|Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Hard Drive ST33000651AS|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 28 March 2011|
Page 9 of 11
Short Stroke Disk Performance
Not everyone is willing to make the leap into solid state technology, and with so many SSD failures resulting in catastrophic data loss there's still good reason to invest in a hard drive for your personal computer. Even so, there's an obvious difference in the overall performance you can expect between the two. The Seagate Barracuda XT series is designed for performance enthusiasts such as gamers, as well as small server systems. Enthusiast tools such as the free Seagate SeaTools software allows the user to custom-define firmware parameters to enable performance features such as 'Short Stroke'. With more capacity than a person might even realistically use, the 3TB Seagate Barracuda XT hard drive presents the ideal Short Stroke opportunity.
The EVEREST Disk Benchmark performs linear read and write bandwidth tests on each drive, and can be configured to use file chunk sizes up to 1MB (which speeds up testing and minimizes jitter in the waveform). Because of the full sector-by-sector nature of linear testing, mechanical storage products suffer a lower average bandwidth as the capacity draws linear read/write speed down into the inner-portion of the disk platter. In this particular example, we've demonstrated disk read/write speeds where only the outer-most portion is utilized.
All storage products tested with EVEREST Disk Benchmark are connected to the Intel ICH10 controller and use a 1MB block size option. Measuring the outer 15% of the 3TB Seagate Barracuda XT hard drive, which amounts to approximately 420 GB, the ST33000651AS model peaked at 166 MB/s read and write while averaging 154 MB/s. Partitioning the drive to use the outer portions will result in much faster performance than the inner sectors, and 154-166 MB/s is very close to the speeds of an average SSD.
Linear tests are an important tool for comparing bandwidth speed between storage products - although HDD products suffer performance degradation over the span of their areal storage capacity. Linear bandwidth certainly benefits the Solid State Drive, since there's very little fluctuation in transfer speed. This is because Hard Disk Drive products decline in performance as the spindle reaches the inner-most sectors on the magnetic platter, away from the fast outer edge.
In the next section I share my final thoughts on the struggle between SSD and HDD technology, as well as their new hybrid counterpart, before delivering my conclusion and final product rating.