Solid state drives (SSDs) allow single-drive performance that is far greater than disks can produce. Their low latency and potential for parallel operations mean that they are able to read and write data at speeds that strain operating system I/O interfaces. Additionally, their performance characteristics expose gaps in existing benchmarking methodologies. We discuss the impact on Linux system design of a prototype PCI Express SSD that operates at least an order of magnitude faster than most drives available today. We develop benchmarking strategies and focus on several areas where current Linux systems need improvement, and suggest methods of taking full advantage of such high-performance solid state storage. We demonstrate that an SSD can perform with high through-put, high operation rates, and low latency under the most difficult conditions. This suggests that high-performance SSDs can dramatically improve parallel I/O performance for future high performance computing (HPC) systems.