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Web-Server, Fileserver 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.

Quick heads and excellent NCQ algorithms ensure Western Digital’s 7200rpm drives a confident win in this test that includes read requests only. The Samsung and Seagate are competing fiercely: the former is better at short queue depths and the latter, at long queue depths. Let’s see what ratings the HDDs have.

The Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 enjoys a smallest advantage in terms of ratings. By the way, the results of the Western Digital drives are the best among all the HDDs we have ever tested. The performance of the Seagate and Samsung is somewhat better than average while the 5400rpm Caviar Green is inferior to almost every 7200rpm drive, save for those that have stopped selling due to low storage capacity. So, you should not use this HDD in reads-oriented RAID arrays.

Reads are laced with 20% writes in the File-Server pattern. This has no effect on the standing of the pair of Western Digital’s drives which stay in the lead. The Caviar Green has got closer to the Samsung, though.

Despite the complex situation in the area of low loads the Seagate is faster than the Samsung and the latter is somewhat better than the WD Caviar Green.

The Samsung is the best drive under the Workstation load. It is closely followed by the pair of Western Digital drives. The Seagate is poor in this test, especially at low loads. Its 32 megabytes of cache memory don’t help it at all.

The ratings agree with what we’ve seen in the diagram.

When the test zone is greatly limited (32GB is a mere 5% of the total capacity), the 7200rpm drives go very close to each other, the Samsung falling behind at high loads only. The Caviar Green is still very slow. Take note that the speeds are about 50% higher when the drives work with the fastest zones of their platters. Do not forget about that because you can allot your OS the fastest part of the hard disk during installation and give out the rest for a second partition with data.

According to our ratings, the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 wins this test.

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