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Western Digital

Western Digital, as usual, offers a variety of hard disk drive models.

There are four discs of 200GB capacity present. We met the “BB” and “JB” models before, but “PB” and “JD” are something new. Let’s deal with them one by one.

WDxxxxPB are new hard disk drive models with the PATA interface, an 8MB buffer and fluid bearings. These drives add low-noise products to the high-performance Caviar series (with the “JB” suffix). It’s quite logical, considering the numerous complaints of the happy owners of “JB” drives at their noise at work. To reduce the noise, the “PB” drives use fluid bearings (by the way, it seems like Western Digital is steadily transferring all its drives to such bearings) and bigger delays between movements of the heads (the drive comes with AAM = 128).

WDxxxxJD are high-performance disks with the Serial ATA interface. This model can’t boast any exceptional characteristics, as it is in fact a replica of the PATA “JB” drive. To add the interface, a PATA-SATA converter from Marvell is employed. There’s nothing wrong about that – all manufacturers, except Seagate, made their first generation of SATA drives with the help of a PATA-SATA bridge.

So, we have mustered all the participants of our today’s tests. As we mentioned above, Samsung didn’t tinker with 100GB platters, preferring to jump over right to 120GB ones. That’s why you won’t see Samsung’s drives in this review.

Testbed and Methods

We have to use two controllers as we have hard disk drives that connect across two different interfaces. We took two controllers from the same manufacturer:

  • Promise Ultra133 TX2 (the BIOS version and the driver version;
  • Promise SATA150 TX2 Plus (the BIOS version 1.00.033, the driver version

The testbed was configured as follows:

  • Albatron PX865PE Pro II mainboard (i865PE chipset);
  • Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU (533MHz FSB);
  • 256MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM, CL2;
  • IBM DTLA 307015 system HDD;
  • ATI RADEON VE graphics card;
  • Windows 2000 Pro SP4.

The drives had the following firmware versions:

We used the following benchmarking software:

  • WinBench 99 2.0;
  • Intel IOMeter 2003.02.15;
  • FC-Test version 1.0 build 11

Note that unlike in the previous reviews, we use a new version of FC-Test now (see our article called X-bit's FC-Test 1.0 or "System Rebooted"). Thanks to the system reboots after each test action, this version eliminates the effect of caching of files in the system RAM and thus yields more correct results.

We wrote the Maxtor drives through before the tests to avoid their forced write verification. We turned off the noiseless seek mode for the WD2000PB drive.

For WinBench tests we formatted the drives in FAT32 and NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size (FAT32 formatting was performed with Paragon Partition Manager). We ran the tests seven times each, chalking up the best result. The HDDs didn’t cool down between the tests. For FC Test we created two 32GB partitions on the drives. For IOMeter tests we used Sequential Read, Sequential Write, Database, Workstation, File Server and Web Server patterns. You can refer to our previous reviews for details about the patterns.

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