Actual Application Times:

Our application time tests are designed to show application performance results with times being reported in minutes / seconds or seconds only with lower scores being better. While these tests will show some differences between the drives it is important to understand we are no longer measuring the pure performance of the hard drive but how well our platform performs with each individual drive. The performance of a hard drive is an integral part of the computer platform but other factors such as memory, CPU, core logic, and even driver choice can play a major role in determining how well the hard drive performs in any given task.

Game Load Tests

Game Application Timing - Game Load Time

In our Half-Life 2: Lost Coast test we measure the time it takes to load the game with the application timer starting when the play game icon is initiated in the Steam menu until the main game menu appears. The results follow our overall IPEAK game results with the Western Digital Raptor performing up to 10% better in this benchmark. The WD3200KS finishes slightly behind the Seagate 7200.10 320GB drive but the performance difference requires a benchmark to notice, and you will likely not be able to tell the difference during actual gameplay.

Game Application Timing - Game Load Time

Our Sims 2: Open for Business test measures the time it takes to load the initial portion of the game. Our application timer starts when the game icon is initiated until the neighborhood menu appears. The results are basically the same as our Half-Life 2 results as the WD Raptor continues to lead all drives, but we notice the Seagate 7200.10 320GB finishing ahead of the other drives with the WD3200KS close behind.

Game Level Load

These tests center around the actual loading of a playable level within our game selections.

  • The Half-Life 2: Lost Coast test measures the time it takes to load a new game. Our application timer starts when the start new game icon is initiated and ends when the character is on screen with the 357 magnum visible.
  • The Sims 2: Open for Business test measures the time it takes to load the Downtown sector of the game from Veronaville. Our application timer starts when the Downtown game icon is initiated and ends when the downtown graphics are visible.
  • The Battlefield 2 test measures the time it takes to load the Daqing Oilfields level. Our application timer begins when the start single player icon is initiated and ends when the join game icon is visible.
  • The Oblivion test measures the time it takes to load the Weye level in our saved game files. Our application timer begins when the load saved game icon is initiated and ends when the character is visible on screen.


Game Application Timing - Level Load Time

Game Application Timing - Level Load Time

Game Application Timing - Level Load Time

Game Application Timing - Level Load Time

The WD Raptor continues its pattern of being the fastest available drive for the gaming enthusiast. Our Seagate 7200.10 320GB drive wins three of four tests from the WD3200KS but the drives are so close in performance that it is difficult to distinguish one from another.

WinRAR 3.51

Our WinRAR tests measure the time it takes to compress our test folder that contains 444 files, 10 folders, and contains 602MB of data. This is same test folder utilized in our IPEAK test suite. While the benchmark is extremely CPU intensive for the compression test it still requires a fast storage system to keep pace with the CPU.

WinRar Application Timing - Compress Test Folder

WinRar Application Timing - Decompress Test Folder

The compression tests mimic our IPEAK results with the Seagate 7200.10 320GB drive finishing ahead of the WD3200KS but the difference in scores is drastically lower due to the platform components affecting the overall performance of the drives.

AnyDVD 5.9.6

Our next test has us utilizing the "ripping" function of AnyDVD to copy the Office Space DVD file from our source drive to our test drive. Our DVD features 29 files totaling 7.55GB of data and is an excellent test for determining the write speed of a drive.

Video Application Timing - Time to Transcode DVD

The test results show what we all know: speed kills but in this case the speed belongs to the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB drive and not the WD Raptor. Here, the Seagate drive posts a first place and finishes 41 seconds ahead of the WD3200KS. If you spend a lot time converting your movie collection or generating video files then buying the fastest drive you can afford can lead to a significant time savings.

Nero Audio Encode

Our last test has us utilizing the audio encoding functions of Nero to convert our INXS Greatest Hits audio files in MP4 format to a high quality variable rate MP3 file for our portable player. Our benchmark features 16 files totaling 137MB of data and is an excellent test for determining the read and write speed of a drive.

Audio Application Timing - MP4 to MP3 Conversion

The test results show once again the amount of time a fast hard drive like the WD Raptor can save over the course of audio or video file manipulation session. In this case, the WD3200KS finishes slightly ahead of the Seagate 320GB drive and mirrors earlier results in tests that combine read and write requests that are not completely sequential.

IPEAK Gaming Performance Acoustics and Thermals
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  • patentman - Monday, July 31, 2006 - link

    To avoid superparamagnetism, engineers have been increasing the coercivity, the field size required to write a bit, of the disc media. These fields are limited by the magnetic materials making up the write head that will soon effectively limit drive sizes utilizing longitudinal recording. Although additional capacities are still achievable, the drive industry will be moving to perpendicular recording technology shortly as longitudinal recording has basically hit the proverbial brick wall after being utilized for nearly 50 years."

    I wrote a pretty detailed post on the anandtech forums about this a while back. You can check it out http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid...">here" (I used to post under the nickname "klaviernista"). Considering I examined and issued a lot fo the patents that are the basis of seagate's perpendicular technology, I think I am more than qualified to speak on the matter.

    Oh, and for the record, the "soft" magent under layer is never truly "written to" during the reocrind gprocess. The soft magnetic underlayer is made of a material that has magnetic domains which rotate easily in response to an external magentic field. When the write field goes across any given point in the medium, it induces the field in the corresponding point on the soft magentic underlayer to rotate perpendicular to the medium. The article is correct in saying that the result is a substantial increase in write field intensity, but neglects to mention that the fields of the soft magnetic underlayer to not remain oriented perpendicular to the media surface after the write field from the magentic head is removed, whereas the fields in the magentic recording layer do remain oriented perpendicular to the media surface.

    The whole point of usuing a soft magnetic underlayer is to allow magnetic materials with very high coercivity to be used as the recoprding layer. Why do you need a very high coercivity recording layer in high density recordng media? See the post I linked to above and read the discussed about "intergranular exchange coupling."
    Reply
  • jackylman - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    In the pulldown menu, accoustics -> acoustics Reply
  • SonicIce - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Even with an extra platter to lug around, the Western Digital was quieter and cooler! Reply
  • madfly - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    if you want to have the seagate hard drive cross shipped where they send you a replacement and you return the defective one back to them they charge $25, considering the hard drive cost $99, that there is a ripoff. I had this happen to me with a 250GB HD that I bought last year, so I'll be spending my money with one of the others unless the deal is ridiculous. Reply
  • Mana211 - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    SPCR uses 1 meter (aka 1000mm or 200 times your stated distance) to measure SPL.

    "Each drive is measured for SPL one meter away from the top of the hard drive. Hard drive noise tends to be directional, the loudest position being directly over the top. SPL readings typically drop by 2~3 dBA/1m when measured from the side of the drive. The drive is placed on a soft foam to ensure that no vibration noise is produced during testing."

    The there is an entire category of sounds you hear at 5mm that wouldn't be noticable from outside a case.

    Take this quote from SPCR: "Consider the distance of Hardware.fr's recording microphone: 5cm from the HDD. This is a serious problem. There's no way the decibel reading can be accurate due to boundary effects. It's the same problem at storagereview.com -- not even relative differences are necessarily correct due to compression effects; the close proximity impacts every measurement similarly, reducing differences."

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article631-page1.htm...">http://www.silentpcreview.com/article631-page1.htm... shows that the new audio recordings (not to be confused with the SPL Dba numbers) will use two recording distances:

    * One meter so that "nominal" volume, audibility, and sound character can be judged.
    * One foot (or 30 cm if you will) to capture all the details from even the quietest noise sources.
    Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Western digital for me since i want a quiet and cool drive. Reply
  • crydee - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    The WD400YR and WD500YS seem very close to performance with the Raptor, but I can't find the WD400YR on pricewatch on newegg also I read about the WD drivers having a high rate of doa? Reply
  • AdamK47 3DS - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    The Seagate drive has a performance advantage with the two 160GB platters. Anandtech is still ignoring the advantages of higher platter densities. Why is that? Platter density is one of the features I look at when purchasing a new drive. It's a good indication of performance when compared to another drive of the same total capacity. You have two 320GB drives reviewed with different number of platters and yet there is no mention of this other than the table. It's very odd. Reply
  • evilharp - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Check your "price bot" settings. Currently you list the following deals for a "Western Digital Caviar® SE16"

    quote:


    AnandTech Deals

    Western Digital Caviar® SE16

    Prices
    >Buy.com $2,235.99
    >Business Computing Network $2,157.78
    >TECHONWEB $2,189.44
    >Super Warehouse $2,620.99
    >PCNation $2,478.80
    >PhotoAlley.com $2,840.05
    >cameraworld.com $2,840.05
    >iUnitek $2,479.87


    I followed the Business Computing Network link (simply due to the crazy price) and it is for a 20 unit bulk purchase.

    Reply
  • Booty - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    On the last page it should be listed that the WD has a 3 year warranty for retail and 1 year for OEM - you have them switched. Reply

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