The biggest argument to why you would ever need a faster CPU is often that everything is disk limited anyways, so getting a faster CPU isn't the solution to your performance woes. While, to an extent, this is true, we have seen over the years that quite a few things are just as CPU bound as they are disk bound.

We've shown in the past that even very disk intensive operations, such as extracting a zip archive, can vary significantly with CPU. We've also shown that disk bound benchmarks, such as Winstone, can significantly reduce the performance benefit seen when upgrading to a faster CPU.

More than anything, what we've learned in the past is that there is no one component that significantly bottlenecks the system; rather, it's a combination of all of your components - your CPU, chipset, video card, memory and hard drive - that determine the performance of your system. While one component (e.g. your video card) may be the major determinant of performance in a particular application (e.g. a game), it's rare that the only applications you run are bound by a single component. To put this into perspective, would you ever not upgrade your CPU for a next generation game just because "everything is GPU bound to begin with"? Of course not. Take a 500MHz Athlon and pair it up with a X800 Pro and you'll realize quickly that this sort of logic won't work. So why, then, apply it to hard drives?

Luckily, the average AnandTech reader is smarter than that, and understands the importance of maintaining a balance of performance within his/her system. But here's where the problem resides: how do we measure hard drive performance?

Hard drives continue to be the only component where performance is measured using purely synthetic benchmarks. Our latest CPU review has no less than 12 real world application benchmarks to showcase the performance of the CPU. Our last GPU review took 13 games, and we benchmarked them to help you decide what video card would run games the fastest. But look around for hard drive reviews and you see a bunch of numbers that are, at best, great hypothetical indicators of performance or over-exaggerations of the impact of a particular hard drive. If we converted all of our CPU and GPU reviews to a similar set of synthetic benchmarks, you would quickly find a replacement site for your information, so why settle for the same treatment with hard drives?

We've tried numerous times in the past to bring hard disk reviews to AnandTech, but the limitations have seemingly been unsurmountable. At first, we couldn't get drives, then we had no good benchmarks; then, we got drives and benchmarks, but had no time to tackle the testing. Finally, we are able to offer a good test suite, review the drives that you want reviewed, and do so on a regular basis.

In order to kick off our new suite of drive benchmarks and our return to hard drive reviews, we figured that we'd focus on one of the hot-topic drives as of late: the 2nd generation Western Digital Raptor.

The Contenders
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  • Athlonite - Saturday, March 24, 2007 - link

    both raptor drives are SATA and all the other drives are Pata i know for a fact the seagate baracuda 7200.7 comes in a sata II form coz i have two of them in raid 0 i'd pit the against your single raptor any day of the week as i said like comaring apples with peas
  • peufeu - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Stop benchmarking copies of 1 MB files !
    Linux, with reiserfs4 :
    My crap laptop harddrive does about 16 MB/second raw bandwidth. It does 15 MB/second reading 20 KBytes files. Not that bad.
    I'd like to see the raptor benchmarked with reiser4. I'm pretty sure it can sustain at least 80% of its peak bandwidth with 1kbyte files...
  • jferdina - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    here is a link:
  • jferdina - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    I want to WARN you all of Seagate Barracuda 7200.7

    I just bought one for 1 day and I am terribly disappointed.

    Unlike the seagate barracuda 7200.7 that was tested by AnandTech, the newer version is EXTREMELY noisy. It is the most noisiest HD that I have ever had.

    The reason is Seagate got into a lawsuit problem with Convolve. Apparently Seagate steals their technology, and at least for now they have to remove it. The technology is 'Automatic Acoustic Management' (AAM).

    But for those of you who are tricked, like me, there is some information that may give a hope, AAM is still there but they set it in "performance" mode by default on current firmware. But claimed they had firmware 3.16 and could change the setting.

    So MAYBE IF they can settle the lawsuit, Seagate would provide firmware upgrade to solve this problem.

    Anandtech, please change your review about Seagate since the information is already old because it is very frustrating for customers that wishes to find an accurate info, gets the completely opposite result from what informed.
  • Fietsventje - Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - link

    I didn't read all of the comments, but I would like to say that I, like some others here, would like to see what impact a RAID0-array has on these benchmarks. Could finally resolve the ever-lasting discussion (at least, for myself) about the influence of a RAID-0-setup to general performance.

  • skyce - Monday, June 14, 2004 - link

    I would really like to see a comparison of one 74GB SATA Raptor 10k to two new Raptors in Raid0. I'm building a system over the next couple months and would like to have this drive in my system, but am somewhat reluctant to fork over another $200 for a second drive for Raid0, as Wesley suggested in his High End System Guide (May 26th).
  • HelzBelz - Monday, June 14, 2004 - link

    ... and also, it just so happens that I've just received the exact same hardware (see previous post), but for 2 different systems (upgrades for other people).

    i.e. 2x 80GB ATA WD 8Meg w/ Highpoint 370 PCI RAID Card, and one 74GB SATA Raptor 10k...

    Perhaps we could then compare results !?



  • HelzBelz - Monday, June 14, 2004 - link

    Perhaps this has already been suggested, but here it goes:

    - What about a RAID0 test of some pair of less expensive drives VS a Single Raptor ?

    i.e. For "about the same money", I've often been asked: "Which of the abobe is better / faster ?"

    For example, one could compare the performance of a "2x WD 80GB 8MB cache RAID0" setup, versus a Single 74GB Raptor 10k drive; since either way, you're paying about the same total price...

    Just a thought,


  • artifex - Sunday, June 13, 2004 - link

    I'd like to get a MTBF comparison, not just some data on warranties, too. Or better yet, it would be cool for Anandtech to actually set up a system to run the test drives continuously until they start failing.

    Why? Our local Fry's often has drives like the PATA version of a Hitachi 200GB on sale for $50 after rebates, but if they burn up or crash in half the time as a $100 drive, I'd much rather get the $100 drive. This is particularly important for applications like adding drives to PVRs, where it's not easy to remap around known bad sectors after they're found, and at least one manufacturer's low level formatting utility won't work with Nforce-based IDE, so remapping at the lower level is out also.

    I'm also hoping for thermal comparisons; in small form factor enclosures this is just as important as noise.
  • MadAd - Saturday, June 12, 2004 - link

    IMO you are missing a very important 'real world' test that has always interested me on machines through years.

    Test: Tester starts stopwatch as power button us pressed. Tester stops stopwatch at the point that the desktop appears ready for use...... Record Time Taken. Thats it!

    The funny thing is youve probably not realised how much you run this 'test' and its a valid one insofar as everyone needs to boot up at some point - just please, do us a favor, time it and chart it? :)


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