Warp 9.9: 7200.10 Vs. Raptor HDs

Every Enthusiast's Hard Drive Dreams

The two top gun hard drives on enthusiast desktops are the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 series facing off against the Western Digital Raptor. Although the largest of each type of drive retails for about the same amount, just over $200, they could hardly be more different.

Western Digital Raptor

Capacity: 150GB

Average Latency: 2.99ms

Average Seek Time: 4.6ms

Average Write Time: 5.2ms

Read Seek Time: 4.5ms

Cache: 16MB

Speed: 10,000 RPM

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10

Capacity: 750GB

Average Latency: 4.16ms

Average Seek Time: 8.5ms

Average Write Time: 10ms

Read Seek Time: 11ms

Cache: 16MB

Speed: 7200 RPM

So we have a smaller but clearly faster drive in the Raptor being pitted against a much larger but slower drive in the Barracuda. The Read Seek Time of the Barracuda is nearly three times slower than the Raptor. The differences in capacity are even more enormous as about the same money will buy you five times as much storage capacity in the Seagate as in the Western Digital. Is the speed difference worth lopping off 600GB?

Hard drive speed is critical in almost all computer functions. Even the fastest CPU can be slowed down by a sluggish hard drive. That's why speediest hard drives are the consumer's choice in the high-end enthusiast, prosumer and gamer markets.

The test lab at Anandtech put these two hard drives up against each other in a series of performance evaluations lasting over 240 hours, a complete torture test designed to push each drive to the limit.

The test descriptions are as follows:

PCMark05

File Write: 100% write activities by writing 680MB of files onto the hard disk.

XP Startup: 90% reads and 10% writes to track Windows XP activities at startup.

App. Load: 83% reads and 17% writes to track the opening and closing of:

3Dmark 2001SE

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Leadtek Winfast DVD

Microsoft Word

Mozilla Internet Browser

Windows Media Player

General Use: 60% reads and 40% writes to track application usage through the functions of:

Browsing the Internet using Microsoft Internet Explorer

Compression and decompression using WinZip

Encrypting and decrypting a file using PowerCrypt

Loading, playing and exiting a game with Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

Opening a Microsoft Word document, performing grammar check, saving and closing.

Playing a DivX video using DivX codec and Windows Media Player

Playing a WAV file with Winamp

Playing a WMV video file using Windows Media Player

Playing an MP3 file with Winamp

Scanning files for viruses using F-Secure Antivirus

Viewing pictures using Windows Picture Viewer

Virus Scan: 99.5% read operations to track the virus scanning of 600MB of varied files.

IPEAK

Bus Winstone: Trace file an entire test suite containing: Microsoft Office XP, WinZip 8.1, and Norton Antivirus 2003.

CC Winstone: Trace file an entire test suite containing: Adobe Photoshop 7.01, Macromedia Director MX 9.0, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9.0, Newtek Lightwave 3D 7.5b, and others.

AVG Antivirus: Trace file of the full antivirus scan.

Win Defrag: Trace file of the full defragmentation process on Windows XP.

WinRAR 602 & Dec.: Trace file the creation of one compressed folder consisting of 444 files in 10 different folders totaling 602MB. The first part of the test compresses the files and the second decompresses them.

DVD Read & Write: Individual trace files to transfer the Office Space DVD files (29 files, 7.55GB) to a source drive and transferring the files back to the test drive.

DVD Capture: An AnyDVD 5.9.6 trace file of the time it takes to "rip" the Office Space DVD.

DVD Shrink: A Nero Recode 2 trace file of the time it takes to shrink the entire Office Space DVD into one 4.5GB DVD image.

PVR Capture: Trace file of the time required to capture and record Chapter 11 of Office Space with a NVIDIA DualTV MCE tuner card while playing Chapter 10 through PowerDVD 6.

Audio Encode: Trace file of the time required for Nero Digital Audio to extract all 16 tracks from INXS Greatest Hits CD and convert them into mp4 format while capturing/recording Chapter 11 of Office Space with an NVIDIA tuner card.

Game Install - Battlefield 2, Oblivion and Sims 2. Trace files of the time required to install these games.

Game Play - Battlefield 2, Oblivion and Sims 2. Trace files of the startup and 15 minutes of gameplay.

Although the Barracuda consistently scored below the Raptor, the differences were not as high as I would have first believed. The Barracuda held its own in almost all tests, and actually beat the Raptor in the DVD Shrink and WinRAR 602MB file tests.

The dream system for many enthusiasts would be to have both a Raptor and a Barracuda in their systems. This way the C: boot partition and all applications could reside on the faster Raptor and there would still be a massive three-quarters of a Terabyte of storage space on the Barracuda for all the multimedia files you can throw at it. However, not all systems are budgeted to carry almost $500 of hard drives alone. That's too bad. I'd love to configure my next system that way. Hmm... I wonder what I need to scrimp on to afford those drives...

 

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