The Contenders

For this review, we decided to focus on the drives that users may currently have, instead of only the latest and greatest. We basically broke the contenders up into three categories: 10,000RPM Raptors, current generation 120GB 7200RPM 8MB cache drives, and older generation 7200 RPM 2MB cache drives.

The specific drives that we used are listed below:

Western Digital Raptor 1st Generation - 36GB (10,000RPM/8MB/SATA)
Western Digital Raptor 2nd Generation - 74GB (10,000RPM/8MB/SATA)

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 - 120GB (7200RPM/8MB/PATA)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 - 120GB (7200RPM/8MB/PATA)
Western Digital Caviar SE - 120GB (7200RPM/8MB/PATA)

IBM Deskstar 75GXP - 30GB (7200RPM/2MB/PATA)
Maxtor D740X-6L - 80GB (7200RPM/2MB/PATA)

We will be testing more drives with our new benchmark suite as time goes on, so if there's a drive that you'd like to see reviewed, please let us know.

Index The Test
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  • MikhailT - Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - link

    For a gamer, it would be a better idea to get a single 74gb raptor instead of raid0 with 2x36 raptors. I don't think there will be any difference between both situation. Raid0 might have data failure issue over long term no? Reply
  • ElFenix - Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - link

    I'd like to see the SATA version of the 7200.7 myself, SR generally feels that the SATA version is somewhat faster than the PATA version.

    Also, about the Hitachis... they tend to 'meow' at you every once in a while... supposedly that increases their reliability, but when i'm going for silence it isn't wanted. When silence is key i'll go with the ultra-quiet, reliable, non-meowing, still fast, and dirt cheap ($0.35/gig) 7200.7
    Reply
  • T8000 - Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - link

    #36, it is nice to know you did get a performance boost, but I would like to ask what drive you had before and if you bought the 74 GB Raptor.

    This is important, because there is a large performance difference between the latest 7200 RPM drives and the early sub 20 GB ones.

    Also, SCSI drives are famous for their loud whining noise, so a lot of people I heard would not even use a SCSI drive if it would be free, unless they become more silent, so this may be a good reason why SCSI drives are not used much in workstations.
    Reply
  • Tostada - Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - link

    The SATA Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (which has 8MB cache and a 3-year warranty) is generally cheaper, faster, and quieter than every comparable drive. Well, the Samsung is a little quieter. The Hitachi 7K250 is about as fast as a Raptor 36G, though. In my experience, the only practical drives to buy these days are:

    Samsung for ATA
    Hitachi 7K250 for SATA
    Raptor 740GD for SATA if you want the absolute best performance.

    Look at NewEgg's current price of the Hitachi 7K250 SATA line with 8MB cache and 3-year warranty:
    80GB = $74.00 delivered
    160GB = $103.50 delivered
    250GB = $194.00 delivered

    Raptor 740GD = $200.00 delivered

    The Raptor 740GD is 25% faster in some situations. Still, in most systems I would prefer to spend $200 for a RAID of two 160GB Hitachi's instead of a single 74GB Raptor.

    I see many people still recommending WD's non-Raptor drives, which just don't keep up. Here's some stats from StorageReview.

    High-End DriveMark 2002:
    Raptor 740GD: 585 IO/sec
    Raptor 360GD: 467 IO/sec
    Hitachi 7K250: 442 IO/sec
    WD800JB: 375 IO/sec

    StorageReview Gaming DriveMark 2002:
    Raptor 740GD: 749 IO/sec
    Raptor 360GD: 588 IO/sec
    Hitachi 7K250: 588 IO/sec
    WD800JB: 477 IO/sec

    WB99 Max Read Transfer Rate:
    Raptor 740GD: 71.8 MB/sec
    Raptor 360GD: 57.4 MB/sec
    Hitachi 7K250: 60.4 MB/sec
    WD800JB: 49.3 MB/sec

    Idle Noise:
    Raptor 740GD: 42.3 dB/A
    Raptor 360GD: 43.1 dB/A
    Hitachi 7K250: 41.5 dB/A
    WD800JB: 45.0 dB/A
    Reply
  • tmhartsr - Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - link

    Recently upgraded my primary desktop to Raptor 10K. Actual improvement in everyday system performance and quickness is very noticable! An excellent practical measure of disk performance is writing/restoring a Ghost Image between two of these various drives. The difference is strikingly clear in this real world measure. I think disk performance has been much overlooked recently and deserves much more attention. Also that SCSI 320 should always be included in these comparisions. SCSI 320 is under-utilized in high end systems? Also what effect will new PCI Express boards have on HD performance and development? Reply
  • Kravahn - Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - link

    A little clarification... I'm used to seeing frank recommendations on AnandTech, and this was more than ambiguous. It should have said... 'if you want the best performance possible, the latest Raptor is for you; with that in mind, nearly equivalent performance, and certainly more bang for the buck can be had with the current 8MB PATA iterations tested here.' Reply
  • Kravahn - Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - link

    Another point regarding final analyses... a 10% increase in performance is definitely notable, but when that 10%increase relates to a 39 second vs. a 42 second load time, it becomes negligible. It seems silly to me to pay more money for less storage to save three seconds. The geek in me loves the numbers, but as a reseller it's hard for me to sell a product just because it's a little faster, especially when my customer would be sacrificing 50G of storage. I think the summary should include a bit of reality and not just factual conclusions. Reply
  • Mackintire - Monday, June 07, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • demonbug - Monday, June 07, 2004 - link

    First of all, great HD performance comparison - I just have a nitpick. My only comment is in regards to the game loading test. You must have one quick thumb on the stopwatch to measure down to the ten-thousandth of a second as you show on the graphs. I know, probably comes from averaging, but come on - round it to the nearest tenth, or hundredth at least (if you think you were really that quick with the stopwatch). Didn't they ever teach you about significant digits in school? Reply
  • GOSHARKS - Monday, June 07, 2004 - link

    discussion regarding the article in the forums:
    http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=...

    i have to say that the article really suprised me and the results are quite INTERESTING
    Reply

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