First Serial ATA Drive: Expectations Exceed Results - Page 3

We ran the same set of benchmarks as we ran with our recent large drive roundup. This means that we can compare the performance directly with some the most recent parallel ATA drives.

We put the following products under test:

Seagate ST3120023AS (120GB)

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Seagate ST3120023A (120GB)

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Western Digital WD2000JB (200GB)

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IBM Deskstar 180GXP

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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9

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  • Winbench 99 version 2.0 Disk Tests. We ran the two Winmark tests (Business Disk Winmark and High End Disk Winmark. We also ran the CPU utilization, access time and transfer rate inspection tests. The transfer rate was normalized to 8MB (8000KB), as suggested by the designers of the Winbench 99 disk test -- that is, the transfer rates for the applications playback tests were set to 8000 kilobytes per second.
  • Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2003, to see how the drives performed under a set of real-world applications, executing scripts that represent real user workloads.
  • Business Winstone 2002, to test performance with a standard suite of desktop business applications.

Winbench 99 2.0 Business Disk Winmark Test Results & CPU Utilization

The result is pretty startling -- the Seagate S-ATA drive outpaced all the others, by a wide margin. We repeated this test three times to be sure, and obtained essentially the same result each time. One clue to this amazing result may be found in the CPU utilization test.

Note the substantially lower CPU utilization. Its possible that the Silicon Image S-ATA controller simply has low CPU overhead relative to the embedded parallel ATA controller in Intels ICH4 I/O controller hub. Since Winbench 99 is a low-level that tests read performance above write performance, its likely that the low CPU utilization, plus some firmware optimizations, may have resulted in the higher Business Winmark Score.