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Reviewed by: Norman Tan [04.19.05]
Manufactured by: Hitachi, Maxtor, Seagate, Western Digital

NOTE: If you are curious about SATA-II, 3 Gb/s, and what that means for performance in various RAID configurations, please see our new article!

 

Our test Setup

To test the drives, we used the following setup. Note the SATA drives were powered off the Promise PDC20579 which is the first third party controller chip with the SATA-II extensions which means that is has support for NCQ and TCQ, but it does not support the full 300 MB/s bandwidth unlike the Nvidia controllers. It really doesn't make a difference at this point, but I thought I'd mention it.

AMD3000+
Soltek SL-K890 Pro 939
Seagate 120 gig IDE Drive for Boot
1.5 gigs DDR400 RAM
Silverstone 520W PSU
Nvidia 6600GT PCI-e video card 

Benchmarking

All tests were run on a clean install of Windows XP SP2 and with the exception of IOMeter, the tests were repeated 3 times and the results then averaged. 

To test each of the drives under IOMeter, the following test patterns were tested on each drive with I/O loads of 1, 4, 16 and 64 for a total of eight tests per drive. The drives were allowed to spin up for two minutes and the each test was run for a period of one hour to ensure accurate results. As a safety measure, I ran the Raptor HD through 3 loops of the above test with almost identical results which is why I feel justified in only running one test for each of the drives.  

 
File Server
80% Read, 100% Random
Web Server
100% Read, 100% Random
512 Bytes
10%
22%
1 KB
5%
15%
2 KB
5%
8%
4 KB
60%
23%
8 KB
2%
15%
16 KB
4%
2%
32 KB
4%
6%
64 KB
10%
7%
128 KB
0%
1%
512 KB
0%
1%

Given that we have 8 sets of results per drive, multiply it by 4 and we have 32 results to graph which isn't all that helpful for those who just want to compare the drives. Thus, the numbers will be indexed and normalized to present readers with a single rating for the file server test and for the web server test. Below are the coefficients used for the normalization.

File Server
Web Server
1 I/O
1.909443
1.945158
4 I/Os
1.559114
1.620165
16 I/Os
1.156984
1.196293
64 I/Os
1.00
1.00

Let's look at some numbers now!

IOMeter Webserver Pattern

 

NCQ helps, but well, for now, nothing can really touch the 10k RPM of the Raptor. We see the Seagate here again at the back of the pack.

IOMeter Fileserver Pattern

As you can see, the Hitachi's low seek time really helped it distance itself from the competition... well, except for the 10k Raptor of course.

Next Page: (HDTach Sequential Transfer Rates)