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Performance in Intel IOMeter Database Pattern

Database results (click here to view the results table)

As usual, I’m going to check the dependence of the performance on the number of write operations.

The drives differ little under the linear load, so I had to “zoom in” by using a not-from-zero scale. The graphs of all the models have the same shape, which is another indication of the close affinity between the Deskstar 7K400 and 7K250.

The senior 7K250 model is the first at the start, enjoying its advantage in average seek time, and the rest of the drives follow it in a dense group. Starting from about 40% writes, the 7K400 on the Serial ATA controller integrated into the ICH5 tries to fight for the first place, but the better average seek time says its word at 100% writes. At about the same spot the Deskstar 7K400 on the Promise Ultra133 TX2 controller starts to have problems. It first loses its advantage over the two-platter 7K250 and then falls behind the others at the end of the race.

No, let’s examine the scalability in load at various types of requests.

It’s impossible to defer read operations, so the average seek time determines the winner here. None of the drives has any problems with scalability at reading. The 7K400 models are all slightly slower than the 7K250 at a load of 256 requests, but this is not important at all.

There are differences in the mixed modes (the diagram shows averaged results for all write-to-read ratios). The adaptive algorithms win here, although the ATA version of the Deskstar 7K400 on the Promise S150TX2 controller is no slower at small loads.

The biggest gap, as might have been expected by the results of the earlier tests, occurs at 100% writes: the 7K400 on the Promise Ultra133 TX2 is hopelessly slow. It also has some problems with scalability in load on other controllers, too.

Well, now we can make some statements concerning the features of the Deskstar 7K400 electronics. Without doubt, the firmware is directly inherited from the 7K250. The introduction of the UltraDMA/133 mode doesn’t lead to any breakthroughs, but causes certain incompatibility with some ATA controllers at deferred write operations. It’s hard to name the real cause of this behavior but it’s not the first time the Promise Ultra133 TX2 controller acts up. We saw oddities even with the D740X, the first drive to support the UDMA6 protocol, so we can ascribe the blame for the strange results of the ATA version of the Deskstar 7K400 to the controller’s peculiarities. Curiously, the Deskstar 7K250, on the contrary, had problems with deferred writing on Serial ATA controllers (see our article called Hitachi Deskstar 7K250: Vancouver 3 HDD Review for details).

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