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BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

"BARE facts on Mac speed FEATS"
Rob-ART, Main Mad Scientist (aka Dr. Frankenstein)
Bet-TAY,
Special Features Edtior (aka Frau Blucher)

SHOOTOUT: Western Digital 640GB
versus other 7K SATA drives

Originally posted April 4th, 2008, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Western Digital seems to have hit the sweet spot in terms of capacity and price with their new Caviar SE16 640GB 7K (WD6400AAKS). But how fast is it compared to other 7K SATA drives? In response to "popular demand," here's how it compares to our other "candidates" for best 7K SATA Mac Pro boot drive:

LEGEND of GRAPHS
WD6400AAKS = Western Digital WD6400AAKS 7K 640GB SATA 3G drive
Sam HD103UJ = Samsung Spinpoint F1 7K 1000GB SATA 3G drive
Sea 7200.11 = Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 7K 1000GB SATA 3G drive
WD7500AYYS = Western Digital WD7500AYYS 7K 750GB SATA 3G drive
Sam HD753LJ = Samsung Spinpoint F1 7K 750GB SATA 3G drive
WD10EACS = Western Digital "Green" GP 7K 1000GB SATA 3G drive

The test system was an "early 2008" Mac Pro 8-core 3.2GHz with 16GB of DDR2 memory running Mac OS X Leopard "10.5.2"

INSIGHTS
The big story on the WD Caviar SE16 640GB 7K (WD6400AAKS) is that uses 320GB per-platter technology. Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) translates to greater density.
Anandtech wrote "This type of areal density places WD in direct competition with Samsung's F1 lineup featuring 334GB per-platter sizes with similar thermal, acoustic, and power envelope specifications."

Density translates to speed. In the large block sustained transfer test, it beat all other drives listed in this test including the 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F1 we previously declared the faster 7K SATA drive.

As I said earlier, Western Digital seems to have hit the sweet spot in terms of storage capacity and pricing for a boot drive. NewEgg, for example, is selling it for $119.99 if you use Promo Code EMCAEABBC.

We use the random benchmarks as a predictor of how well a drive performs as a boot drive. The WD6400AAKS scored second place in 4 out of 6 random tests. So I would deem it a good choice as a boot drive.

Drives can get really noisy when doing multiple small random transfers. The Disktester random test makes them go "crazy." On a purely subjective level, the WD6400AAKS seemed to my ears just as quiet as the quietest drives, the Samsung F1s.

RELATED LINKS

See Bare Feats' test of two, three, and four drive SAS RAID versus two, three, and four drive SATA RAID inside the Mac Pro "Harpertown."

Anandtech reviewed the WD6400AAKS on a Windows PC.

Tom's Hardware tests the fastest SATA drives including some of those listed above.

Speed Tools has storage benchmarking tools with easy to use GUI.

Lloyd Chambers created Disktester which we have found to be a useful storage benchmarking tool even though it lacks a fancy GUI.

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY SATA 3G DRIVES for your MAC PRO

NewEgg is selling the WD6400AAKS for $119.99 if you use Promo Code EMCAEABBC.

MacGurus (host adapters, enclosures, drives, cables)

Other World Computing (host adapters, enclosures, drives)

Small Dog Electronics (host adapters, enclosures, drives)

TransIntl (host enclosures, drives, internal mounting kits)

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

WANT TO ADD MORE DRIVES INSIDE YOUR MAC PRO?
There are two spare SATA ports on the Mac Pro motherboard "hiding" behind the PCIe inlet fan. If you want more than four internal drives mounted in your Mac Pro, one way is to mount extra drives in the empty optical bay and tap into those ports. But you will want those drives secured. Loose, vibrating drives live a short life.

Trans International sells the Pro Caddy, a kit that lets you add one SATA (or PATA) drive inside the lower, empty optical drive bay bringing your total internal drives to six.

MaxUpgrades sells the "MaxConnect", a kit which enables you to use the lower optical bay to add two more internal hard drives for a total of six. (Move the SuperDrive externally and you can have eight total internally.)

WHERE TO BUY A MAC PRO
When ordering products from Apple Store USA, please click THIS TEXT LINK or any Apple display ad as your "portal" to the online store. In so doing, you help to support Bare Feats.

(DON'T LIVE in the USA? See links for Apple online stores in other countries.)

Also check with Small Dog Electronics and Power Max. (Power Max takes trade-ins.)

WHERE TO BUY MEMORY FOR YOUR MAC PRO
Apple charges and arm and a leg for CTO memory options. We suggested ordering your Mac Pro with minimal memory and getting 8GB or 16GB of matched FB-DIMMs that meet Apple's specs and use Apple approved heat sinks from ....

Other World Computing

Trans International sells memory and also have a kit called

MaxUpgrades makes max_flow, a kit to keep your Mac Pro memory running even cooler.

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2008 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster