Testbed and Methods
The following testing utilities were used:
- IOMark 0.30b14
- IOMeter 2003.02.15
- FC-Test 1.0
- PCMark 2004
- PCMark 2005
- PCMark Vantage
- Raxco Perfect Disk 8.0
- WinRAR 3.60
- ASUS P5WDG2 WS Pro mainboard
- Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 processor
- IBM DTLA-307015 system disk, 15GB
- Radeon X600 graphics card
- 1GB DDR2-800 SDRAM
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 (and Windows Vista for PCMark Vantage)
The HDDs were tested with the generic OS drivers. We formatted them in FAT32 and NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size. For some tests 32GB partitions were created on the drives and formatted in FAT32 and NTFS with the default cluster size, too. The HDDs were connected to a mainboard port and worked with enabled AHCI.
The 4KB sectors of the WD10EARS interact with the test load in a specific way. It does not matter for synthetic benchmarks like IOMark and IOMeter whether this HDD is aligned or not because they work with the HDD without creating partitions on it. It must be noted, however, that random loads in IOMeter can begin with any sector address in 512-byte addressing. Easy to guess, only one out of eight requests will be lucky to coincide with the beginning of a 4KB sector. This is in fact the same as working with an unaligned disk.
The other tests work with file structures on the disk, so you will see two results in them, with the disk aligned and unaligned. We aligned our HDD with the WD Align tool to make sure the second partition in FC-Test was always aligned.