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However, the HDD specs do not mention anything like that at all. Officially, the HDD features maximum 8MB of cache memory onboard. Anyway, since we mentioned the specs, take a look at the table below to learn more about them:

The most intriguing number is the average track seek time, while the other values are pretty standard for all 15K HDDs of the last generation. The Average Seek value of 3.2ms claimed for 18GB and 36GB models is a sort of a record, I should say, because none of the manufacturers has ever claimed such a small time.

Well, let’s see if it is true.

Testbed and Methods

Our testbed was configured as follows:

  • Supermicro 370DLE mainboard;
  • Intel Pentium III (Coppermine) 600MHz CPU;
  • 2 x 128MB PC100 ECC Registered SDRAM by Micron;
  • IBM DTLA 307015 HDD;
  • Matrox Millennium 4MB graphics card;
  • Windows 2000 Pro SP2.

To connect the hard disk drives we used Adaptec 29160N controller card with BIOS version 3.10.0 and drivers version 4.10.4002 and Adaptec 39320D controller card with BIOS version 4.10.1 (HOST RAID disabled) and drivers version 1.0. the controllers were installed into PCI64/66MHz slot.

The reviewed drives had the following firmware version:

  • Maxtor Atlas 15K 18GB - FW: DT60
  • Maxtor Atlas 15K 36GB (sample) - FW: DP60

We used the following benchmarking software:

For WinBench tests the arrays were formatted in FAT32 and NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size. The WinBench tests were run five times each; the average result was taken for further analysis. The HDD didn't cool down between the tests.

To compare the hard disk drives performance in Intel IOMeter we used the FileServer and WebServer patterns from StorageReview described in the third edition of their HDD testing methodology.

These patterns are intended to measure the disk subsystem performance under workloads typical of file- and web-servers.

Our colleague, Sergey Romanov aka GreY, developed a WorkStation pattern for Intel IOMeter basing on the StorageReveiw's study of the disk subsystem workload in ordinary Windows applications. The pattern was based on the average IPEAK statistics StorageReview provided for Office, High-End and Bootup work modes in NTFS5 file system and mentioned in Testbed3 description.

The pattern serves to determine the attractiveness of the HDDs for an ordinary Windows user.

Well, and in the end we checked the ability of the drives to work with sequential write and read requests of variable size, and tested the drive’s performance in DataBase pattern, which imitates the work of the disk subsystem with SQL-like requests.

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