Real World Tests

Synthetic benchmarks are not always the best gauge in measuring the "real" performance of hardware, which is why we have incorporated a few real world tests in our storage reviews. One of our tests, the file system performance test, measures the drive's ability to handle file zip, unzip, and copy operations. This is a great measure of how one drive compares to another and we have put together a group of tasks that most of us typically use.

File System Tasks Within Drive
  1. File Zip Test - We take a 300MB file and measure the time that it takes for our test bed to compress it to ZIP format. We then run the test again with 300 1MB files to see how the drive performs when working with multiple files.
  2. File Unzip Test - Using the same methodology as the File Zip Test, we take a ZIP file of a single 300MB file as well as a ZIP file of 300 1MB files and measure the time that it takes to uncompress each ZIP successfully.
  3. File Copy Test - We measure how long it takes for the system with our test drive to copy a single 300MB file as well as 300 1MB files.
Take a look at the results for these file system operations within the high capacity drives:

File Zip Test - One 300MB File

File Zip Test - 300 1MB Files

File Unzip Test - One 300MB File

File Unzip Test - 300 1MB Files

Copy Folder Test - One 300MB File

Copy Folder Test - 300 1MB Files

The single drive setup did not perform as well in the file system benchmarks as it did in our other tests, but it did keep up in the Folder Copy Test. The most impact that we saw was from the 2-drive RAID-0 setup in both the Folder Copy and File Zip benchmark. The File Unzip benchmark showed no mercy as the RAID-0 setup performed only slightly better than a few drives. Still, it is obvious that RAID-0 will boost the performance of drives.

HDTach – Sequential Read Speed/Burst Speed Real World Tests - Multitasking Performance
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  • yacoub - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    If you're going to do an acoustics test, you should make a useful graph instead of that tiny one that makes them all look relatively equivalent in noise output. You should also note any particular sound properties the drive emits. Whine, pitch, vibration, etc. It would be subjective but it's also very important.

    If anything, harddrive speed and performance are relatively similar among most drives. The noise output however, is often greatly different, and is especially important if the drive emits noise at a certain frequency that annoys the user. I'd rather wait an extra millisecond for a seek than have to put up with a constant ringing noise or whine from the drive.

    You could also at least include a modern Samsung SpinPoint like the P120 SP2004C 200GB drive in your test list instead of the dated Samsungs you use currently. Aside from it having better performance than most of the older Samsungs you list, it also is one of the quietest 7200rpm 3.5" HDs out there - enough that it would certainly stand out in your acoustics test instead of the current lot you test with that leaves a graph that gives a false impression of "oh, looks like all HDs are about the same in noise so I won't bother using that as a purchase consideration."

    http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200511/SP250...">http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200511/SP250... shows a more useful acoustics test graph and the strongest point of the Samsung SpinPoint SP2004C - its SPL. Anyone building a quiet PC should certainly consider it. I love mine.

    SilentPCReview also has a SpinPoint P120 SP2004C review but their site seems to be down at the moment.
    Reply
  • RallyMaster - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - link

    Is this the ST3160812AS? If so...I have one! Never thought my 95 dollar hard drive was capable of doing so well. Wow. Reply
  • wharris1 - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - link

    yes, this article was initially posted last week. Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - link

    > We also benchmarked a couple of these drives in a RAID-0 array as a brief look at RAID performance with results that were pleasing to our eyes.

    Really?
    No improvements in either application or game level load times.
    Little improvements in the zip/unzip tests.

    What exactly is so pleasing?
    Results in vague iPeak tests?
    Reply
  • JWalk - Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - link

    Ding! We have a winner.

    Nothing appears to have changed when it comes to real-world applications and RAID-0 performance. Anand himself and Eugene at storagereview.com have settled this numerous times.

    If you want to see big synthetic benchmark numbers, run RAID-0. If you want actual real-world results, use a fast single drive. RAID has its place, but not in a RAID-0 array for normal desktop/gaming use.
    Reply
  • Ecmaster76 - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - link

    Did this one get pulled and put back up or something? Reply
  • neogodless - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - link

    I think the focus on RAID makes the omission of temperature and noise data a strange thing. How does that second drive affect the temperature inside the case, especially if the drives are side by side? How does it affect noise? Reply
  • patentman - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    "With the announcement and release of Seagate's new 160GB 5400.3 2.5" notebook drive, which utilizes the new perpendicular magnetic recording method"

    I think I've said this before, but perpendicular magnetic recording is not new by any stetch of the imagination. There are patents on this technology that were filed in the late 80's. Mainstream products using this technology might be new, but the actual method of recording is, in the computer world, very very old.
    Reply
  • PuravSanghani - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - link

    Patentman,

    Though the patent may have been around since the late 80's, only recently has a hard drive manufacturer been able to implement the technology in their products.

    Toshiba was the first to do this with their smaller drives and Seagate is the first do implement this technology in notebook drives. The race is on to see who will introduce desktop drives based on this technology!

    Purav
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    The 160GB 7200.9 is not in either of the two temperature charts or the noise chart. The 500GB 7200.9 is there, but no it's little brother. Reply

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