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Web-Server, File-Server and Workstation Patterns

The drives are tested under loads typical of servers and workstations. The names of the patterns are self-explanatory. The Workstation pattern is used with the full capacity of the drive as well as with a 32GB partition. The request queue is limited to 32 requests in the Workstation pattern.

The results are presented as performance ratings. For the File-Server and Web-Server patterns the performance rating is the average speed of the drive under every load. For the Workstation pattern we use the following formula:

Rating (Workstation) = Total I/O (queue=1)/1 + Total I/O (queue=2)/2 + Total I/O (queue=4)/4 + Total I/O (queue=8)/8 + Total I/O (queue=16)/16.

This reads-only load does not show us anything special. The HDDs all produce smooth graphs and their performance growth matches what we have seen in IOMeter: Database at pure reading. A pair of WD drives win this test, the Caviar Black being the leader. Next go two drives from Seagate. The next group have very similar results, pushing the Hitachi 7K1000.C, WD Green with 32MB cache and Samsung F2 down to the bottom of the results table.

The picture changes as soon as there appear write requests in the load. The graphs are now shaped differently from each other. The Seagate LP suffers the most: it loses NCQ at short queue depths (we have mentioned this peculiarity of its behavior above) and does not show any performance growth. Its performance rating is low as the result.

Three HDDs – the Seagate 7200.11, the Samsung F3 and the WD Green with 16MB cache – have a peculiar shape of the graphs. They have an excellent performance growth at the beginning but then their graphs become horizontal. These HDDs feel better at short queue depths.

Overall, we have the same leaders but the Samsung F3 and Seagate LP fall behind in this test.

WD’s products and Seagate’s 7200RPM drives pass this workstation-typical load without betraying serious flaws in their firmware but the other HDDs do show problems.

We’ve got similar standings when the test zone is limited to 32 gigabytes. Take note of the top place of the Seagate 7200.12. The lack of firmware flaws and the high recording density help it beat the lower-density WD Black because the narrow test zone negates the latter’s advantage in the way of quick read/write heads.

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