Articles: Storage
 

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Testbed and Methods

The following testing utilities were used:

  • IOMeter 2003.02.15
  • WinBench 99 2.0
  • FC-Test 1.0
  • PCMark 2004
  • PCMark 2005
  • PCMark Vantage

Testbed configuration:

  • ASUS P5WDG2 WS Pro mainboard
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 processor
  • IBM DTLA-307015 system disk, 15GB
  • Radeon X600 graphics card
  • 1GB DDR2-800 SDRAM
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2

We installed the generic OS drivers for the drives and formatted them in FAT32 and NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size. For some tests 32GB partitions were created on the drives and formatted in FAT32 and NTFS with the default cluster size, too. The drives were connected to a Promise SATA300 TX4302 controller installed into a PCI-X slot and switched from the quiet mode (with Advanced Acoustic Management enabled) into the ordinary operating mode when necessary. Of course, the drives are all tested with enabled AHCI.

Performance in WinBench

First we recorded the drives’ data-transfer graphs using WinBench:

The following diagram compares the read speed at the beginning and end of each disk:

Seagate’s new series HDDs deliver the highest read speed. They are the only drives to reach the 100MBps mark, the desktop 7200.11 series proving to be somewhat faster than the server-oriented ES.2. The latter series must have a reduced recording density in order to ensure higher reliability. Anyway, 100MBps is an astounding result. The progress of the HDDs is obvious: the transition to the new generation with higher recording density has increased the performance by a third!

The Samsung is a disappointment. It should have been faster than or at least as fast as Seagate’s HDDs but delivers only 90MBps. Judging by the data-transfer graph, the three platters differ in speed greatly. We seem to have adaptive formatting here. It is possible that Samsung’s 750GB drives are based on platters that did not manage to reach the recording density necessary to achieve a capacity of 1 terabyte on three platters. This is only our supposition, though. This HDD may just be based on other platters that have lower recording density originally.

The results of the RE2-GP series drives from Western Digital are interesting: spinning at 5400rpm, they deliver the same speed as the 7200.10 series drive from Seagate with a higher spindle rotation speed. The newer WD7501AYPS slows down less than the older WD7500AYPS towards the end of the disk. So although they have similar top speeds, the WD7501AYPS is going to have a higher average read speed.

 
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