STLab Case for 3.5” HDDs (FireWire/USB 2.0)
Our third participant is a special container, intended to accommodate a 3.5” HDD. You can attach this thing via FireWire or a USB 2.0 interface. The manufacturer doesn’t mention any performance numbers, though. The case allows placing the drive vertically. The dimensions of the STLab case are 115x35x220mm. You use it with an external power adapter, which you receive along with USB and FireWire cables, a software CD and a technical description.
The average retail price of the case is $67.
Testbed and Methods
Today we are going to check out performance of hard disk drives in five different configurations. First, we take a Maxtor MaXLine II 5A300J0 HDD and connect it to its native Ultra ATA interface. Then we will seal it into the STLab rack and test it attaching to two interfaces (FireWire and USB). The external Maxtor OneTouch drive is also tested with those two interfaces.
For our tests we used the following software:
- WinBench 99 version 2.0;
- FC-Test version 1.0;
- Intel IOMeter 2003.02.15;
- PCMark04 version 110.
The testbed was configured as follows:
- Albatron PX865PE Pro mainboard;
- Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU;
- IBM DTLA-307015 15GB;
- RADEON 7000 32MB graphics card;
- 256MB DDR SDRAM;
- Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4.
The external devices were attached to the mainboard’s integrated USB 2.0 interface (realized through the ICH5) and to a FireWire port on a PCI add-on card with the VIA VT6306 chip. We carried out our tests using the default drivers of the operating system. The drives were formatted in FAT32 and NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size. In some cases, specially mentioned below, we used logical volumes of 32GB capacities, formatted in FAT32 and NTFS with the same default cluster size. The Maxtor drives were “written through” before the tests to avoid their forced write verification, which would otherwise influence the results.