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SPECIAL REPORT:
QuickBench 4.0 Random Testing
of Ten Internal Mac Pro Drives

Originally posted March 9th, 2007, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist.

SpeedTools.com (aka Intech Software) will soon release QuickBench 4.0 as a part of their SpeedTools Utilities. It's a benchmarking tool we've often used to test small random reads and writes as a way of simulating the typical activity of an OS X boot drive. (Though originally OS X only, it will soon be offered in a Windows version, too.)

We gathered up various drives that we've tested previously and ran the new and improved random read/write test. One new feature of QuickBench 4.0 is that it computes the averages of 1K to 1MB blocks. As in the past, we chose to average 64K through 1024K. Also we made five runs. So the average not only includes a range of block sizes but five cycles at each block size. Here's a sample screen displaying results:

Because the algorithm used by QuickBench 4 is significantly different from QuickBench 3, you can't compare these results to our previous postings. Chris Karr, the creator of QuickBench, has assured us that the new algorithm produces more accurate results.

GRAPH LEGEND
Fastest in
bold RED
WD1500 = Western Digital Raptor 10K 150GB SATA 1.5G (WD1500AHFD)
S7200.10S = Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive
S7200.10P = Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB 7200rpm PATA drive
M7H500F0 = Maxtor MaXLine Pro 500GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (7H500F0)
H7K500 = Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 500GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (HDS725050KLA360)
WD5000KS = Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (WD5000KS)
WD4000KD = Western Digital Caviar SE16 400GB 7200rpm SATA 1.5G (WD4000KD)
M7V300F0 = Maxtor MaXLine III 300GB 7200rpm SATA 1.5G (7V300F0)
WD2500JS = Western Digital Caviar 250GB 7200rpm SATA 1.5G drive (WD2500JS)
WD2500KS = Western Digital Caviar 250GB 7200rpm SATA 3G drive (WD2500KS)

INSIGHTS
Of the 7200rpm drives, the Seagate 7200.10 had the best average random READ speed while the Maxtor 7V300F0 had the best average random WRITE speed. If we combine read and write speeds, the Maxtor 7H500F0 and WD5000KS tie for the best combined random performance.

Since Maxtor has been absorbed by Seagate and the MaXLine Pro series is no longer being manufactured, the Western Digital WD5000KS wins the "ribbon" for best combined random performance for 7200rpm SATA drives. (Ditto for its "brother," the enterprise WD5000YS.)

The Parallel ATA version of the 750GB Seagate was included in this test session. We connected it to the ATA-133 data connector in the lower optical bay of the Mac Pro. Notice the random performance exceeded that of the 3G SATA version. Hmmm.

Of course the 10,000rpm Raptor (WD1500AHFD and ADFD) beat all the 7200rpm drives, but at 150GB, it stores a lot less. However, if you configure dual 10K Raptors as a boot set, you get double the random transfer speeds and a total of 300GB of storage.

RAPTOR RELUCTANCE?
There have been some reports of problems using the Raptors inside the Mac Pro. We haven't experienced any hiccups so far. We plan to build a fresh copy of OS X on a dual 10K Raptor WD1500AHFD set to see if we encounter any glitches. We'll let you know how it goes.

RELATED ARTICLES

AMUG's recent review of the Western Digital WD5000YS versus others

Bare Feat's earlier "Best Boot Drive for Mac Pro" test where we boot, launch and duplicate using single drives and RAID 0 pairs.

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY SPEED TOOLS UTILITIES
You can purchase the Speed Tools Utlities, that include QuickBench, directly from
SpeedTools.com. If you have purchased any version of Speed Tools or QuickBench in the past, you are eligible for a FREE upgrade to QuickBench 4.0 when it's released.

WHERE TO BUY SATA or PATA HARD DRIVES for your MAC

MacGurus

Other World Computing

Small Dog Electronics

TransIntl

Apple's online store (click on STORAGE in the left margin of main page)

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