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  1. #1

    Hard Drive Comparison - SSD vs HDD vs Pendrive via both USB 2.0 and 3.0

    Hard Drive Comparison

    There are a lot o myths around about hard drives and how they are affecting gameplay, loading times and framerate, so I decided to make some measurements to find out how important it is to have fast drive in LOTRO. Benchmarks contain performance and loading times measurements on SSD, HDD, and while playing on client launched directly from my Pendrive, via both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

    For detailed analysis on game performance and performance guide visit Performance Guide and Stuttering Analysis
    For detailed description on what each graphics setting does visually, visit my Graphics Settings Breakdown.

    Basic computer Specs:

    CPU: Intel i3-4150 3.50 Ghz 3.50 Ghz
    GPU: Asus Radeon R9 270x 2GB DDR5 (256 bit)
    RAM: HyperX 2x4GB 1600MHz DDR3
    System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (installed on SSD disk)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H81M-HD3

    Hard drives used:

    SSD: Crucial MX100 256GB SATA3 2.5" 550/330 MB/s 7mm (CT256MX100SSD1)
    HDD: Seagate 1TB, SATAIII, 7200RPM, 64MB cache (ST1000DM003)
    Pendrive: Kingston 32GB USB 3.0 DataTraveler G4 - (DTIG4/32GB)

    Graphics settings:

    DX 11, 1920x1080, 60 Hz, Ultra High, AA x8

    Used programs:

    AS SSD Benchmark
    HD Tune

    Measurements from AS SSD Benchmark of Read and Write rates

    SSD HDD USB 3.0 USB 2.0
    Write[MB/s] 329,43 140,63 68,34 39,35
    Read[MB/s] 508,87 207,90 149,26 42,34

    As you can see, differences between them are very noticeable.

    Measurements from HD Tune for Average Transfer and Average Access Time:

    SSD HDD USB 3.0 USB 2.0
    Average Transfer[MB/s] 300 168 115 42
    Average Access Time[ms] 0.1 15.7 0.5 0.2

    As you can see, differences between Average Transfer rates are very noticeable. But what is the most noticeable its a great difference in Average Access Time rates between HDD and the rest of hard drives. Average Access Time of HDD disk is 79 times longer than time of Pendrive via USB 2.0, 31 times longer than via USB 3.0, and 157 times longer than access time of SSD. What is also interesting, access time of USB 3.0 is longer than of USB 2.0, while all previous rates are better for USB 3.0 option quite decisively.

    Measurements of loading times for SSD, HDD, USB 3.0 and 2.0:

    Launcher Load Time - from clicking on Lord of the Rings Online icon to pressing Start Button in Launcher(entering password doesn't count)
    Character Screen Load Time - from pressing Start Button in launcher to Character Screen appearance(everything skipped on the way)
    Game World Load Time - from pressing Enter Middle-Earth Button to entering game world(moment when everything around me is fully loaded and FPS stabilized)

    SSD HDD USB 3.0 USB 2.0
    Launcher Load Time[s] 20.6 34 43.3 59.5
    Character Screen Load Time[s] 19.6 30.7 24.1 24.9
    Game World Load Time[s] 30.7 71.1 33.2 32.5

    As you can see, SSD disk is the fastest in every single measurement. What is very noticeable here is that Pendrive via both USB 3.0 and 2.0 has a very bad Launcher Load Times. For USB 3.0 you need to wait 2 times longer than on SSD, and almost 3 times longer if you are using USB 2.0 option. But everything changes with Character Screen Load Times. SSD is again the fastest, but you need to wait only 5 seconds longer with USB 3.0 and 2.0 options. You can also see that USB options have almost the same loading time of Character Screen. HDD is the slowest one in this measurement, and you need to wait 10 seconds longer than on SSD, and 5-6 seconds longer than on USB options. But the most decisive difference in those measurements are Game World Loading Times, where HDD disk is over 2 times slower than all other options. What is also worth seeing, USB options are almost as fast as much more expensive SSD disk.

    However, you can disable launcher loading screens. Simply right click on lotro_ad_pregame file in Program Files\Turbine\The Lord of the Rings Online\raw\en\logo, click Get Info and check Locked to make it read-only. From now your launcher is not going to download en, de and fr loading screens every time. It reduces Launcher Load Time significantly and makes differences between SSD and USB option less noticeable:

    SSD HDD USB 3.0 USB 2.0
    Launcher Load Time[s] 9.96 12.10 14.31 22.45

    Launcher Load Time is reduces twice for SSD and thrice for other options. Now even on USB 2.0 launcher is loading quickly which decreases disadvantage of very long Launcher Load Time for this option.

    Performance and stuttering:

    For detailed analysis on this matter visit Performance Guide and Stuttering Analysis. There you will see that stuttering frequency is over 3 times higher on HDD than on SSD.


    As you can see, differences are quite substantial. While launcher loading time and character panel loading time may not be that important, because you are loading it once, game world loading times and stuttering frequency are very important things to consider. Three times reduced stuttering frequency on an SSD is a true game changer, and loading times affecting everything, whether your relog, use swift travel or enter the instance, you will be doing that 2 times longer on HDD than on SSD and Pendrive.


    If you have some money to spend and for some reason you don't have SSD yet, buy it and setup your system on it. HDDs are slow and very loud, while SSDs are very fast and are not making any noises. Going from HDD to SSD is the one if the biggest upgrades you can make to your machine. Especially for LOTRO that is hugely benefiting from faster drives.

    If you are not willing to spend on an SSD or your machine is not compatible, Pendrive is fast, easy and cheap solution. It is almost as fast as SSD with loading times, doesn't require any knowledge, and you can take your game anywhere with you.

    Running LOTRO on HDD is not recommended because of much higher stuttering frequency. You can have the fastest CPU and GPU on the market but if you run LOTRO on HDD, you will be getting much more stuttering than on an SSD.
    Last edited by Unthariel; Feb 28 2017 at 08:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Very cool post, very informative! I've always been curious about this but never took the time to test it out. Thanks for posting!
    Landroval Server
    Telonos, Teona, and Quendariel

  3. #3
    Yeah. When it comes to HDDs, which is my primary as SSDs just aren't worth the money for what you get, the RPM of the HDD is important. I usded to use a 5600RPM HDD and load times took ages to complete. It's much better on my 7200RPM HDD I'm currently using but for the moment, I still have LotRO on a 64GB Silicon Power Blaze B30 pen drive using a USB 3.0 port. That coupled with precaching has increased load and launch times drastically.
    Tolella Hlothran ~ Minstrel ~ 115
    Officer ~ Phoenix Rising

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by LethalLethality View Post
    I still have LotRO on a 64GB Silicon Power Blaze B30 pen drive using a USB 3.0 port. That coupled with precaching has increased load and launch times drastically.
    That is true. I was very surprised when I found out that simple Pendrive of not the highest quality can give you almost the same performance like SSD disk.

  5. #5
    I would never do without an SSD.

    That said, I think the SSD needs to be reviewed in a price comparison too, just like the USB stick can be defined as better vs HDD. A smallish SSD will still set you back about $100.

    EDIT Oh, and thread rated as excellent

  6. #6
    worth a sticky in my opinion , maybe in New players section or technical support. as this will function as a great player guide .
    Elendilmir - 95 Hunter Berenthalion - 80ish Burg Berendybuck - baby warden Berenion.

    Worst Reaver on the server BerendyBash - R4

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    I must admit never considering this a big issue, but the testing above speaks a very clear language. Thank you.

    Did have the installation on a WDC 1TB SATA6 drive running at 7200 rpm (with most of my other games, Steam has its own 142GB folder ), but when I last reinstalled I placed LOTRO on a new Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD drive with my OS. Never done any measurements as to performance but, again, above test is interesting from that perspective.

    Then again, I never figured I would allocate almost 10% of my system drive to one game...
    The Elruthrim Brethren of Crickhollow
    Marancil CHN, Historian Calchiar CPT, Explorer Sturmdrang WDN, Woodsman Anancite GRD, Armourer Tarostel HNT, Armsman Angredeth HNT, Tinker Dromarong GRD, Dwarf

    The Lord of the Rings Online: Community Discord

  8. #8
    I was helping one player on Polish forum because he had some problems with his HDD and loading times and was asking if Pendrive can help him or he needs to buy new disk, maybe even SSD. I had SSD, HDD and Pendrive so I made some measurements for him. And then I got curious because Pendrive was performing almost as good as SSD, so I had to check it closely because it seemed unbelievable at first. But as you can see it is fact. I think that it can help a lot of people, especially those with slow/old PCs. It also verifies all myths about SSD once and for all and shows you exactly and precisely which parts of game it affects and which its not affecting at all.

    Problem is that this thread already disappeared in the jungle after only two days. Please stick it somewhere or at least move it to Player Created Guide, because it will land on 10th side in one week and then it will help nobody, and also my work will be wasted.
    Last edited by Unthariel; May 18 2015 at 11:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Maybe it could find some space on the wiki?
    The Elruthrim Brethren of Crickhollow
    Marancil CHN, Historian Calchiar CPT, Explorer Sturmdrang WDN, Woodsman Anancite GRD, Armourer Tarostel HNT, Armsman Angredeth HNT, Tinker Dromarong GRD, Dwarf

    The Lord of the Rings Online: Community Discord

  10. #10
    This is very good work. I wonder what the difference would be with an SSHD? I think all traditional drives will be replaced with this new format.
    Grundig blaupunkt luger frug
    Watusi snarf wazoo!
    Nixon dirksen nasahist
    Rebozo boogaloo

  11. #11
    It's not only your computer specs that matter, it's how much other stuff you have on it beside the game. I had a win 7 Toshiba with a huge screen and also a secondary 22 inch monitor rigged to it. Used to have 2-4 clients opened at the same time, all on ultra high everything. It ran very well. Until I started loading a ton of tv shows, movies and songs and over-burdened the space. Started slowing down the pc for lotro, at the end I went from 3 full up and 1 in the tray to 1 up and 1 in the tray. Took off all the excess junk but the damage was done. My fault, not Turbine's. Have a new desktop now and can run more than 6 clients at a time but not so much junk, limit my tv shows etc. 1-4 clients top everything, more than that lower the quality a bit. It really sneaks up unnoticed and quickly when the heat gets to a comp, going to pay more attention to this one!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    That's is basic computer resource management.

    You only have so much RAM resources
    You only have so much GPU resources
    You only have so much CPU resources
    You only have so much GB resources.

    Start questioning what is eating up your resources and your computer will always be much better off.
    The Elruthrim Brethren of Crickhollow
    Marancil CHN, Historian Calchiar CPT, Explorer Sturmdrang WDN, Woodsman Anancite GRD, Armourer Tarostel HNT, Armsman Angredeth HNT, Tinker Dromarong GRD, Dwarf

    The Lord of the Rings Online: Community Discord

  13. #13
    Information about Launcher Load Time has been updated. Now it contains measurements with disabled launcher loading screens and quick guide how to disable them. Also link to graphics settings panel guide has been added.
    Last edited by Unthariel; Jul 15 2015 at 03:34 PM.

  14. #14
    Due to no reaction from support for my request to move this thread to Player Created Guides and FAQs because it is getting overwhelmed all the time by other threads and it won't help anyone this way, I have copied it myself. Please continue further discussion in new thread. There it will be visible for anyone for all the time.



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