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Web-Server, File-Server and Workstation Patterns

The drives are tested under loads typical of servers and workstations.

The names of the patterns are self-explanatory. The Workstation pattern is used with the full capacity of the drive as well as with a 32GB partition. The request queue is limited to 32 requests in the Workstation pattern.

The results are presented as performance ratings. For the File-Server and Web-Server patterns the performance rating is the average speed of the drive under every load. For the Workstation pattern we use the following formula:

Rating (Workstation) = Total I/O (queue=1)/1 + Total I/O (queue=2)/2 + Total I/O (queue=4)/4 + Total I/O (queue=8)/8 + Total I/O (queue=16)/16.

This test depends on the HDD’s response time, so the Caviar Black meet no competition here. The Hitachi are only as fast as the power-efficient models from Western Digital whereas the last three places go to the Samsung drives which don’t like this load.

Take note how good the WD10EARS is when there is no writing to be done. It is just as good as its same-class opponents.

The picture changes as soon as we add write requests into the load. The leading pair of Caviar Black drives is split up by the Samsung F3. Yes, the F3 has indeed become better with the new firmware because its predecessors are at the bottom of the diagram, being only ahead of the WD10EARS that has problems with writing. On the other hand, the Samsung F3 is not so good under low loads, which explains its sixth performance rating. We should also note the excellent results of the power-efficient P8. With its small-diameter platters and highly efficient firmware algorithms, it beats both 7200RPM drives from Hitachi despite the difference in spindle rotation speed.

The load becomes more complex and the Samsung F3 falls behind the two leaders. The rest of the results are overall the same as in the previous test. We can only note the sagging part of the Hitachi 7K1000.C’s graph which is indicative of a firmware flaw. Fortunately, this flaw resulted in but a minor performance reduction.

When the test zone is greatly limited (32 gigabytes is less than 5% of the total storage capacity of a 1-terabyte drive), the result often depends on the drive’s recording density. However, WD’s Caviar Black models remain in the lead thanks to their superb electronics. A drive with denser platters can only be seen in third place. It is the Samsung F3. If you compare the graphs or the ratings of the Hitachi drives, you can see that the new dual-platter 7K1000.C has firmware flaws that make it slower than its 3-platter predecessor.

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