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Product review: four 750 GB to 1 Terabyte SATA HDDs
by Marc Prieur
Published on October 1er, 2007

The drives
Here are the drives we tested with the firmware reference number in parentheses:

- Hitachi 7K1000 1 TB (GKAOA51D)
- Hitachi 7K1000 750 GB (GK8OA51D)
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (5QD0CHFX)
- Western Digital Caviar SE16 – WD7500AAKS (30.04G30)

Hitachi 7K1000 1 ToHitachi 7K1000 750 Go
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10Western Digital Caviar SE16
Hitachi 7K1000 1 ToHitachi 7K1000 750 Go
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10Western Digital Caviar SE16
Test protocol
Various measurements were carried out in tests. First of all, we were interested in a drive’s « synthetic » performances: cache and sequential speeds and average access time. Next, were more practical tests, first of all involving an applicative performance index based on PCMark05, a server load type simulation of files with IOMeter. This was followed by writing, reading, close (on the same partition) and far copying (on a partition which starts on 50% of the drive) of a collection of files.

These were composed of two large files totaling 4.4 GB, 2620 files equaling 2 GB and finally 16046 for a total of 733 MB. The source or target of reading or writing on the drive was a RAID of two Raptor 74 GB drives, which is capable assuring a speed of 110 MB /s in order that we aren’t limited in this parameter. This type of measurement is interesting because while the sequential speed gives us an idea of the performance in copying large files, things can be different with smaller ones.

All measurements were made with acoustic management deactivated, however, later on we did proceed with a few tests with its activation (except with Seagate drives because this isn’t an option). The test machine was based on a P965 Express chipset mounted on an ASUSTeK P5B Deluxe motherboard. Serial ATA ports were configured in the bios to AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) in order to use NCQ.

Of course, in addition to these performance measurements, we took temperature readings after 2 hours of intensive use as well as measuring power consumption. Finally, the sound levels of each hard drive were evaluated based on their dBA values and we also provide you with a recording of each model in various states of activity.

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