Decreased access times
almost always yield greater scores in the IOMeter
indices, normalized averages of tests that heavily stress random accesses. The lower access times delivered through disabling AAM accelerate the Barracuda ATA IV's IOMeter indices by 6% in File Server
patterns and by nearly 8% in the Database
pattern. These improvements allow the 'Cuda to best Maxtor's DiamondMax Plus 60
across the board though its scores still don't approach that of IBM's Deskstar 60GXP
or even the Caviar WD1000BB
Speaking of WD drives, the WD1000BB-SE's larger buffer doesn't yield it any increases in our Workstation or Database indices... unsurprising considering IOMeter's more random nature. Interestingly, however, the BB-SE realizes a small 4% gain over the BB in the File Server Index.
Regular SR readers may have noticed that we've been deemphasizing IOMeter's relative weight in rendering comparative judgments, especially in the case of ATA drives. Why the change? Though our most noticeable activities consist of reviews on hard drives, optical drives, and controllers, much research occurs behind the scenes that never makes publication. Recently these studies have turned to the evaluation of more modern and accurate methodologies to compliment SR's "Testbed3," a project that aims to deploy identical test systems for our three separate review categories. Updated hardware, operating systems, benchmarks, and methodologies will accompany Testbed3. Research indicates that for single-user systems, the ancient WinBench 99 may still hold a lot of merit as an accurate barometer of performance. In addition, these studies have turned in some useful prototypes of measures that will be incorporated in our future testbeds. Let's take a look at one of these tests: IPEAK's RankDisk.