Solid-state may be the future of our storage, but for now, the prices for the latest SSD’s (even value models) is still far too high on the $/GB scale. For those looking for mass storage and still-great speeds, mechanical storage is still on top, and WD’s latest VelociRaptor’s, which utilize SATA 3.0, sit comfortably above all the rest.
Synthetic: PCMark Vantage
There are few PC enthusiasts who are unfamiliar with the name “Futuremark”, as the Finland-based developer has been producing quality benchmarks to help us gauge our computer’s worth for years. Originally known as Madonion, Futuremark has expanded its focus to go beyond its bread and butter, graphics and gaming, and tackle other areas, such as full system performance. That’s where PCMark comes into play.
The company’s most recent addition to the PCMark family is Vantage. For most users, a full suite would be run, but because we’re focused on storage performance only, we instead run only the HDD-specific tests. Fortunately, Futuremark makes this easy for us to do as it has split up the entire suite into seven separate sub-tests, one being the aptly named “HDD Suite”.
PCMark’s HDD Suite may look simple on the surface, but it’s actually quite exhaustive. While the benchmark does deliver a simple “overall” result, it actually tests I/O performance based on a variety of scenarios, from adding music to Windows Media Player, to loading applications in succession, to editing video, to running a malware scanner, and more. It even includes metrics to evaluate a simulated Windows Vista boot time, so Futuremark has done a fine job of combining many useful scenarios into a single button press.
Clearly the VelociRaptor is the king of mechanical storage in Vantage testing. With Western Digital claiming a 15% increase in speed over previous generations I have no doubt that the company delivered. No matter what the critics say, there is no question to whether or not these drives are still relevant.