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"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"


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S-ATA Drives Full and Empty

(How much speed is lost at the inner tracks?)


Originally posted 09/12/03 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

This is PAGE TWO has the REAL WORLD test results showing how much Serial ATA drives slow down as they get filled up and write to the inner tracks.








As you can plainly see, SATA drives lose as much as half their speed as the inner tracks are reached. The same phenomenon occurs with all kinds of drives (Parallel ATA, FireWire, SCSI). The speed drop may or may not affect your work. One way to diminish the speed loss is to partition your drive, putting speed critical apps and docs in the first partition and non-critical things in the second partition.

The Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 was less affected by the drop in speed than the other two drives. Its "end of drive" speed was best in 4 out of 7 tests. It did best in WRITE tests.

The Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 was second fastest at the "end of drive." It scored best in 3 out of 7 tests. It did best in READ tests.

The Seagate Barracuda 7200.7, came in third. It tied for first in 2 out of 7 tests. (Remember, this is the drive that comes standard on G5 Power Macs.)



Three SATA drives compared to two PATA drives converted to SATA.

Which flavor of SATA drives makes the best RAID 0 striped array?

SATA versus PATA vs FireWire 800

Four drive, four channel RAID shootout between Ultra ATA133, FireWire 800 and Ultra320 SCSI.



The Power Mac G4/1.42MP with 2GB of DDR memory and OS X (10.2.6) was the test mule. It was purchased from Small Dog Electronics.

The dual channel
SeriTek/1S2 Serial ATA PCI host adapter from FirmTek (5.0.2 of the firmware). For your G5 tower, you need firmware version 5.0.3. This can be ordered direct from FirmTek.


Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 250GB Serial ATA version

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 160GB Serial ATA version

Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 160GB Serial ATA version (This drive was also the one Apple ships from the factory inside the G5/1.8GHz tower.)

Good sources for buying Serial ATA drives include and GoogleGear. (Search on key word like "7K250" or "DiamondMax" or "Barracuda".)

SEE "HOW WE TEST" for details on the tests reflected in the graphs.









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© 2003 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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