Performance vs. Capacity

I typically turn to HDTach for my performance vs. capacity graphs. Normally they are used to show SSD performance degradation without TRIM but in this case I genuinely wanted to see what the performance falloff was as you filled the drive up. HDTach had issues with the > 2TB of addresses on this drive so I used HD Tune instead.

Hard drives store data in circular patterns. Reading/writing to the outermost LBAs is faster (that’s just how circles work, you can cover more area in a single rotation on the outer track vs. the inner track). As a result, HDDs write data at the outmost part of the platters first and as the drive fills performance drops.

Sequential Read Performance vs. LBA

Sequential Write Performance vs. LBA

Peak performance, we’ve already discussed is at around 150MB/s over USB 3.0. Sequential performance at the highest LBAs drops to around 75MB/s. There’s one anomaly that I saw in my tests which you can see in the graph above. Performance drops down to 16.2MB/s for sequential writes in the last 100GB of the drive. This could be a problem with my particular drive or an issue related to the early nature of these 3TB drives.

USB 2.0, 3.0 and FireWire 800 Performance The Heat Problem
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Quilty997 - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    I notice some posters have commented on using RAID 5 with very large disc sizes

    If you do the math using the drive specs and published bit error rates you will find that a RAID 5 array using 1Tb+ discs very soon has a probability not possibility of having a disc error when rebuilding the array.

    For this reason I went to RAID6. (using a dedicated controller to handle the parity calculations).

    Please remember that RAID arrays are not a backup device.
  • Michael REMY - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    i can't image the day, even not for my ennemy, where it comes a 3TD hard drive will fail...
    What a lost it will be !
  • mindless1 - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    Why would you store valuable data on any one drive alone? Backups, backups backups.
  • JonnyDough - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    Until Seagate fixes their longevity issues and can offer a five year warranty that has a better failure rate I'll be sticking with other companies like Western Digital and Hitachi. I used to love Seagate. :(
  • loekf - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    Anand, did you actually review the power management features of this drive ? I had the 2 TB model.

    I noticed the same temperature issues and slowless at high temperatures. In my case I got 65 celsius as well.

    Bigger issue I found the power management features, or better said lack of or poor implementation of them. This drive is supposed to be left attached to your PC. There's no on/off switch. So it will power-on and off depending on whether you switch your PC on and whether you access the drive.

    Funny thing it will completely behaves by itself, it has its own will.

    It willl automatically power on again after you SHUTDOWN your computer and you leave it plugged into the mains.

    If you enable sleep mode, it will disable itself when it is not accessed for the specified period. But... it won't go into a sleep mode (= shutting down the drive), no it will unplug in Windows, and after a short period automatically re-insert itself. This means you will see popups or hear beeps indicating that device manager is triggered.

    This is just plain stupid and indicating it's a bad product......
  • mewgirl - Monday, January 31, 2011 - link

    I've never seen a drive that has an on/off switch! Except for the kind that you have to plug in separately, and that kinds of ruins the point of an "external drive" in the first place. Some public places don't even have accessible plugs, they literally put a lock on them. In other words no one would ever buy one unless they just don't know drives sometimes have separate plugs and therefore don't exhaustively evaluate the packing to ensure that the one they are getting doesn't.
  • Aikouka - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    Anand, I was curious if you were going to talk about the current USB 3.0 implementation and I was quite glad to see that you did make a note of it! :) But I'm curious... do you know of any motherboard manufacturers that have a better USB 3.0 implementation on the P55 chipset? I know the P55 is literally the red-headed stepchild in regard to its PCI-E bus compared to the X58 (uses PCI-E 1.1 compared to actual 2.0 lanes, has far fewer, etc), but as an example, my ASUS P7P55D-E motherboard uses that "combiner thingy-ma-bob" to combine the PCI-E lanes for SATA 6Gbs functionality. Do any boards do that for USB 3.0?
  • loekf - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    Not sure what you mean here. I know for a fact that AMD boards with ATI chipsets use a real PCIe 2.0 x1 lane to the NEC USB 3.0 host controller.

    There is no chipset yet with native USB 3.0 support. All motherboards maker use the same NEC USB 3.0 controller. Though, it seems there are controllers from VIA around, but I didn't see them yet.
  • GeorgeH - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    They're talking about P55 and LGA-1156. AMD hasn't made an Intel-compatible chipset in a very long time, and even if they had a P55 compatible license and the desire to make one, LGA-1156's PCIe controller isn't on the chipset.

    As a side note, that's also why LGA-1336 is going to be dead soon after LGA-1155 replaces LGA-1156; the Sandy Bridge derived Nehalem/Westmere replacement is going to have the PCIe controller on die.
  • snakeInTheGrass - Monday, August 23, 2010 - link

    I understand saying that Seagate hasn't released this as a stand-alone drive because the PC hardware just isn't ready yet, but I was hoping they'd try it out on a Mac as well since it sounds like it should just work. It's a shame they won't sell it stand-alone and just label it 'For Intel Mac with EFI' (or hell, just sell it online with a note "For EFI machines only" label for PC users that do have working EFI or an extra internal disk) for the time being because I really don't want to buy another external case.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now