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


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