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Once again we cannot name an absolute champion of our tests. Different drives took the podium in each of the benchmarks and we think it incorrect to normalize the results to the winner of each test and sum up these coefficients to determine the overall winner by the total score. We’ve got very different tests, and there are few users who are using their drive as the disk subsystem of a server and as the disk for processing streaming video at the same time…

So, we will only name the winner in each subtest for you to choose what’s required for your particular needs.

The Hitachi HDS722525VLAT80 drives of 200GB and 250GB capacities and the Seagate ST3200822AS are the best in the IOMeter tests that emulate the disk subsystem of servers. Thus, these drives are going to be a good choice if you’re building a simple server.

The Hitachi team, the SATA model from Seagate and two drives from Western Digital, WD2000PB and WD2000BB, were the best in the patterns that emulate the disk subsystem of a desktop computer.

The four drives from Maxtor were unrivalled in the High-End Disk Winmark subtest of WinBench 99, and the Hitachi team won the Business Disk Winmark subtest, although with a very small advantage over the others.

It’s hard to determine a leader of FC Test: Seagate’s drives are the best at reading files, irrespective of their size; the Maxtor team is speedy at writing file sets and is good at copying large files; the Hitachi drives excellently handle small-size files.

And here are a few general observations:

  • Large hard disk drives don’t principally differ from small ones. They are just larger. So, you shouldn’t expect any extraordinary results from them.
  • Seagate’s drives were quite pleasing to watch. The “stretching” of the platter didn’t result in a higher average seek time, while the firmware algorithms are rapidly improving (this is especially conspicuous in FC-Test).
  • It’s all rather strange with the Maxtor drives. We see no significant difference in speeds either because Maxtor doesn’t want to distance the MaXLine II and DiamondMax Plus 9 series in speed characteristics, thinking that the higher reliability of the MaXLine II series is a thick enough separating line, or because the DiamondMax Plus 9 drives of 200GB capacity enjoy a performance bonus in a number of tests due to their “shortened” platters. Of course, it’s you who make the choice, but if reliability of the hard disk drive is not vitally important for you, you may want to consider a model from the DiamondMax Plus 9 series as they are excellently balanced for all “home” applications.
  • Hitachi has been very stable, as usual, although the SATA model surprised us somewhat – it differs too much from the other HDDs made by the company. Some progress is obvious with regards to the drives from Western Digital, too.

So, the HDD-making technology is developing, but we’re not marking time, either. And soon you’re going to see tests of drives with Native Command Queuing on our site.

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