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Disk Response Time and IOMark: Average Positioning Speed

In this test IOMeter is sending a stream of requests to read and write 512-byte data blocks with a request queue of 1 for 10 minutes. The total number of requests processed by the HDD is over 60 thousand, so we get a sustained response time that doesn’t depend on the HDD’s buffer size.

Well, the 1.5TB model from Seagate is indeed a true representative of the Barracuda 7200.11 series with all its peculiarities including the terribly high response time. We wonder if it has no deferred writing or has problems with small data blocks. The Barracuda 7200.12 model is, on the contrary, good. The new series seems to have got rid of the problems with writing, perhaps even by employing the piece of firmware code that was used in early Barracuda 7200.11 series drives that used to please us with their performance. The new HDD’s read response time is not record-breaking, though. Judging by its noise, its heads are just limited in speed. An interesting fact, IOMark’s results suggest that the HDD supports a noise control system (AAM) that has not been available in Seagate’s products for a long while. And the system is set at 254 by default, i.e. at maximum performance.

The 2TB drive from Western Digital is good, too. Its performance is but slightly worse than the predecessor’s, which means that its heads are moving quickly enough and have no problems finding the necessary track on the high-density platters.

We will do one more test in this section to find the average positioning speed of the drives. The drive is being bombarded with read requests like in the response time test, and we calculate the difference between the LBA addresses of the previous and next requests and divide it by the time it took to perform the request. In other words, we have the distance (in gigabytes) the drive can run through in 1 second. The results are averaged and compared.

Multi-platter drives are superior in this test. The huge recording density of the 2TB WD combined with eight quickly moving heads makes it the fastest drive here with a large lead over the others. The 1.5-terabyte Seagate is good, outperforming the WD Caviar Black. The new 1TB model is worse than its opponents but better than its predecessor even though the latter has six heads.

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