Actual Application Times:

Our application time tests are designed to show application performance results with times being reported in minutes / seconds or seconds only with lower scores being better. While these tests will show some differences between the drives it is important to understand we are no longer measuring the pure performance of the hard drive but how well our platform performs with each individual drive. The performance of a hard drive is an integral part of the computer platform but other factors such as memory, CPU, core logic, and even driver choice can play a major role in determining how well the hard drive performs in any given task.

Game Load Tests

Game Application Timing - Game Load Time

In our Half-Life 2: Lost Coast test we measure the time it takes to load the game with the application timer starting when the play game icon is initiated in the Steam menu until the main game menu appears. The results follow our overall IPEAK game results with the Western Digital Raptor performing up to 10% better in this benchmark. The WD3200KS finishes slightly behind the Seagate 7200.10 320GB drive but the performance difference requires a benchmark to notice, and you will likely not be able to tell the difference during actual gameplay.

Game Application Timing - Game Load Time

Our Sims 2: Open for Business test measures the time it takes to load the initial portion of the game. Our application timer starts when the game icon is initiated until the neighborhood menu appears. The results are basically the same as our Half-Life 2 results as the WD Raptor continues to lead all drives, but we notice the Seagate 7200.10 320GB finishing ahead of the other drives with the WD3200KS close behind.

Game Level Load

These tests center around the actual loading of a playable level within our game selections.

  • The Half-Life 2: Lost Coast test measures the time it takes to load a new game. Our application timer starts when the start new game icon is initiated and ends when the character is on screen with the 357 magnum visible.
  • The Sims 2: Open for Business test measures the time it takes to load the Downtown sector of the game from Veronaville. Our application timer starts when the Downtown game icon is initiated and ends when the downtown graphics are visible.
  • The Battlefield 2 test measures the time it takes to load the Daqing Oilfields level. Our application timer begins when the start single player icon is initiated and ends when the join game icon is visible.
  • The Oblivion test measures the time it takes to load the Weye level in our saved game files. Our application timer begins when the load saved game icon is initiated and ends when the character is visible on screen.


Game Application Timing - Level Load Time

Game Application Timing - Level Load Time

Game Application Timing - Level Load Time

Game Application Timing - Level Load Time

The WD Raptor continues its pattern of being the fastest available drive for the gaming enthusiast. Our Seagate 7200.10 320GB drive wins three of four tests from the WD3200KS but the drives are so close in performance that it is difficult to distinguish one from another.

WinRAR 3.51

Our WinRAR tests measure the time it takes to compress our test folder that contains 444 files, 10 folders, and contains 602MB of data. This is same test folder utilized in our IPEAK test suite. While the benchmark is extremely CPU intensive for the compression test it still requires a fast storage system to keep pace with the CPU.

WinRar Application Timing - Compress Test Folder

WinRar Application Timing - Decompress Test Folder

The compression tests mimic our IPEAK results with the Seagate 7200.10 320GB drive finishing ahead of the WD3200KS but the difference in scores is drastically lower due to the platform components affecting the overall performance of the drives.

AnyDVD 5.9.6

Our next test has us utilizing the "ripping" function of AnyDVD to copy the Office Space DVD file from our source drive to our test drive. Our DVD features 29 files totaling 7.55GB of data and is an excellent test for determining the write speed of a drive.

Video Application Timing - Time to Transcode DVD

The test results show what we all know: speed kills but in this case the speed belongs to the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB drive and not the WD Raptor. Here, the Seagate drive posts a first place and finishes 41 seconds ahead of the WD3200KS. If you spend a lot time converting your movie collection or generating video files then buying the fastest drive you can afford can lead to a significant time savings.

Nero Audio Encode

Our last test has us utilizing the audio encoding functions of Nero to convert our INXS Greatest Hits audio files in MP4 format to a high quality variable rate MP3 file for our portable player. Our benchmark features 16 files totaling 137MB of data and is an excellent test for determining the read and write speed of a drive.

Audio Application Timing - MP4 to MP3 Conversion

The test results show once again the amount of time a fast hard drive like the WD Raptor can save over the course of audio or video file manipulation session. In this case, the WD3200KS finishes slightly ahead of the Seagate 320GB drive and mirrors earlier results in tests that combine read and write requests that are not completely sequential.

IPEAK Gaming Performance Acoustics and Thermals
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  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Actually, as strange as it sounds, Gary is correct on the WD warranty. You can check it out for yourself at http://support.wdc.com/warranty/policy.asp">http://support.wdc.com/warranty/policy.asp. OEM (bulk) drives carry a 3-year warranty and retail drives carry one year with an option to add 2 more years (to 3 total) for $14.95. Enterprise drives like Raptor carry a 5-year warranty. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Corrected. Reply
  • archcommus - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Speaking of performance, the drive in our IPEAK tests was at times near the bottom of the group and usually trailed the Seagate 320GB drive except in the game play, general business, and applications were heavy read requests were prevalent.


    I'm guessing it should be "...where heavy read requests were prevalent." Just a heads up.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Typo fixed. Reply
  • Zaitsev - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Nice article, Gary. I enjoyed the background info on the two companies.

    A quick question: Is it possible the str of the Seagate is higher because of a higher areal density due to having only two platters vs. the WD's three? Or have I overlooked something and need to go to sleep :)



    Reply
  • AkumaX - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Nice article. We win either way!!! I'd rather go with Seagate though because I've had to RMA too many WD's in the past few years.

    Does anyone know of an app that measures HDD throughput (as in MB/s, read/write or both) in realtime?
    Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    I found strange how big a difference is in some bencmarks between one drive and the other (losing or winning). Anyway, each drive looks good value for money Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    HDTACH
    PerformanceTest 6.0 (PassMark Software)
    PC Pitstop @ PC Pitstop.com (requires internet explorer)
    Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    http://www.simplisoftware.com/Public/index.php?req...">http://www.simplisoftware.com/Public/index.php?req... Reply
  • AkumaX - Saturday, July 29, 2006 - link

    Sorry, HDTach is a benchmark. I'm looking for something that actually tells me how my hard drive is doing at the moment Reply

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