Maxtor's MaXLine III 250GB: Bringing 16MB Buffers and NCQ to Hard Drivesby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 25, 2004 12:03 AM EST
- Posted in
The TestYou'll notice that the hard drive test bed has been modified a bit to use a motherboard based on the Intel 925X chipset with ICH6. Luckily, the performance difference between this setup and our last test bed is negligible; thus, the numbers are entirely comparable. To make sure, we also ran some old tests on the new test bed and the numbers came out with less than 1% variation in performance; definitely nothing major at all.
We also tested other hard drives with and without IAA 4.0 installed to make sure that we were only getting the benefits of NCQ and no other optimizations by installing the drivers. The performance of all other drives, without NCQ support, was identical regardless of whether or not we had IAA 4.0 installed.
Our hard drive test bed is designed to shift the bottlenecks, as much as possible, onto the hard drive, but while still within reason. To accomplish that purpose, our test bed is configured as follows:
Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz
Intel D925XCV Motherboard
1GB DDR2-533 SDRAM
ATI Radeon X800 Pro PCI Express
Creative Labs Audigy
Ultra ATA/100 or Serial ATA 150 cables were used where appropriate
The important drivers used are as follows:
Intel Chipset INF 220.127.116.112
Intel Application Accelerator 4.0
ATI Catalyst 4.6 Beta (with PCI Express support)
Windows XP Service Pack 1 (no further updates were installed)
What's important to point out is that although we could have outfitted our test bed with 256MB of memory, we wanted to avoid over-exaggerating the performance impact of the hard drive. After all, if your system is swapping to disk a lot, you should be considering a memory upgrade before or in tandem with a hard drive upgrade.
The tests that we run are as follows:
Business Winstone IPEAK - a playback test of all of the IO operations that occur within Business Winstone 2004.
Content Creation IPEAK - a playback test of all of the IO operations that occur within Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004.
Business Winstone 2004 - the official Business Winstone 2004 test suite.
Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004 - the official Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004 test suite.
SYSMark 2004 - the official SYSMark 2004 test suite.
Far Cry Level Load Test - a timed test of loading a level in Far Cry.
Unreal Tournament 2004 Level Load Test - a timed test of loading a level in Unreal Tournament 2004.
More details about each individual test will appear in the section of the review dedicated to that particular test.
For this particular review, we also used the Multitasking Test of Business Winstone 2004 to see if there was any performance improvement due to NCQ.
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araczynski - Friday, June 25, 2004 - linkyawn,
if ncqprice <= raptorprice then
ncqproduct = possiblesuccess
whocares = 1
I would say forget the spinning crap alltogether, why aren't we advnacing the solid state field storage? like that HyperDrive3 thing mentioned on the forums, THAT'S something to drool about.
Da3dalus - Friday, June 25, 2004 - linkI wanna see a Raptor with that 16MB buffer ;)
I'm not gonna put a Maxtor drive in my comp again no matter what they come up with, bad previous experiences...
Demon - Friday, June 25, 2004 - linkThe Seagate 7200.7 does support NCQ.
"The Barracuda 7200.7 is the industry's first hard drive family capable of supporting SATA Native Command Queuing (NCQ)"
apriest - Friday, June 25, 2004 - link#4, I believe the drive has to support NCQ as well. Doesn't the Raptor support NCQ though?
Zar0n - Friday, June 25, 2004 - linkWhy did u not benchmark Seagate 7200.7 with NCQ enabled?
1GB of ram? Most users have 256mb or 512mb.
What is the technical explanation for some many tests being slower with NCQ?
AnnoyedGrunt - Friday, June 25, 2004 - linkHmmm, I thought the conclusion in this article gave too much credit to NCQ as far as boosting performance. It helped in one test which has significant multi-tasking, and that is by no means a bad thing, but I do wonder how often that scenario would arise. It seems to me that the human operating the computer would have a hard time keeping that many activities occuring @ the same time. Also, the Hitachi drive (as well as the other 7200 RPM drives) were all usually quite close in performance to the new Maxtor. Finally, in the game loading tests, the Raptor still had a significant lead, which is somewhat dissapointing for me since that is my main concern and I was hoping the Maxtor would do better in that arena.
Well, I'll check out the storagereview article to see how that turned out.
Sivar - Friday, June 25, 2004 - linkHmm. The results using a Promise TCQ controller were quite different (See StorageReview.com's latest review).
Jeff7181 - Friday, June 25, 2004 - linkWell it had to happen sometime... competition for the Raptor.