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Defragmentation

Next goes our homemade test of defragmentation speed. We created a very defragmented file system on a 32GB partition of a disk by loading it with music, video, games and applications. Then we saved a per-sector copy of that disk and now copy it to a disk we want to test. We run a script that evokes the integrated defragmenter of Windows 7 and marks the time of the beginning and end of the defragmentation process. For more information about this test, you can refer to this article.

In this and the next test we will benchmark the HDDs with 4KB physical sectors without aligning their partitions. The results are interesting enough even though we don’t usually do such tests.

A look at this diagram is enough to realize that the Seagate Barracuda XT has no 4KB sectors. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be able to be as fast with the unaligned partition as with the aligned one. You can see this with the WD which needs 50% more time to defragment the unaligned partition. Overall, we can see again that the Seagate and the Hitachi are equals, the WD falling behind them both.

Performance in WinRAR

Now we are going to show you one more interesting test in which we use WinRAR version 3.91 to compress and then uncompress a 1.13GB folder with 8118 files in 671 subfolders. The files are documents and images in various formats. These operations are done on the tested HDD. This test depends heavily on CPU performance, but the storage device affects its speed, too.

Here, we don’t see much difference between the aligned and unaligned partitions. The partition status doesn’t affect the speed of reading. As for writing, data can be written in large blocks in this test, which minimizes the negative effect of the unaligned partition. Switching from the faster to the slower HDD improves the result by 10 seconds only. The controller is more important because the faster controller helps the WD disk pass the test faster by 10%.

The speed of an HDD and the partition status (aligned/unaligned) are both important when unpacking the archive but the controller is not. The Hitachi comes out the winner, the unaligned WD being more than 50% slower than the leader!

 
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