Pictures of the hard drivesHere are the hard drives used for this test:
- Hitachi 7K500 500 GB
- Maxtor DiamondMax 11 500 GB
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500 GB
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500 GB
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750 Go
- Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500 GB
There isn´t much to say about the front picture except that one product is black. Manufacturing dates of the hard drives tested vary from December 2005 to March 2006 for those explicitly indicated.
There is no real surprise for controller cards, as chips are the same as those used for lower capacity drives (except for Seagate). The two 7200.10 include one ST controller chip instead of the usual Agere. The two chips however have the same pin configuration and the PCB of the 7200.9 500 GB and 7200.10 750 GB are similar: we could even think that this is actually the same chip. Maxtor uses Agere´s controller, Hitachi uses Infineon´s and Marvell the Western. Only the Hitachi and Western drives have a standard Molex connector in addition of course to the standard Serial ATA power supply.
For this test, we have used the same protocol as for the previous 250 GB test, except that we only used an Intel platform. First we looked at the drives “synthetic” performances; cache and sequential transfer rates and average seek time. Then there were more applicative tests, which include an applicative performance index based on PCMark05, a simulation of a file server type of load via IOMeter. And also a writing, reading and close copy (in the same partition) and far copy (starting at 50% of the drive) of a group of files.
These files include 2 big files for a total of 4.4 GB, plus 2620 files for a total of 2 GB, and finally 16,046 files for a total of 733 MB. The source or target for reading or writing on the disc are two Raptor 74 GB in RAID, capable of 110 MB/s transfer rates without restrictions in this area. Of course, this is of little interest, because if the sequential transfer rate gives an idea of performances during the copying of big files, things are different with small ones.
All measurements were taken with drive sound management deactivated and then at times with this option activated (except for Seagate, because the function isn’t supported). We also measured the performances of the chipset.
With the i975X, we measured with and without AHCI mode activated. With standard parameters, Intel’s controller is configured in standard IDE and the advantages of SATA such as NCQ or hot plug aren’t supported. It has to be configured in AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) to benefit from these technologies.