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Performance in FC-Test

When talking about FC-Test some people say that measuring the speed of copying files is not actually a real-life load for a hard disk. They have a point because files are not often copied within a hard disk. However, this operation is very real in terms of load type: data are being read from the disk and written to it at the same time (i.e. there are two threads, one for reading and another for writing). In fact, this is the load created by archivers (except that their threads are not symmetrical) and audio/video encoders.

What is indisputably good about FC-Test, it can create a set of files on the disk (which is the same as copying files from an external, faster, source) and read a set of files from the disk (the same as starting applications, etc). Thanks to these abilities FC-Test is very useful for testing network drives, for example.

FC-Test reacts sensitively to subtle nuances in HDDs’ firmware that are hard to reveal with synthetic benchmarks such as IOMeter. FC-Test is also good for benchmarking flash drives and HDDs with a USB interface although it’s beyond the scope of this review.

Now I will show you the results of the standard FC-Test testing procedure involving four operations over five file-sets. I won’t publish the results for the MP3 and Windows patterns to shorten this already long article. The other file-sets will show you quite clearly what HDDs are the best.

The first operation is about creating a file-set (in fact, it means writing files).

We have the same leaders at processing both large and small files. The HDDs from Samsung and Hitachi are clearly the best at writing files.

Samsung’s HDD always profits from being attached to the controller with a higher interface bandwidth. Seagate’s HDDs are surprisingly slow.

Let’s now see how the HDDs will read the file-sets.

Samsung is ahead while Seagate’s HDD does not react to the faster controller.

Reading large files almost boils down to sequential reading and the controller’s fast SATA interface is called for by both high-density models. It is only on the new platform that they nearly reach the 100MBps mark.

Seagate’s HDDs are slow again on small files while Samsung’s and Hitachi’s drives remain in the lead.

 
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