posted 06/06/03 by rob-ART
Among the three
drives, there was no clear winner. No matter which
of the three drives you choose, it would be faster
than the fastest Ultra ATA-100/133 drive and the
fastest FireWire 800 drive kit.
Of the two brands
we tested in a striped array, the Seagate Cheetah
did best. (Stay tuned for an update where a pair of
Fujitsus will be run in a striped
If they're so
fast, why isn't everyone using 15K Ultra320 SCSI
drives in their Power Mac?
For one thing
they are EXPENSIVE compared to Ultra ATA drives.
The 73GB Cheetah we tested has a suggested retail
price of $806. But let's say you buy one at a
discounted $684.99 from GoogleGear.com.
The 80GB Hitachi 180GXP Deskstar Ultra ATA-100
drive costs only $83.50 at GoogleGear. That makes
the Cheetah 8 times more costly after discounts.
The Ultra320 PCI host adapter is expensive, too.
dual channel UL4D
we used runs $549. The SonnetTech dual channel
Tempo ATA-133 runs $99.
Then there's the
size issue. The biggest 15,000 rpm Ultra320 SCSI
available is 73GB. The Ultra ATA-100/133 drives are
available up to 250GB.
So what's so
special about Ultra320 SCSI drives?
rpm and 3.6 ms average seek time is nothing to
sneeze at, the biggest advantage has to do with the
interface. Ultra320 means that each channel of the
controller supports transfer speeds up to 320MB/s.
When I did the striped pairs, I put each drive on
its own cable connected to a separate channel. When
I put two drives on the same cable and same
channel, I got the same speed.
I could have put
four drives on the same channel without any
bottleneck in speed. (I can't give you those
numbers until I pick up a four connector cable from
Frys.) Put 8 drives on a dual channels and you'll
be cruising along at up to 640MB /s. Get the
Ultra SCSI and Ultra ATA drivers have the same
non-recoverable error rate. However, all three
Ultra320 SCSI drives come with a 5 year warranty.
The Ultra ATA drives with 8MB buffers come with 3
year warranty. Those with smaller buffers come with
1 year. That would imply that the manufacturers
believe their Ultra320 SCSI drives are more bullet
proof than the Ultra ATAs.
drives tend to run hotter than Ultra ATA drives.
Our lab has no way to measure temperature. But
measured all three drives in a controlled
environment. The Maxtor Atlas measured the hottest
at 30.8 degrees Celsius. The Cheetah ran coolest at
25.1 degrees C.
those numbers with the Hitachi Deskstar that
runs at 22.1 degrees C. The Western Digital
2000JB runs at a relatively cool 19.7 degrees
As for noise, the
Cheetah was quietest of the SCSI drives at 45.1
dB/a. The Fujitsu was noisiest at 50.5
quiestest SCSI was as loud as the loudest of the
faster Ultra ATA drives. The Western Digital
2000JB generates 45.5 dB/a. The Hitachi-IBM
Deskstar is much quieter at 40.1 dB/a. The
Seagate Barracuda ATA-V is the quietest of all
at 37.8 dB/a.
If you are
running a sound lab and noise is an issue, you need
to take a look at the CoolMac
from CryWolf. It will reduced your total system
noise to 35 dB/a.
IN CASE YOU
HAVEN'T SEEN PAGE
IT CONTAINS REAL WORLD TESTS.
has an article showing the Fujitsu
and Maxtor 15K Ultra320 SCSI
giving the Cheetah 15K.3 fits. Their results differ
from mine. They use a Windows PC testbed and
tested the Western
Digital 250GB 7200rpm
Ultra ATA-133 drive against four other top Ultra
ATA drives including the Hitachi-IBM 180GXP and
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9.
The test computer
was an Apple
G4/1.42GHz Power Mac running OS X (10.2.6). The
striped arrays were created using the OS X Drive
Utility RAID function.
The Ultra320 PCI
Host Adapter (controller) was the ATTO
It can be purchased direct from ATTO's online
The Ultra320 SCSI
drives tested included:
Cheetah 15K.3 (ST373453LW)
available at discount from GoogleGear.com.
available from the MaxStore.
currently isn't available from the
but I'm sure it soon will be.
for details on the tests reflected in the