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Multi-Threaded Read and Write Patterns

Follow this link to see detailed tables containing results of this test. We’ll discuss diagrams that compare the drives at a requests queue depth of 1.

Seagate’s drives with perpendicular recording take all of the podium when there is only one thread to be processed. When data is being read in one thread only, this test transforms into a sequential reading test and the drives line up according to their areal density. Somewhat boring, eh? Let’s make it hotter now by increasing the number of simultaneously running threads!

With several threads, the HDD cannot win through sheer physical force alone. It is important that the drive’s firmware could recognize the threaded nature of load and could adapt the read ahead mechanism accordingly.

That’s it: Seagate’s programmers just didn’t think about such loads. As a result, the company’s drives almost refuse to work, delivering indecently low read speed. Maxtor’s drives don’t have such a high sequential read speed as the last generation of Seagate drives, but they use what they have in a most efficient way. The Maxtors’ speeds of reading in two threads do not differ much from their sequential read speeds.

The Hitachi HDS721616PLA30 is the closest drive behind the Maxtors, but its speed is lower more than by half. Funnily, Samsung shows some degradation in terms of firmware: the older SP1614C is much faster than the newer HD160JJ.

Nothing changes when it comes to reading three and four threads. The Samsung SP1614C and the WD1600JS drives can be marked out. They are slower than the Maxtors, but are not as poor as the others.

Now let’s see what we have at writing.

Strangely enough, the Hitachi HDS721616PLA30 is the best one when writing one thread, although it doesn’t use the new perpendicular recording technology as its pursuers, three models from Seagate’s last generation of HDDs, do.

The Maxtor drives take two top places when we add a second thread, but their opponents don’t look as hopeless here as they did in the multi-threaded reading test.

The single loser of this test, the Seagate ST3160211AS, has a valid excuse. It is the only HDD in this review to have only 2 megabytes of cache memory.

The picture doesn’t change much as we add a third and then a fourth thread. The Maxtor drives are still ahead, while the Samsung HD1600JJ and the Seagate ST3160827AS are contending for third place. Note also how the Seagate ST3160827, the oldest HDD model in this review, leaves most of the newer HDDs behind in this test.

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