by Rob Williams on May 8, 2013 in Storage
With our ever-increasing need for storage, 4TB models couldn’t be more tempting. On the scale of temptation, though, one drive is placed higher than all the others: Seagate’s Desktop HDD.15. There’s one good reason for that: it costs less than $200. We hear you – it sounds crazy. Let’s dig in and find out if it really is.
One of the best-known storage benchmarking tools is HD Tune, as it’s easy to run, covers a wide-range of testing scenarios, and can do other things such as test for errors, provides SMART information and so forth. For our testing with the program, we run the default benchmark which gives us a minimum, average and maximum speeds along with an access time result, and also the Random Access test, which gives us IOPS information.
It’s cases like this where the benefits of having beefier platters over faster spindle speeds works out to a drive’s favor (but of course, both would be best). WD’s Black 2TB uses 500GB platters vs. 1TB, which allows Seagate’s drive to deliver better performance despite its 5,900 RPM speeds.
On the other side of the coin, the larger platters do nothing to improve latencies when there are four of them for the head to traverse. In this case, Seagate’s drive clocked in at 17ms versus 5.5ms (read) and 12ms (write) for the Black. Compared to the other 5×00 RPM drives, Seagate’s performs as we’d expect.
Here’s where things get a bit interesting. In our read test, Seagate’s drive cleans house – easily. It slots right in behind WD’s VelociRaptor. Really. The performance isn’t quite as impressive though with regards to the writes IOPS. Seagate has clearly tuned this drive for 64KB operations (which for a drive of this size I completely agree with) – so for the best performance, make sure you format it as such, unless you really need 4KB clusters (eg: if you insist on installing an OS to the drive).