Our overview of the SATA II specification a few days ago provided our readers with some insight on what SATA II was really about. In short, SATA II provides updates to the SATA 1.0 specifications including new features and a possible increase in transfer rates from 1.5Gb/sec to 3.0Gb/sec if drive manufacturers decide to implement these features in their products. The new transfer rates depend on what combination of hardware is used to build a drive such as the port multiplier, port selector, cables, and connectors used in a storage system.

The first drives capable of 3.0Gb/sec transfer rates came to our attention a while back but we wanted to see a few other manufacturers show us their offerings before we dug deeper into the supposed higher speed drives. Hitachi was the first to market the SATA II 3.0Gb/sec drive with Samsung and Western Digital following. Samsung was nice enough to send us a test sample to work with and we picked up a Hitachi and Western Digital model in time.

All drives are, of course, SATA II units capable of 3.0Gb/s. The Samsung and Hitachi drives feature Native Command Queuing while Western Digital has decided to leave the feature out. The SATA II standard does not require any of these features but it is always nice to have them in any newly released drive. Our look at Seagate's Barracudas proved that NCQ has no great effect on regular day-to-day tasks so we are not expecting much from the feature this time around. Let's take a look at our testing methods...

Note: To enable 3.0Gb/sec and/or spread spectrum clocking it is required that we download the Feature Tool from Hitachi GST's website. The Feature Tool is a boot time utility and comes in CD ISO and floppy image format.

The Test


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  • fbottone - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    Hows about adding a Maxtor SATAII (like Maxline III 300GB) drive to the mix? The SATA-I maxtors do pretty well in certain tests but I'd like to see them compared with the three very good drives already there. Reply
  • BornStar18 - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    I'm confused by your conclusion on page 5 regarding Office Productivity. Your written statement doesn't support what I'm looking at in the graph. Does the text not refer to graph? Reply
  • 100proof - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    Would it be possible to get an update to this review showcasing some of the real benefits of SATA II?

    It seems pointless to test these drives individually as it's fairly obvious drives set at the 7200rpm speed will not improve much for indivdual performance.. Raid Arrays are necessary to guage how much of a performance boost the added bw of SATA300 factors into results. It would also be nice to see comparisons of these new SATA II drives in raid set against similar setups of SATA 150/ATA raid arrays. This might be asking too much though...
  • olly - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    When you select "Print this article", page 3 onwards the font is too big. Reply
  • Svenna - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    There is actually no good SATA NCQ conrollers around for the for the amd platform, yet. IMO only the new AHCI controller would be worth testing ncq on :( Reply
  • Aenslead - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    bah... what a fiasco. Reply
  • Googer - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    I think this says it all, Raptors are almost extinct. They need to be updated or they will die.

    The performance they show is poor when compaired to the latest 7200 drives.
  • greekfragma - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    couldnt agree more with zax7480.

    gyuz can u tell us what was wrong with nvidia driver package 6.54 and u tested with a driver that was publiced one year ago ?

    plus i like your comment at final words of the article
    '' In time, however, we should see improvements in drivers to help reach the true potentials for the new SATA standard.''

    thumbs down for this review
  • jax7480 - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    I would like to know the reason that make them install such and OLD driver for the Nvidia chipset. Driver 6.39 was released February 2004. This was the first chipset driver for Nforce 4. It was released together with Nforce 4 chipset.
    Couldn't they just DOWNLOAD a newer one? We are talking about NEW HDD drives here.
  • cryptonomicon - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    hmm, i liked this review alot because i can see the performance of alot of common drives on the market today and see their performance in comparison to each other, regardless to what SATA2 is doing. Reply

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