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Performance in FC-Test

To make the picture compete, I’m going to test the drives at real work with files. The updated FC-Test makes it an easy thing, thanks to its automatic reboots and more precise speed measurements.

The diagrams show not the absolute speeds but the arithmetic mean of the maximum results across all the patterns. This helps to get a more accurate view of the performance of the drive due to averaging possible fluctuations caused by random factors.

The tests of writing files of varying size prove the superiority of the Serial ATA Deskstar 7K400 models in NTFS. They are only slower than their mate attached to the Promise Ultra133 TX2 in FAT32, and thus become overall leaders. It means the Hitachi programmers have managed to improve the firmware because the Serial ATA versions of the Deskstar 7K250 don’t have any advantages over their Parallel ATA mates. In fact, we could have expected some gains from the higher interface bandwidth at writing in the first place: the data are being quickly pumped into the drive’s buffer and the system can get to its own business.

The Promise Ultra133 TX2 seems to have no problems at write operations with real files. But if we take a closer look at the results of separate patterns, we can see a curious picture: this controller is an unrivalled leader with the Deskstar 7K400 in FAT32, but it loses its speed abruptly on small files (Programs and Windows patterns) in NTFS. It’s almost the same with the Deskstar 7K250 while the Serial ATA controllers don’t slow down on smaller files. Thus, we can localize the problem with even more accuracy: the Promise Ultra133 TX2 takes too long to initialize a data transfer to the drive but then performs the transfer quickly. Thus, the efficiency of this controller directly depends on the amount of data to be transferred.

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