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Performance in PCMark 2004 / 2005

PCMark 2005 has the same tests as the 2004 version (not only in names, but also in results as we have seen a lot of times), so we only discuss one test from PCMark 2004 which is not available in the 2005 version. It is called File Copying and measures the speed of copying some set of files. The other results can be learned from the table. The PCMark 2005 tests are:

  • Windows XP Startup is the typical disk subsystem load at system startup;
  • Application Loading is the disk activity at sequential starting-up and closing of six popular applications;
  • General Usage reflects the disk activity in a number of popular applications;
  • File Write is about the speed of writing files; and
  • Virus Scan benchmarks the disk’s performance at scanning the system for viruses.

The final result of the average of ten runs of each test.

Of course, these benchmarks, and the subsequent PCMark Vantage, are not so crucial for server disks as such HDDs are meant for different applications and loads. Anyway, let’s compare the HDDs in such tests, too. Click this link to view the table with results for PCMark 2004.

When copying files in PCMark, the HDDs deliver different results than in FC-Test. While the Hitachi C10K300 still has first place, the Fujitsu is second now. The pair of Seagate drives with low-density platters improves their results somewhat but cannot leave the last places.

The Fujitsu and Hitachi C10K300 cope better than the others with booting Windows XP up. It is firmware algorithms that determine a drive’s performance here: the Seagate 15K.1 with the lowest response time cannot show good results while the HDD with the highest-density platters is only second.

We’ve got the same standings in the Application Loading test. The Fujitsu is first, followed by the Hitachi C10K300.

The Fujitsu wins the General Usage test, too. The new Hitachi is now competing with the Seagate 10K2 for second place.

Scanning for viruses is highly sensitive to the caching mechanisms implemented in the drive’s firmware. This time, Hitachi’s HDDs cope best with it. Somewhat surprisingly, the Seagate 10K.2 and Fujitsu are on the losing side here.

There are no driver conflicts in this test and the HDDs are ranked according to their platter density. Thus, the Hitachi 10K300 takes first place, enjoying a 50% lead over the others. The Seagate 15K.1 is again hamstringed by the lack of deferred writing, delivering a very low speed.

Quite expectedly, the Hitachi drives take top places in terms of overall score, the new C10K300 enjoying a huge advantage. The Fujitsu is ahead of the Seagate HDDs although its performance in the individual tests was not consistent. The last place of the Seagate 15K.1 is a most remarkable thing. It means that a high spindle rotation speed is not so good if accompanied with low-density platters and poor firmware algorithms.

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