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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

SHOOTOUT:
One Terabyte Drives --
Hitachi versus Seagate versus WD

Originally posted October 26th, 2007, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated November 13th, 2007, with Western Digital 1TB drive results

We now can publish our shootout between the three new one terabyte 3G SATA hard drives (Seagate Barracuda 7200.11, Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 and Western Digital Caviar GP WD10EACS). Until the "TBs" started shipping, the 750GB drives were the capacity "kings." For perspective, we included the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 and Western Digital Caviar SE16 750GB drives in this shootout.

For this test session, we installed all four drives inside our 8-core Mac Pro. In the past, SATA drives have performed well connected externally to 3G SATA host adapters. However, they sometimes "stumble" when installed internally to the Mac Pro using the built-in SATA controller. We can assure you that these drives perform as good or better than you see below if you choose to install them in an external enclosure and connect them to a 3G SATA host adapter.

BIG SEQUENTIAL TRANSFERS
In the first four graphs, we show the performance using large block sustained transfers. This should be of interest to those of you who plan to use them for such things as capture and playback of video or audio files.

SMALL RANDOM TRANSFERS
In the second four graphs, we show the performance using small random transfers. This should be of interest if you plan to use these drives for booting Mac OS X.

GRAPH LEGEND
Seagate 7200.11 = Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1000GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (model ST31000340AS, 32MB cache)
Hitachi 7K1000 = Hitachi Deskstar 7200.11 1000GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (model HDS721010KLA330, 32MB cache)
WD10EACS = Western Digital Caviar 1000GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (model WD10EACS; 32MB cache)
WD7500AAKS = Western Digital Caviar 750GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (model WD7500AAKS; 16MB cache)
Seagate 7200.10 = Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (model ST3750640AS, 16MB cache)

QuickBench is a benchmarking tool included in the SpeedTools Utilities
DiskTester is a benchmarking tool created by Lloyd Chambers.

AND THE WINNER IS....
... the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 One Terabyte 3G SATA drive (ST31000340AS). It out-performed the other three 1TB drives in 7 out of 8 tests. It's pretty amazing to see a 7200rpm drive transfer at over 100 megabytes per second. Eat your heart out, Raptor 10Ks!

The Seagate 7200.11 is available in smaller capacities (500GB and 750GB) which feature transfer rates equal to those published here.

We were puzzled by the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000's poor performance in the Disktester sequential READ test. We can give you two factoids on this issue:
1) We tested all drives internally to the Mac Pro 8-core. When we tested the Hitachi externally using the LaCie 3G SATA host adaper, the read speed average jumped from 57MB/s to 81MB/s.
2) The Ultrastar version of the 1TB Hitachi was tested by AMUG and performed much better in the Disktester large block test.

The Western Digital 1TB Caviar GP's claim to fame is that it is "green." It's supposed to use less power and cost less than the others. We saw them selling for as low as $279. That's $50 cheaper than the Seagate 1TB drive.

The Western Digital Caviar SE 16 (750GB) was nipping at the Seagate 1TB's heels. Selling for as low as $189, I would give it the "best bang for the buck" award if you are looking for a large capacity boot drive.

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY THE SEAGATE ONE TERABYTE 3G SATA HARD DRIVE (and other models of hard drives)

MacGurus

Other World Computing

Small Dog Electronics

Trans International

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2007 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist