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
Intel Matrix RAID
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


View All Comments

  • retrospooty - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    I for one found the article helpful. It isn't about showing performance and choosing a winner based on speed, it is about showing all aspects of each and letting the buyer decide. Some people might want pure speed, and some might want a low power, quieter option.

    I think logic is lost on some people.
  • gmyx - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    While 4w may not seem like much to a power user, it is a big deal to someone who is building a low power system such as a VIA based system. It's obviously not going to be used for playing games but can certainly work as a file server / internet proxy. When you can get a power supply with a total output of 60w (pico 60w power supply) every watt saved brings your total lower. A lower total mean less cost for your file server / internet proxy. Reply
  • Lonyo - Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - link

    I would imagine it would also be nice for a low power home file server.
    1 of these 1TB drives would use probably <1/3rd of the power of 2x500GB drives, or ~1/2 the power of another 1TB drive.
    If you have say a RAID-5 array with 5 or 6 of these drives, you're looking at a decent reduction in power which is always nice for a 24/7 machine.
  • Googer - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    Those who have wanted to use low power hard drives on a desktop motherboard have always had the option of using 2.5" laptop drives. Reply
  • Dave Robinet - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    Well put, Jarred.

    The Hitachi was reviewed some time ago, now, and (as you mention) its results are included in the charts. It gets mention in the conclusion as being the preferred option over the Seagate, as well.

    The Green drive does have a place as a quiet drive (the quietest of the 1TB drives tested), and it comes at a low price point. That's considerable - particularly for HTPC users, who may not appreciate the Hitachi's noise.

    For performance-oriented applications, though, it's a tough sell.
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    Me thinks that this whole "green" thing from WD is because they were having issues producing a performance drive. Maybe the lower power consumption would make sense in a laptop drive, but I'd much rather have performance on the desktop.

    Seagate's ATA drives have always been so-so performers, so I'm not surprised with the outcome. However, they 5 year warranty more than makes up for it in a home server environment.
  • jojo4u - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    Other drives are performing well. It's nice to have the choice. And there are uses for low-power high-capacity drives. Reply
  • jojo4u - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    See page 2 and page 3 http://www.storagereview.com/1000.sr?page=0%2C2">http://www.storagereview.com/1000.sr?page=0%2C2

    Your low-level results also back this up.
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, November 26, 2007 - link

    There was a discussion on their forums about how it would be prohibitively expensive to produce a drive that could vary it's spindle speed due to the extra stress on the mechanism. Reply
  • Interlink - Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - link

    Anybody with a mic e.g. in his headset and a PC with microphon input is able to measure the fixed spindle speed of a WD10EACS: [url=http://forums.storagereview.net/index.php?showtopi...">http://forums.storagereview.net/index.p...c=26021&...]5400 rpm[/url]. Reply

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