Our overview of the SATA II specification a few days ago provided our readers with some insight on what SATA II was really about. In short, SATA II provides updates to the SATA 1.0 specifications including new features and a possible increase in transfer rates from 1.5Gb/sec to 3.0Gb/sec if drive manufacturers decide to implement these features in their products. The new transfer rates depend on what combination of hardware is used to build a drive such as the port multiplier, port selector, cables, and connectors used in a storage system.

The first drives capable of 3.0Gb/sec transfer rates came to our attention a while back but we wanted to see a few other manufacturers show us their offerings before we dug deeper into the supposed higher speed drives. Hitachi was the first to market the SATA II 3.0Gb/sec drive with Samsung and Western Digital following. Samsung was nice enough to send us a test sample to work with and we picked up a Hitachi and Western Digital model in time.

All drives are, of course, SATA II units capable of 3.0Gb/s. The Samsung and Hitachi drives feature Native Command Queuing while Western Digital has decided to leave the feature out. The SATA II standard does not require any of these features but it is always nice to have them in any newly released drive. Our look at Seagate's Barracudas proved that NCQ has no great effect on regular day-to-day tasks so we are not expecting much from the feature this time around. Let's take a look at our testing methods...

Note: To enable 3.0Gb/sec and/or spread spectrum clocking it is required that we download the Feature Tool from Hitachi GST's website. The Feature Tool is a boot time utility and comes in CD ISO and floppy image format.

The Test
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  • Justin Case - Saturday, March 18, 2006 - link

    Does anyone really believe Seagate 7200.8 drives can sustain 70 MB/s in the inner sectors? I have three of those and they struggle to reach 38 MB/s. Anyone with a clue about hard drives would have spotted a screw-up in the benchmarks (and this isn't the only one). Here is the full WinBench99 graph for a Seagate 7200.8:">

    Anandtech is even less credible than Tom's Hardware, these days. What a joke. I hope Anand got a big fat check from Seagate for publishing this "review"...
  • PuravSanghani - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    #24 & 25: Our apologies for such a delayed reply. The reason we used the older v6.39 driver is that it is the latest driver Giga-Byte has released on its website.

    Though Nvidia may have implemented newer features in the v6.54 release, the driver package the motherboard manufacturer has on their website is usually tested for their particular boards.

    We will definitely look into the newer versions in the future to see if they provide any useful updates that apply to our review topic and use them accordingly.
  • PuravSanghani - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    #44: By "% Difference" we mean the difference between the time it takes to zip the file as a task by itself and the time it takes to zip a file while Outlook is importing 400MB of emails into its Inbox.

    #45: They are there.

    #48: The transfer rates are actually measured in MBytes/sec. But yes, the results are correct and the benchmarks have been run twice to confirm these numbers. Also, many of our readers have pointed out that the 3.0Gbp/sec transfer rates, or transfer rates higher than those we have encountered, are mainly achieved when the drives are setup in RAID arrays.

    #49: Actually, our results are of the drive itself in a silent room with no PC fan or other hardware running. We turn off all other system fans and take sound readings 1" away from the side of each drive during its startup phase as well as during normal operation, specifically during Windows startup.

    We will be sure to specify this in future reviews.

    Sorry for the bulky reply, but I hope it helps.

  • yacoub - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    #45 - Well, Anandtech's noise measurement is clearly pretty pointless if they all come out so close together. That generally means they aren't testing the drive itself for its noise output, but then entire case with whatever other noisy components are in there. Guess we'll have to wait for SilentPCReview to test the new drives to find out how quiet they are for those who -aren't- running 50decibel systems. =P
  • tinyabs - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Why does new drives have 60-70Mb of Begin transfer rate? Is that correct?
  • BornStar18 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link


    Did you miss page 13?
  • Zak - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    Why using megabits per second in hard disk review if most people are used to megabytes? It's a bit confusing.

  • LX - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    Incomplete review.

    What about noise?
    What about temperature?
  • ElFenix - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    on page 12, is it just how i'm reading these or does it indicate that the % done is much better under multitasked than when only running the zip?
  • yacoub - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    Wow, that review left me somewhat uncertain.

    While reading it I started out liking the Hitachi best, but then around a third of the way through it started to suck, but then again near the end it looked good.

    The Raptor still looked like the champ for the first third of the review, but then the 400GB Barracuda shined for a few tests (probably the important ones, surprisingly) such as Sustained Transfer Rate (where it blew away everything else though the 300GB DiamondMax 16MB came close) and Real World File System Tasks with the 300 1MB files, etc.

    When it comes to thermals they all suck except for the DiamondMax drives, imho, and as far as acoustics go, forget it (get a drive suspension rig and isolation enclosure or get laptop HDs if you're really picky about noise).

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