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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 28 March 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651AS
Features and Specifications
Drive Testing Methodology
Seagate Barracuda XT: SATA 3G vs 6G
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
Short Stroke Disk Performance
Desktop Storage Final Thoughts
Seagate Barracuda XT Conclusion

Drive Testing Methodology

Comparing a Solid State Disk to a standard Hard Disk Drives is always relative; even when you're comparing the fastest rotational spindle speeds. One is going to be much faster in response time (SSD's), while the other is usually going to have higher throughput bandwidth (HDD's). Additionally, there are certain factors which can affect the results of a test which we do our best to avoid.

There are various methods of overcoming the 2.2 TB storage barrier, however this article focuses on Microsoft Windows installations. Any hard drive initialized with a MBR (master boot record) will not see more than 2.19 TB. However, if initialized using a GPD (GUID Partition Table), which is available in Windows 7, it will see more than 2.2 TB.

Solid State Drives have traveled a long winding course to finally get where they are today. Up to this point in technology, there have been several key differences separating Solid State Drives from magnetic rotational Hard Disk Drives. While the DRAM-based buffer size on desktop HDD's has now reached 64 MB and is ever-increasing, there is still a hefty delay in the initial response time. This is one key area in which flash-based Solid State Drives continually dominates because they lack moving parts to "get up to speed".

However the benefits inherent to SSD's have traditionally fallen off once the throughput begins, even though data reads or writes are executed at a high constant rate whereas the HDD tapers off in performance. This makes the average transaction speed of a SSD comparable to the data burst rate mentioned in HDD tests, albeit usually lower than the HDD's speed.

SSD Testing Disclaimer

Early on in our SSD coverage, Benchmark Reviews published an article which detailed Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing. The research and discussion that went into producing that article changed the way we now test SSD products. Our previous perceptions of this technology were lost on one particular difference: the wear leveling algorithm that makes data a moving target. Without conclusive linear bandwidth testing or some other method of total-capacity testing, our previous performance results were rough estimates at best.

Our test results were obtained after each SSD had been prepared using DISKPART or Sanitary Erase tools. As a word of caution, applications such as these offer immediate but temporary restoration of original 'pristine' performance levels. In our tests, we discovered that the maximum performance results (charted) would decay as subsequent tests were performed. SSDs attached to TRIM enabled Operating Systems will benefit from continuously refreshed performance, whereas older O/S's will require a garbage collection (GC) tool to avoid 'dirty NAND' performance degradation.

It's critically important to understand that no software for the Microsoft Windows platform can accurately measure SSD performance in a comparable fashion. Synthetic benchmark tools such as HD Tach and PCMark are helpful indicators, but should not be considered the ultimate determining factor. That factor should be measured in actual user experience of real-world applications. Benchmark Reviews includes both bandwidth benchmarks and application speed tests to present a conclusive measurement of product performance.

SSD Testing Methodology

Solid State Drives have traveled a long winding course to finally get where they are today. Up to this point in technology, there have been several key differences separating Solid State Drives from magnetic rotational Hard Disk Drives. While the DRAM-based buffer size on desktop HDDs has recently reached 64 MB and is ever-increasing, there is still a hefty delay in the initial response time. This is one key area in which flash-based Solid State Drives continually dominates because they lack moving parts to "get up to speed".

However the benefits inherent to SSDs have traditionally fallen off once the throughput begins, even though data reads or writes are executed at a high constant rate whereas the HDD tapers off in performance. This makes the average transaction speed of a SSD comparable to the data burst rate mentioned in HDD tests, albeit usually lower than the HDD's speed.

Comparing a Solid State Disk to standard Hard Disk Drives is always relative; even if you're comparing the fastest rotational spindle speeds. One is going to be many times faster in response (SSDs), while the other is usually going to have higher throughput bandwidth (HDDs). Additionally, there are certain factors which can affect the results of a test which we do our best to avoid.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 (Intel X58-Express)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-920 BX80601920 @ 2.667 GHz
  • System Memory: 6GB Triple-Channel DDR3 1600MHz CL6-6-6-18
  • SATA 3Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel ICH10R Controller
    • AHCI mode - Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 10.1.0.1008
  • SATA 6Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Marvell SE9128 Controller
    • AHCI mode - Marvell Magni Driver Marvell Magni Driver 1.0.0.1036
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-Bit

Storage Hardware Tested

The following storage hardware has been used in our benchmark performance testing, and may be included in portions of this article:

Test Tools

  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.5.3784.37609: Multi-purpose speed and operational performance test
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46: Spot-tests static file size chunks for basic I/O bandwidth
  • Iometer 2008.06.28 by Intel Corporation: Tests IOPS performance and I/O response time
  • Lavalys EVEREST Ultimate Edition 5.50: Disk Benchmark component tests linear read and write bandwidth speeds
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.0 by Crystal Dew World: Sequential speed benchmark spot-tests various file size chunks

Test Results Disclaimer

This article utilizes benchmark software tools to produce operational IOPS performance and bandwidth speed results. Each test was conducted in a specific fashion, and repeated for all products. These test results are not comparable to any other benchmark application, neither on this website or another, regardless of similar IOPS or MB/s terminology in the scores. The test results in this project are only intended to be compared to the other test results conducted in identical fashion for this article.



 

Comments 

 
# Cache sizeAthlonite 2011-03-29 04:26
Why are HDD manufacturers still # footing around with less than 256MB caches on bloody large HDD's when for an extra 3~5 dollars they could be putting 256 or more MegaBytes of DDR2 Ram on there as cache
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# RE: Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651ASRahul 2011-03-29 05:44
I think that Olin Coles does not know that all the P67 boards equipped with the UEFI BIOS can run 2.19+ TB hard drives natively with a supported OS like Linux, Vista, 7 etc.
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# RE: RE: Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651ASDavid Ramsey 2011-03-29 07:13
Olin does know this. You did read the part about "XP-safe software solution", right?
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# RE: RE: Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651ASOlin Coles 2011-03-29 08:57
Actually Rahul , I installed this hard drive on an ASUS P8P67 EVO motherboard that has the UEFI and used Windows 7 64-bit OS, and it could not format the entire 3TB... only 2.19TB. So there, try doing some research before you come online to troll.

Also, UEFI replaced the BIOS, so a "UEFI BIOS" doesn't exist; only UEFI.
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# RE: Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651ASRahul 2011-03-30 04:44
*These four sites claim that UEFI enabled or LGA1155 6 Series Chipset Motherboards support Hard Drives upto 9.4 Zettabytes or 10335409301094 Gigabytes ....
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# RE: RE: Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651ASOlin Coles 2011-03-30 13:57
If you initialize any hard drive with a MBR (master boot record), it will not see more than 2.19 TB. If you initialize it with GPD (GUID Partition Table), which is available in Windows 7, it will see more than 2.2 TB. It really has nothing to do with the UEFI or chipset.
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# RE: RahulAustin Downing 2011-03-30 15:46
Actually the only thing UEFI did was make it so that systems could boot off of GPT partitions. Perhaps before bashing people who write these articles you should actually do some research of your own.
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# RE: Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651ASdanwat1234 2011-07-30 14:49
Sincerely Hoping Hitachi or Seagate make a 5-platter version of this with 1TB/platter before the end of 2011! It'll bring storage prices down across the board!
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