrations with getting my hybrid drive to work, and the OS's unsuitability for smallish SSDs, I'm just going to stick with the stock drive for now. But I did test the hell out of it, in a very specific way that should bring to light some of the performance advantages of hybrid drives. So bear with me as I overexplain everything, but by the end you'll see why I went through all this trouble, because unless it's done rigorously it may as well not be done at all. Most of the other HDD/SSD comparisons you'll find around simply arent doing it right IMO, and they're probably not aware of a few things I figured out along the way, which basically invalidates any results used for comparison.
First, some basic OS booting tests.
Initial boot (from ps button press to all game icons fully loaded) 27.0s
Enter standby (from standby select button press to orange led) 28.3s
Resume from standby (from ps button press to all icons loaded) 32.3s
Total shutdown (from shutdown select to led off) 21.8s
So right off the bat there's a really odd result: it takes less time to completely shut down and restart the PS4 than to put it into standby. And it's not a fluke:
2nd boot 26.7s
2nd standby 30.3s
2nd resume 31.0s
2nd shutdown 17.5s
3rd boot 26.8s
3rd standby 34.9s
3rd resume 31.4s
3rd shutdown 18.2s
Not only does standby take longer every time(which is bizarre enough), but it's quite variable, far more than the full reboot. So ignore any comparisons that test standby or shutdown speed, especially person to person, because it's not consistent enough to draw any conclusions by. With a hybrid drive, I'd expect to see all of these numbers start to decrease as they're repeated.
First game is resogun, since it loads quick and everyone has it. I specifically chose to measure to the point where the ship disappears, since beyond that it's just skippable splash screens, the actual loading is complete by then. Measuring all the way to the title screen would make faster drives seem like less of a boost than they really are.
Launch resogun (button press to ship disappear) 10.9s
Load resogun lvl acis (launch level to "press x to continue appears) 6.7s
2nd resogun launch 8.6s
2nd acis load 6.8s
3rd resogun launch 8.5s
3rd acis load 6.8s
Notice how the 2nd and 3rd launch are quicker, even though it's just a standard HDD? The only way I can explain it is that the PS4 reserves some of it's 8GB memory for use as a disk cache. Which to some degree should lessen the need for a faster drive. Again, not a fluke, the same happens with cod ghosts:
Launch cod ghosts digital version (button press to activision video plays) 11.3s
Load MP menu (button press to MP menu appears, when set to load mp by default) 17.6s
Start default local match on prison break (button press on start match to team select menu appears) 38.0s
2nd ghosts launch 10.8s
2nd load mp menu 18.1s
2nd start local match 35.0
3rd ghosts launch 10.4s
3rd load mp menu 15.7s
3rd start local match 36.1
You can see the general trend towards slightly shorter loads as you keep repeating. I expect a hybrid drive to exhibit a much stronger trend though.
Now back to resogun:
4th resogun launch 9.6s
4th acis load 6.8s
As you can see, the launch speed has creeped back up (although the level load is the same as ever). This is as expected, since ghosts would have dropped it out of the disk cache. A hybrid may have retained some resogun data it it's cache though...which is why it's important to go back and forth when testing a hybrid. So back to ghosts again:
4th ghosts launch 11.5s
4th load mp menu 21.5s
4th start local match 36.3s
Just like resogun, load times have creeped back up. Would they have on a hybrid? Probably not, but my PS4 hates my hybrid, so I can't tell you for sure. And since it's also important for a hybrid to speed up booting, I ran the boot tests again to see how much of that would have remained in it's cache:
4th boot 27.2s
4th standby 48.5s
4th resume 32.3s
4th shutdown 21.7s
On a standard HDD, it's still just as long as ever. And seriously, over 48 seconds to go into standby? So much for that focus on instant access, for now at least.
I certainly invite anyone else to try and run the same tests as I did, but it is absolutely imperative that you run them in exactly the same order and time precisely as described. Especially with a hybrid drive, since it's caching recent reads - do anything out of order, and the results are no longer comparable after the first time you mess it up. And you also need to ensure the games aren't present in your cache before you begin testing - that means you need to delete resogun and ghosts, install something else, then completely redownload them. You'd also basically need to completely reformat your HDD if you want to see how the hybrid cache impacts your boot/standby speeds. You'll need at least an hour or two to do it right.
So in a nutshell, standby is almost pointless (other than being able to trigger downloads or remote play), and the PS4 does some disk caching of it's own. I certainly didn't expect that, and its probably part of the reason why the OS eats up so much memory.
Eventually I'll update this post as I try out other HDDs in my PS4...but unless anyone wants to loan me drives to test, no telling when that will be.
Edited by bd2003 - 11/16/13 at 8:20pm