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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  • mechBgon - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    Interestingly, my old Cheetah 15k.3 still spanks my Seagate 7200.8 OMGNCQSATABBQ drive by a factor of about 2:1 on seek-intensive real-world work tasks. People with seek-intensive work to do should still explore the SCSI option if it seems like their I/O is holding up the show. Reply
  • PuravSanghani - Sunday, June 26, 2005 - link

    All graphs should be fixed now.

    We did use Hitachi's Feature tool to enable SATA 3.0Gb/sec mode prior to the benchmarks.

  • ArcticOC - Saturday, June 25, 2005 - link

    Was the sata2 mode enabled og the test?! This HAVE to bee done after you buy the drive.. because the deafult speed is to 150MB/sec

    software from hitachi have to be run in order to enable 300mode
  • Viper4185 - Saturday, June 25, 2005 - link

    No graphs for me either! Something is broken! Reply
  • Souka - Saturday, June 25, 2005 - link

    That is one ugly review.

    They should pull it, fix it, then repost
  • ArcticOC - Saturday, June 25, 2005 - link

    I really hope the testers to their time setting sataII mode to the Hitachi, This ahve to be done manually by their software called "IBM feature tool", unless u do this, det disk will run at low sata 150 instead of the 300mode.

    The disk comes by deafults w/interface of only 150.. chech taht this important is used under all test.. anything else would be BS if not
  • GhandiInstinct - Saturday, June 25, 2005 - link

    My raptor still at reign. Reply
  • SocrPlyr - Saturday, June 25, 2005 - link

    Graphs on some pages and not on others in IE6.
    Everything looks great in Firefox

  • RMSistight - Saturday, June 25, 2005 - link

    Still no graphs for some pages! I need to read the game loading times! Reply
  • CrystalBay - Saturday, June 25, 2005 - link

    Well looks like I'll be keeping my 120GB 7200.7 a little longer. :) Reply

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