Want 100+ MB/sec sustained read and write speed?
Try 3 Cheetah 15K drives and a 39160 controller!

First posted 9/22/2000
© 2000 Rob Art Morgan, publisher of BARE FEATS


Obviously this is a "cost is no object" exercise. Even shopping around for best pricing, the 3 Cheetah 15K's, the 39160 controller, and dual cables will run you around $2000. To put that in perspective, you can buy a "stripped" version of the Dual G4/450 for $2250.

But if you are greedy for maximum transfer speed, this setup is freaky fast... unless you can add a fourth drive... heh, heh, heh.


Other Thoughts
I tested the same drives and controller on a DUAL G4/500 to see if it would go any faster. It actually tested slightly slower than the single G4/500. In other words, when it comes to hard drive speed, there's no advantage to having dual CPU's. (For more test results on the Dual G4 advantage, check out THIS PAGE.)

The ATTO ExpressPCI Dual-Channel Ultra3 was also tested with dual and triple Cheetah 15K's. It matched the performance of the Adaptec 39160 with dual drives but fell behind significantly in sustained WRITE speed with triple drives (89MB/sec versus 110MB/sec).


Where To Buy
The Adaptec 39160 Power Domain is available for as low as $466 at Buy.Com (go there and do a search on "39160"). Try also Other World Computing and MacGurus.

The Seagate Ultra160 Cheetah 15K (18GB) is available for as low as $453 each at Buy.Com (go there and do a search on "cheetah"). Try also Other World Computing and MacGurus.



Test Configurations & Procedures

TEST SYSTEM: Power Mac G4/400 with G4/500 daughterboard upgrade from MacSelect. Configured with 256MB of PC-100 "222" memory. Mac OS 9.0.4 was running with virtual memory off, disk cache set to minimum (128K), clock display off, and AppleTalk off.


Ultra160 drives: Seagate Cheetah 15K ST318451LW - (courtesy of Seagate Technology )

Ultra160 controller: Adaptec 39160 Power Domain (courtesy of Adaptec)
(Also tested with
ATTO ExpressPCI Dual-Channel Ultra3, courtesy of ATTO Technology)

The SUSTAINED READ OR WRITE test results were obtained by using Express-Pro Tools 2.3.2 benchmark test with 8MB maximum file size and system disk cache disabled. Sustained Rate is displayed in the charts. Peak rates can be impressive but do not reflect typical drive performance.


Special Thanks To...

MacSelect for letting me test the G4/500 daughterboard upgrade.

SmartDisk/VST for the use of one of their 6GB portable FireWire drives which holds all my latest test applications, test documents, and drivers for speed testing.


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© 2000 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS
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