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Testbed and Methods

Our testing methodology hasn’t changed much. As before, we make a wide use of IOMeter and complement it with FC-Test to check the drive’s performance at processing files.

Recently we’ve added a test of benchmarking disk performance at defragmentation using Raxco Perfect Disk 8.0.

Another addition to our test program is the measurement of the power consumption of hard disk drives. You can read more about it in our article called "Hard Disk Drive Power Consumption Measurements: X-bit’s Methodology Indepth".

Besides that, the HDDs are benchmarked in Futuremark’s new PCMark Vantage suite.

Here is the complete list of the tests and applications used for this review:

  • FC IOMark 03b15
  • IOMeter 2003.02.15
  • FC-Test 1.0 build 13
  • PCMark04 Build 1.3.0
  • PCMark05 Build 1.1.0
  • WinBench 99 2.0
  • Raxco PerfectDisk 8.0

Our testbed has been modified, too. We were even forced to modify it because of Samsung. We traditionally test HDDs using Promise controllers which are designed as PCI cards. And the bandwidth of the PCI bus (32 bits, 33MHz) proves to be not enough for the Samsung SpinPoint F1 drive because its linear read speed is over 110MBps (111MBps with our sample; this HDD employs adaptive formatting and the recording density for different head-surface pairs may vary in the same zone, so the linear read speed of another sample of this HDD model may be a little higher or lower).

Moreover, Samsung’s HDD proved to be highly sensitive to the interface bandwidth. We checked this out in a simple way: we performed the tests once again but installed the Promise controller into a PCI-X slot (Promise controllers support this slot at 66MHz). As a result, we had to upgrade our testbed and now it is based on an ASUS P5WDG2 WS Pro mainboard. We chose this mainboard because it had universal connectors: a free long PCI Express x16 slot (another such slot is occupied by the graphics card) and two PCI-X slots.

The Promise SATA300 TX4302 controller was installed into one of these PCI-X slots.

 
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