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Performance in WinBench 99

Notebook Mode

Here are the linear read graphs for our testing participants:

  • Fujitsu MHS2060AT (Graph);
  • Hitachi Travelstar 80GN (Graph);
  • Seagate ST94811A (Graph);
  • Toshiba MK4018GAS (Graph);
  • Toshiba MK4019GAX (Graph);
  • Toshiba MK6021GAS (Graph);
  • Toshiba MK6022GAX (Graph).

The drives from Toshiba, Fujitsu and Seagate drew well-shaped inner transfer graphs in WinBench 99 – without zigzagging slumps. Hitachi’s drive made a jagged line. This is an alarming symptom as it may betray problems with the quality of the disk surface. However, the vertical lines are in order. So, we may have certain design peculiarities here rather than the influence of low-quality platters.

Update from October 8, 2003

And what is especially interesting, it’s the fact that our supposition turned out absolutely correct. On September 18, Hitachi Global Storage Technology site released a document called “Adaptive Formatting”, which describes Adaptive Formatting technology used in Travelstar 80GN, Travelstar 5K80 and Travelstar 7K80 drives. The ieda behind this technology is very simple: instead of adding a heads set with similar features to every drive during its production stage (so that they could format the drive space into standard zones with a set number of sectors per track), they preliminarily format each platter+head combination for the maximum possible (necessary?) number of sectors. This way, the tracks within one cylinder (the tracks on different sides of the platter or on different platters) can feature different bit density. The linear read graph for the hard disk drive formatted with the help of Adaptive Formatting technology will consist of straight read speed graphs for each head connected with each other but short lines. Since the HDD capacity is quite high, the “level of detail” of the graph is insufficient, so that the graph acquires notched looks, which we have already seen here.

The introduction of Adaptive Formatting technology allows to reduce the HDD production costs and to achieve high storage capacities. However, we wouldn’t consider the linear speed deviations to be very “healthy” when you work with high-quality video, for instance. Hopefully, no one is going to use notebook drives for that :)

Seagate ST94811A is the fastest of all at reading data from the disk. Toshiba MK-6022GAX takes the second place and Hitachi Travelstar is the third. Toshiba MK-4018GAS shows the slowest inner transfer speed.

Seagate ST94811A boasts better access time than the others. The pair of drives from Toshiba is worse, although they have the same spindle rotation speed – 5,400rpm. The GAS drive from Toshiba and Fujitsu MHS2060AT have the worst access time of all.

All drives make little use of the CPU resources; this is not a crucial factor in their work. Anyway, Toshiba MK-4018GAS and Fujitsu MHS2060AT are the best in terms of the CPU utilization.

Now, we have come to the most interesting thing. Business and High-End Disk WinMark are two main showings of a HDD as tested in WinBench 99. I’m not surprised to see the Seagate Momentus drive having the highest total result: the first place in High-End WinMark and the second place in Business Disk WinMark (after Toshiba MK-6022GAX). Let me remind you that MK-6022GAX has a twice as large cache-buffer. Hitachi Travelstar is the third. The both GAS drives from Toshiba show lowest performance. Well, we could hardly hope for anything better from old models with a 2MB buffer.

Desktop Mode

Now we will take a look at the results we got when using the drives in a desktop computer. I ran a somewhat shortened list of tests with fewer drives included. Among Toshiba’s drives, only the 40GB models from the GAS and GAX families participated. We formatted the drives as one FAT32 and NTFS partition with the default cluster size.

Seagate ST94811A is a bit slower than Hitachi Travelstar in High-End Disk WinMark, but outperforms it in Business Disk WinMark. Overall, the Momentus once again proved its superiority: by the total of the two tests as well by the other parameters.

The advantages of the Seagate drive prove more eviednt with the NTFS file system. It is better than its rivals in nearly all respects. Hitachi Travelstar is the second fastest. I guess it looks most promising among the rest.

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