Test Setup -
Not too much to say about the test platform except it is generally fast and we are utilizing Vista 64 SP1 as our OS of choice now.  This platform is slightly different from our standard test bed as we are in the process of comparing our NVIDIA based setup to the Intel X48 for future drive articles. However, performance differences between the two platforms were within 1% of each other so the numbers are comparable to previous results.
Quick Tests -
We are providing PCMark Vantage results today along with initial acoustic and thermal results.  The details about the PCMark Vantage HD suite tests and how results are determined can be located hereOur acoustic tests measure the decibel levels while the system is at idle and under load while running the Hard Disk test suite within PCMark Vantage.  We take measurements at a distance of 5mm from the rear and front of the drive in a separate enclosure.  The test room has a base acoustical level of 20dB(A).
Our thermal tests utilize sensor readings via the S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) capability of the drives as reported by utilizing the Active SMART 2.6 utility. We also utilize thermal sensors and infrared measurement devices to verify our utility results. We test our drives in an enclosed case environment.  Our base temperature level in the room at the time of testing is 24C.
The drive makes a good showing in the PCMark Vantage tests that basically simulate real-world performance patterns utilizing a variety of actual applications.  However, we expected more from the 320GB per-platter technology and it appears the high random access times is a culprit to some degree in a couple of the individual tests.  The WD drive compared favorably in performance to one of our favorite drive choices, the Samsung HD501LJ, except in the Windows Media Center tests where the Samsung exhibited exceptional results.  Scores that in our own off-line DVD (HD/SD) application benchmark testing showed similar results.
As far as acoustic and thermal testing, this drive has the best results outside of Western Digital's own GreenPower series in these particular tests.  Even during heavy seeks, noise levels remained muted and at idle the drive's acoustical footprint was near silent.  As much as we like the Samsung drive for HTPC duties, we would give a slight nod to the WD drive at this time based on acoustics and the fact that its video/audio performance in actual applications is still very good.
In actual application testing (results not shown) the drive has performed slightly better than the Samsung drive in areas such as program loading and digital image manipulation.  The drive is on equal footing with the Samsung in gaming and compression tests but falls behind slightly in our video/audio tests.  However, the differences are minor in all cases with no "actual" differences in performance being noted during application usage. This drive does excel in providing excellent acoustics and thermals and as such should be considered for situations where these attributes are important to the user. 
In the end, our expectations before testing the drive were high as we thought the 320GB per-platter technology would provide a measurable performance difference compared to current drives with 167GB~200GB per-platter designs.  There are some differences in early testing but not enough of a difference for us to declare the drive a winner yet (unless you need a high performance silent drive).  That will have to wait for direct comparisons to the latest drive technologies from Western Digital's competitors, something we will have for you in the coming weeks.
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  • USAF1 - Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - link

    I just scored two WD6400AAKS drives from Newegg. Sweet...

  • iluv2fly - Sunday, March 9, 2008 - link

    The WD6400AAKS-00A7B is very fast with no access time problems at all.

    Here are the Benchmarks.

    HD Tune 3.00 read transfer rate

    Minimum 51.1 MB/sec

    Maximum 108.4 MB/sec

    Average 87.6 MB/sec

    Access time 12.5ms

    Burst rate 90.2 MB/sec

    CPU usage 9.5%

    It near silent and cool running.

    After partitioning the drive in Windows Vista there will be 595GB left of the original 640gb.

    Just a thought. Looking at HD tune benchmark graph. The drive does not loose much transfer rate over the first 30% of the drive. The first 30% shows a transfer rate of 108-98 MB/sec. So if you only make a 200gb partition, the drive will be faster than a 150GB Raptor except for the access time.

    I made 2 partitions. One 195gb for windows and my favorite games and one 400gb for storage. I have never had a faster computer!

  • - Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - link

    I'd like to see some comparison of XP64bit vs Vista64. SP1 has been delayed (yanked that is) and shows no signs of performance improvement anyway (if betas are to be believe there is no improvement). So why can't we look to something that has been 64bit for quite a bit longer and should have better drivers to boot? How about some XP64 testing for a change? If nothing else it should drive traffic to the site (isn't that the point of a website?) just because NOBODY else is doing XP64bit vs. Vista64. Why no love for XP64? With only 18% of Steampowererd.com using Vista why test in it? I don't really care if it ships on a PC when people run home and format and install XP. Shouldn't we see testing in the OS that 80% of the people use? Why cater to 18% of the market? Most of those people still have Vista because they don't know how to format and install XP (ok, maybe 1/2 of those people actually want that OS and like it). Until they remove DRM garbage and fix networking this OS sucks. Don't even get me started on application problems (SP1 BROKE 3rd party apps like Trend Micro for example). Search google for this for a complete rundown: vista sp1 3rd party apps

    I just want to know, is it work going to XP64bit for my 6GB to show up in XP? Or are we stuck with Vista? Do games run as faster or faster in XP64bit as they do in XP32?
  • Justin Case - Saturday, February 23, 2008 - link

    The screenshots seem to be from HDTach RW, so why didn't Anadtech run the STR test on _all_ disk sectors, instead of using the "zones" approximation (the graph is clearly that of a "zoned" test, not a full one)? Sure, it can take over one hour, but can't you spare more than 5 minutes for an article that's going to be read by thousands of people?

    Running a full test (2 or 3 times) is the only way to spot drives that ship with remapped sectors (ie, some sectors already mapped to the spares, in a non-sequential way), which can cause problems in high-performance situations (such as video servers).

    Western Digital's 400 GB "RE" drives had lots of problems with that. The 500 GB "RE2" were better but some still came with remapped sectors. These show up as (consistent) "dips" in a full STR test (as done by HD Tach RW and WB99, for example), but won't be noticeable in a "zoned" test (which is the only kind available in the free version of HD Tach, and most other benchmarks).

  • Makaveli - Saturday, February 23, 2008 - link

    16ms x 4 = 30 seconds?

    Last I knew

    1 second = 1,000 milliseconds

    unless my math is off.
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    You forgot the 29 seconds due to sarcasm. Sheesh that post was about as obvious as it gets....
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    Oh, and the fact that the rest of his reply was completely inaccurate. Actually the only thing in his post that wasn't "wrong" was his joke about the 30 seconds. On second thought, taking into consideration how poor his post was, you may be right. :) He could be serious...
  • FXi - Saturday, February 23, 2008 - link

    Oh were is a Raptor based on this platter tech????


    People have been dyin for a larger raptor, perhaps even a 15k model for a while. There are 15k SAS drives aplenty in the 300 area, so this should be "doable" at 10k easy, and 15k with some work.
  • GregMuller - Saturday, February 23, 2008 - link

    Here is the first Review of a Samsung SpinPoint F1 with 320 Gbyte (HD322HJ, 1 Platter wird 334 Gbyte!) worldwide!

  • Rusin - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link


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