ATA/100 – 5400 RPM vs. 7200 RPM

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Test Results

Now lets see if the data tables give the same conclusion as the graphs above did. I used an AOpen AK73 (A) and an Athlon 900, 128MB of PC133 memory and Windows 98 SE set at 1024×768/16bit @ 85Hz. DMA was enabled for all tests, and standard Windows VIA IDE Busmaster driver was used.

Drive

WD 102BA

WD 100EB

WD 200BB

Mode & Speed

ATA/66 7200 RPM

ATA/100 5400 RPM

ATA/100 7200 RPM

HD Tach

Burst (MB/s)

57.8

76.7

81.2

Random Access (ms)

12.7

16.8

10.9

Read speed – Max (KB/s)

24773

25421

32940

Read Min

17953

15888

24321

Read Avg

22276

19144

25981

Disk Blaster 128MB file MB/s

16.073

15.091

19.663

Winbench 99

Bus Disk

5540

5300

6400

High Disk

16800

15000

19100

Disk Transfer Rate

Beginning K Byte/ Sec

24600

24700

32500

end

16600

17300

33100

Access time – ms

13.7

18.1

11

CPU Utilization – %

1.53

1.69

1.6

Winstone 2001 – Business

34.9

33.7

36.2

Not really the same result, as the application based benchmarks of Winstone and the Winbench disk marks clearly show the ATA/100 5400 RPM drive is not quite as fast as a 7200 RPM ATA/66. Even most of the synthetic tests show the ATA/66 7200 RPM drive a bit faster than the ATA/100 5400 RPM. Winstone is a good example how the disk performance affects the overall system performance, and isn’t that what we are interested in – better system performance? After all, you don’t use a hard disk all by itself, it is part of a system. I also like the Disk Blaster results, falls right in line with the Winbench disk marks

The ATA/66 7200 RPM drive clearly scores better (though not by much) than the ATA/100 5400 RPM in the “realworld” tests – Winstone and Winbench disk marks. To be honest, that’s about what I expected: The ATA/100 7200 RPM drive would be faster then the ATA/66 and the ATA/100 5400 RPM drive would be the slowest. Why? Because even though ATA/100 won’t show any real speed advantage with data larger than the disk buffer (cache), the newer drives are built with newer technology vs. the older ATA/66 units, so they should be faster. The older ATA/66 drive is able to keep up with or exceed the newer ATA/100 5400 RPM drive due to its higher rotational speed of 7200 RPM, while the slower (in RPM) but newer ATA/100 5400 is able to almost keep up with the older ATA/66 due to it’s improved technology.

This just goes to show you that can’t judge a drive purely by its rotational speed or ATA mode alone, they work together along with the technology used to design and build them. Even though individual scores or specifications may be better from drive to drive, it is the sum of all the parts that gives the performance results. So next time someone says a newer 5400 RPM drive is faster than last generations 7200 RPM ATA/66 drive, think twice before believing them, whether it’s a sales person or someone posting on a newsgroup.

Note: I did test just one brand of drives, so results may vary with others, but I would expect in most cases the results will be similar.


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