Slim Is, Indeed, Faster Than Other SKUs
There have been recent reports all over the place on how much slower the Slim is compared to the PS3’s other SKUs. Digital Foundry has performed three tests on systems with reformatted HDDs, and the ones the system came with to boot (they used a 60GB and the 120GB Slim).
The tests performed were games that loaded off of the disc solely (Call of Duty 4), a quick disc install to the main screen (using Assassin’s Creed) and, finally, a giant installation (in which case, they used Devil May Cry 4).
The results were contradictory to what everyone else had said about install and load times. The Slim did, in fact, outperform the 60GB on two of the tests within seconds, but the install for Devil May Cry 4 took nearly three minutes longer than the the 60GB model, which is quite significant (deleting the data took roughly the same ammount of time).
Conclusion? They say that the tests may be due to the hard drives themselves, because the HDDs factory installed on the systems run at 5400RPM. You can purchase 7200RPM drives. Size can be a factor as well, since the stock 120GB is twice the size of the original 60GB. It, then, wouldn’t be surprising if a faster, larger drive would be able to outperform the original drive that came with the system.
As far as the blu-ray drive itself, it does appear the new model does have a better drive built in with a faster seek time than the original drive on the 60GB. They will perform another test in the future, using the same HDD as a control, but as it stands in this test, they used what came with the system to prove the Slim is faster than a “Fat” PS3, as long as they weren’t modified.
You can get a more detailed description of the tests performed here, as well as a more in-depth description of the results.