Test Setup


Standard Test Bed
Playback for Test Application Results
Processor Intel E6600 - 2.4GHz Dual Core
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-P35-DQ6
RAM 2 x 1GB OCZ Reaper PC2-9200
Settings - DDR2-800, 4-4-3-9
OS Hard Drive 1 x Western Digital WD1500 Raptor - 150GB
System Platform Drivers Intel 8.3.0.1013
Intel Matrix RAID 7.6.0.1011
Video Card 1 x MSI 8800GTX
Video Drivers NVIDIA Forceware 162.18
Optical Drive Plextor PX-760A, Plextor PX-B900A
Cooling Tuniq 120
Power Supply Corsair HX620W
Case Cooler Master CM Stacker 830
Operating System Windows XP Professional SP2, Vista Ultimate 32-bit

We are using an Intel E6600 dual-core CPU to ensure that we are not limited by computing power in our testing. We have used a 2GB memory configuration for these tests, but will soon be updating our test beds to a 4GB platform due to current DDR2-800 pricing and upcoming game and application requirements. Our choice of midrange OCZ Reaper HPC PC2-6400 memory offers a very wide range of memory settings with timings of 4-4-3-10 used for our storage benchmark results.

The testbed uses an MSI 8800GTX video card to ensure that our benchmarks are not GPU bound. Our video tests are run at a resolution of 1280x1024 for this article at High Quality settings. All of our tests run in an enclosed case with a dual optical/hard drive setup to reflect a moderately loaded system platform. We fully patch the OS and load a clean drive image for each platform in order to make sure that driver conflicts are minimal.

We format before each test run and complete five tests on each drive in order to ensure consistency in the benchmark results. We remove the high and low scores and report the remaining score. The Windows XP swap file is set to a static 2048MB and we clear the prefetch folder after each benchmark.

Software Test Suite

With the variety of disk drive benchmarks available, we need a means of comparing the true performance of the hard drives in real world applications. Our suite for this test will include:

  • HD Tach
  • HD Tune
  • Acoustics and Thermals
  • PCMark05
  • WinRAR
  • Nero Recode
  • Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
  • Supreme Commander
  • Windows Vista Startup / Shutdown
  • PCMark Vantage

Our benchmark suite undergoes constant evaluation; as a result, there are several new items in our repertoire for this article. We discuss the individual tests in more detail in the actual test sections, so look to those areas for more information. In addition, there will be additional changes in coming articles to reflect conditions which users are likely to encounter, so watch this space!

The Tale of the Tape HD Tune and HD Tach
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  • darshahlu - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    One thing I would have liked to see in the article is a RAID test. Specifically, I wonder whether or not the WD drive with its variable rotational speed will have problems in RAID configurations.

    In my experience with the WD drives, the answer to this question is yes. I have two of the WD Terabyte drives in a RAID MIRROR setup. The issue I noticed is that while copying data onto the mirror from multiple sources, some data becomes corrupt. I contacted WD support about the problem and am waiting to hear back from them. Perhaps it is true that these WD drives simply do not work well in a RAID setup.

    Has anyone else experienced problems with the WD drives in RAID?

    Darshan
    Reply
  • darshahlu - Thursday, December 6, 2007 - link

    I contacted WD about RAID support. Here is the response:

    Response (Jeremy H.) 12/06/2007 05:59 PM
    Dear Darshan,

    Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support.

    The WD10EACS is a desktop drive. WD desktop drives do not work properly when used in a RAID array. I recommend you exchange your WD10EACS drives for the RAID model, WD1000FYPS.

    Answer Title: What is the difference between Desktop edition and RAID (Enterprise) edition hard drives?
    Answer Link: http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduse...">http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg...?p_faqid...

    Answer Title: Specifications for the Western Digital RAID edition Serial ATA hard drives.
    Answer Link: http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduse...">http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg...?p_faqid...

    Sincerely,
    Jeremy H.
    Western Digital Service and Support
    http://support.wdc.com">http://support.wdc.com
    Reply
  • Zak - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    I was hoping they'd introduce ACS (Actual Capacity Specification) with the 1TB drives so when I look in My Computer it would actually say 1 TB under Total Size instead of 930 GB. Uncool :rolleyes:

    Z.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    SI has settled on TB for 1 trillion for a long time. If you want 2^40 bytes, you'll need TiB (tebibyte). While computers have been using Kilo, Mega, Giga, Tera for a long time, the fact is that those were originally designated as 1000, 1000000, 1 billion, 1 trillion, etc. before computers began using the abbreviations. Computer scientists were lazy (as usual - I can say that because I studied CS) and simply used Kilo for 1024 because it was "close enough".

    As far as I'm concerned, "ACS" has been in use for a long time; now we just need to get operating systems and users to understand the correct meaning of SI prefixes. :)
    Reply
  • Chadder007 - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    What...no check on wattage usage on the drives? If its a "green" drive id like to know how much power its actually saving. Reply
  • nowayout99 - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    Ditto. I was expecting to see some sort of power draw comparison, afterall the one drive is marketed as being "green."

    Instead, we're asked to take their word for it.
    Reply
  • drebo - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    Why is it that almost every single article Anandtech puts out has a conclusion that contradicts their own test results?

    Seriously. If the two drives are so different and so suited for different purposes, why are you even comparing them? If it's just to say that the WD drive excells at being green and the Seagate drive sucks at performance, why even bother with an article?

    You cannot judge the drives solely on the merits of the competition while ignoring what the drive is good at.

    This right here: "the redeeming feature of the Seagate drive is only that it turns in better results than the Western Digital drive". That's a no-brainer, and anyone could have guessed that by looking at the manufacturer specs. More to the point: wasn't that the goal of the article--to find out which of the two performed better? So, why, in your conclusion, do you completely ignore the fact that the Seagate drive is clearly the better performer?

    You judge the Seagate drive for not being quiet, for running hot, for having bad performance, yet you completely ignore the fact that in your little "head-to-head" comparison, it is the victor in terms of performance. By that same token, you praise the Western Digital drive for being quient, for running cool, and you completely ignore the fact that it performed worse than any other drive tested.

    The bias on this site is palpable. So much for honest reviews.
    Reply
  • yuchai - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    Do you actually make a HD purchase decision solely based on performance?

    I actually liked the conclusion. Sure, the WD is slower in almost everything. But if you look at the real life benchmarks it's only about 5% in all apps except WinRAR. Is this difference high enough to offset the savings in price and power consumption? I think this is the type of question that the consumer should be asking, and the conclusion does a good job at doing just that.

    Anyway, if you do not like the conclusion, you can easily look at the facts and benchmarks only and make your own call. Ultimately, AT can only give information and recommendations. The decision maker is still you.

    Reply
  • JEDIYoda - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    Exactly what gamer in their right mind is going to be using that 1T for gaming anyways??

    Things that make you go hmmm....


    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    This isn't just a comparison of Seagate to Western Digital, obviously. That's why there are several other hard drives listed in the benchmarks. The conclusion for the Seagate fits with the benchmarks: it is slower than (or at best equal to) the Hitachi 1TB drive in every single test. The only thing it has going for it is a five-year warranty, which doesn't count for much in my book. Sure, you can get a replacement drive for an extra two years, but until manufacturers start providing data recovery as part of the warranty I just don't think it's a big deal. I have dozens of hard drives from all the major manufacturers; granted, I'm not stressing every single drive 24/7, but drive failures are uncommon - whether in the first three years or at 4-5 years.

    WD has lower power (meh - 4W is *nothing* when it comes to power!), but it also has a much lower price. Seagate has a price that is $5 cheaper than Hitachi (at Newegg - though I admit I'm not sure what the difference is between the four Hitachi 1TB drives that show up). The "enterprise" version is also $25 more than most expensive Hitachi - $55 more than the cheapest 1TB Hitachi. Given the better performance (Seagate has low write performance) and essentially equal price, we'd recommend the Hitachi over the Seagate.
    Reply

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