Articles: Storage
 

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Photoshop appreciates the physical qualities of the drive, its linear and data-access speed. Since these parameters have remained the same, there’s a very small gap between the controllers and the Deskstar generations. The 160GB model is evidently slower than the others, and it’s not quite clear why.

The Deskstar 7K400 suddenly accelerated in this video-editing program and left the 7K250 behind in FAT even on the Promise Ultra133 TX2 controller. Then the gap became even wider on the Serial ATA controllers. The controller’s influence on the result is obvious in this test.

The great lover of effective deferred write, Sound Forge puts the competing drives rather far from each other. And although the HDS724040KLAT80 wins greatly from switching to the Promise SATA150 TX2 controller, its Serial ATA analog (HDS724040KLSA80) proved to be even faster, and quite considerably so! The difference between the two is only in the interface speed (133MB/s with the ATA version and 150MB/s with the Serial ATA version) and the firmware algorithms – this fact needs some thinking over.

Compiling projects in Visual C involves reading/writing numerous small-size files, and we see the most impressive difference in the results here. It is over 50% between the Promise controllers in NTFS and is visible in FAT32, too. We haven’t yet seen such a thing in our labs. And the Deskstar 7K250 wins nothing from switching to another controller.

Now it’s time to do some local summarizing, especially since we’ve got such sensational results. According to the High-End Disk Winmark showing, the 7K400 seems to be as fast as the 7K250, but becomes much faster on a Serial ATA controller, even the Parallel ATA model! It wouldn’t be that weird (controllers are always different, you know), if it were not for some additional details, not easily discernable at first:

  • The previous model (7K250) didn’t feel any difference between the controllers
  • We use the same drivers for the Promise controllers
  • It’s all the same on the ICH5

Solving this puzzle I can only come to the conclusion that the electronics with support of UltraDMA/133 is the underlying reason for all that. And really, the Deskstar 7K400 is no faster than the Deskstar 7K250 on the Promise Ultra133 TX2 controller, despite the advantage in capacity that directly affects the results of WinBench. But attached to the Promise SATA150 TX2 or to the ICH5, the Deskstar 7K400 is much better than the 7K250 in performance than it is in the capacity. Besides that, the Serial ATA versions are sometimes noticeably faster than the ATA versions where look-ahead reading or deferred writing is important. So, Hitachi made some serious changes in the electronics, that’s certain.

 
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