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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Fastest 7200rpm 2TB SATA Drives

Friday, July 23rd, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Lloyd Chambers published a report on the Western Digital enterprise grade RE4 2TB declaring it the fastest SATA drive he had ever tested. We had measured similar speeds on the WD consumer grade Caviar Black 2TB HDD. We have tested both models inside our Mac Pro Nehalem comparing them to the fastest Seagate 2TB and fastest Hitachi 2TB SATA drives.

Though we respect and often use Lloyd's DiskTester benchmark, for this article we published QuickBench sequential and random results.

WD RE4 2TB = Western Digital RE4 3Gb/s 2TB SATA HDD (WD2003FYYS)
WD Blk 2TB = Western Digital Caviar Black 3Gb/s 2TB SATA HDD (WD2001FASS)
SeaXT 2TB = Seagate Barracuda XT 6Gb/s 2TB SATA HDD (ST32000641AS)
Hit 2TB = Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 3Gb/s 2TB SATA HDD (HDS722020ALA330)

Graphs indicate average of 5 runs. Red bar means fastest.

The WD RE4 is the fastest SATA drive we have ever tested. However, for half the price, the WD Caviar Black is nipping at its heels. So if you don't need an enterprise rated drive, it's the best buy of the bunch.

The Seagate Barracuda XT is the only 6Gb/s drive of the four. Western Digital makes a 6Gb/s version of the Caviar Black but it only goes up to 1TB capacity and our testing showed it to be slower than the 3Gb/s version when installed inside our Mac Pro Nehalem (135MB/s READ, 125MB/s WRITE).

Now that the RE4 has been established as the top dog of 7K SATA drives, I want to give you some perspective. Putting aside cost per gigabyte and total capacity, let's see how the fastest SATA drive compares to a fast SAS HDD and fast SATA SSD.

Legend of Graphs
OWC SSD = OWC Mercury Extreme Pro RE 200GB 3Gb/s SATA SSD (OWCSSDMXRE200) mounted on the factory sled with the aid of an Icy Dock
Cheet 15K.7 = Seagate Cheetah 15K 600GB 6Gb/s SAS HDD (ST3600057SS) -- connected to a 6Gb/s SAS host adapter from ATTO
WD RE4 2TB = Western Digital RE4 3Gb/s 2TB SATA HDD (WD2003FYYS)

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY HDDs for your Mac
Other World Computing
and Trans International
and MacGurus

Trans International
and Other World Computing
and MaxUpgrades

Click on our Apple Store USA text links or display ads when you order a Mac. It's a great way to support Bare Feats since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

USA Apple Resellers we recommend:
Power Max (takes trade-ins)
Small Dog Electronics

DON'T LIVE in the USA? Here are some Apple Stores to click:
Apple Store - Canada
Apple Store - France
Apple Store - Germany
Apple Store - Italy
Apple Store - UK

and Other World Computing

WHERE TO BUY ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE 5 (or elements of it like Photoshop CS5)
Order directly from Adobe USA to get free shipping. If you are a member of NAPP, get 15% off.
Don't live in USA? Try these links to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK. (Clicking our links helps us earn a commission.)

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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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