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Performance in WinBench99 (FAT32)

We also use WinBench test set to check the HDD performance in applications. As you remember, WinBench tests are performed on a freshly formatted drive, which leads to a certain dependence of the benchmark results on the file system parameters. According to the traditional testing methodology I tested the drives formatted as a single partition. Therefore, if the drive features big storage capacity, the amount of auxiliary info to be stored on it also increased. So, when I was comparing the results for HDDs from the same product line but with different storage capacities, I noticed one very interesting tendency. As the HDD storage capacity increased, its performance in WinBench test started growing at first and then went down. The performance increase is easily explained by the fact that the more platter surfaces are involved, the smaller is the heads moving distance, when you need to read or write the file. The performance drop, however, turned out much more difficult to explain. I believe that it has mostly to do with the growing “expenses” of the OS when working with high capacity drives. But let’s stop guessing: we will have clear evidence in a few minutes.

We will start with FAT32:

Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the access time of Hitachi HDD, which is equal to 11.8ms! Wow, I haven’t seen numbers like that for ages, I suppose. At least since the times of Quantum LM HDD.

This is an excellent result, I should say. And the remarkable thing about it is the fact that this positioning speed can be achieved on 83GB platters! It definitely means that there is a way to combine high storage capacity and fast mechanics in a single drive.

To make the results a bit easier for you to read, I summed up the performance values in two integral tests (namely, Business Disk WinMark and High-End Disk WinMark) for the entire drive and for the first 32GB of drive space. The picture appeared really interesting:

As we see, all HDDs perform faster within smaller partitions rather than in case the entire HDD space is involved. This way, the theory I have shared with you got a point to its score.

If we forget about all theories for a while and compare the HDD performance as is, we will see Hitachi HDD again ahead of all. Although this time WD solutions will be really close behind it. Maxtor HDDs were the last ones this time.

I wonder if the partition size tells on the results in the High-End test:

Of course it does! And look how big this influence actually is! But only not for WD drives :)

It is pretty interesting that Maxtor drives got really fast here: their performance is much better than that of the competitors. The third prize was taken by Hitachi, while WD drives keep going side by side, as usual.

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