The Seagate team consists of three drives of the last generation (Barracuda 7200.7) plus an older device (Barracuda ATA V). Well, the “oldie” is equipped with an 8MB buffer – maybe this barracuda will be swimming about for a while?
Western Digital has the largest presence in this roundup. Don’t think we favor this company over the others, it wouldn’t be true at all. It’s just because there is absolute uncertainly about the capacity of platters in WD drives. According to the specs of the Caviar and the Caviar SE drives of 120GB capacity, as published on the Western Digital web-site, these drives have three platters. Considering that the number of read/write heads is 6, we may infer that the platter capacity is 40GB.
Back in early 2002 we had no doubts about the specs – 40GB per platter was the norm then. But now it’s hard to believe that WD1200BB and WD1200JB have three platters.
We have test results for different WD1200BB and WD1200JB drives: some were produced in early 2003 and others are nearly fresh (December of 2003). Judging by the linear read speed, they are not made on 40GB platters! We will return to this topic later, right now the table contains our assumptions about the real platter capacity.
Testbed and Methods
We had to use two controllers as we had hard disk drives that connect across two different interfaces. So we chose two controllers from the same manufacturer:
- Promise Ultra133 TX2 (the BIOS version 220.127.116.11 and the driver version 18.104.22.168);
- Promise SATA150 TX2 Plus (the BIOS version 1.00.033 and the driver version 22.214.171.124, WriteThrough).
The testbed was configured as follows:
- Albatron PX865PE Pro II mainboard (i865 chipset);
- Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU (533MHz FSB);
- 256MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM, CL2;
- IBM DTLA 307015 system HDD;
- ATI RADEON VE graphics card;
- Windows 2000 Pro SP4.
The drives had the following firmware versions:
We used the following benchmarking software:
- WinBench 99 2.0;
- Intel IOMeter 2003.02.15;
- FC-Test 0.5.3.
We wrote the Maxtor drives “through” to avoid the forced write checking (click here for details).
We formatted the drives in FAT32 and NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size (FAT32 formatting was performed by Paragon Partition Manager). We ran the tests seven times each, taking the best result for further analysis. The HDDs didn’t cool down between the tests. For FC-Test we partitioned the drive into two logical volumes, 32GB each. For Intel IOMeter tests, we used Sequential Read, Sequential Write, Database, Workstation, Fileserver and Webserver patterns. You can refer to our previous reviews for details about the patterns.