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How Fast Is The IBM 180GXP On An ATA-133 Interface? And How Does The WD1800JB And Others Compare?

Originally posted 10/25/02 by rob-ART morgan,
Bare Feats webmaster and mad scientist (
Updated midnight 10/31/02 with WD1800JB "jumbo buffer" numbers

Recently I published results the new IBM Deskstar 180GXP 180GB drive running in a FireWire case. But I know you are dying to know how it performs on an ATA-133 interface. So I tested it on the Sonnet Tempo ATA-133 card. For reference, I included the results from the Western Digital Western Digital WD1800JB 180GB (8M buffer), WD1800BB 180GB (2M buffer), IBM 120GXP 120GB, and Maxtor D540X 160GB (5400rpm).


Duplicating the 457MB "pak0.pk3" file from Quake3 is my favorite test since it forces the drive to read and write to itself at the same time. It should be a good indicator of how fast OS X reads/writes to Virtual Memory.



By setting Photoshop's memory size to 41MB and having it rotate a 45MB document, I force it to read from and write to the scratch disk... which is defined as the drive being tested. 








The new IBM 180GXP really rips on an ATA-133 interface. With its 8MB buffer, it equaled or beat the WD1800JB (also with 8MB buffer) on 5 out of 6 tests.

The "old" IBM 120GXP came in second or third fastest on 4 out of 6 tests even on an ATA-66 interface. So if you don't need more than 120GB of storage, there are bargains to be had on these "obsolete" drives.

I chose the Sonnet Tempo ATA-133 controller because it was equal to or faster than the Acard HW RAID in all but one test. The Acard HW RAID ATA-100/133 controller should have the upper hand when used in HW RAID mode (striped pair RAID 0).



StorageReview has speed results and noise/temperature results for the new Western Digital 200GB WD2000JB, as well as the Barracuda ATA-V.

Keep checking Storage Review's main page for test results on the IBM 180GXP versus the WD1800JB and WD2000JB.

Read the Bare Feats report on how the 180GXP did when connected to a FireWire bridge.



You find the drives selling for low prices at NewEgg, and GoogleGear. (Go to each site and do a search on "180gxp" or "wd1800bb" or etc.).

The Tempo ATA-133 from Sonnet Technologies is available from Small Dog for $99.

The Acard ATA-133 Hardware RAID is useful for creating a RAID 0 stripe of a pair of fast drives. Other World Computing has the SIIG badged version for $140.



The test "mule" was an Apple G4/1000DP Power Mac running OS X (10.2.1).

Drives tested:
IBM Deskstar 180GXP (186GB, 7200rpm, 8MB buffer)
IBM Deskstar 120GXP (120GB, 7200rpm, 2MB buffer)
Western Digital WD1800JB (180GB, 7200rpm, 8MB buffer)
Western Digital WD1800BB (180GB, 7200rpm, 2MB buffer)
Maxtor D540X (160GB, 5400rpm, 2MB buffer)

All but one was tested with the Sonnet Tempo ATA-133 PCI controller.

REAL WORLD TESTS included...

1. Rotating a 45MB document in Photoshop 7 with application size set to 41MB... thereby creating a low memory condition and forcing Photoshop to read from and write to the scratch disk.

2. Duplicating a 457MB document on the test drive, forcing it to read and write to itself, simultaneously.


QuickBench X was used to measure Random Read/Write (1M blocks). A special version of QuickBench X was used to measure Sustained Read/Write with 100MB blocks.





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