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Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB Hard Drive
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Western Digital
Source: Western Digital
Purchase: PriceGrabber
Comment or Question: Post Here
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Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB Hard Drive
August 28, 2007


A handful of synthetic and real world benchmarks were conducted on the Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB Hard Drive using a system with the following key components:

ASUS K8N-DL NVIDIA nForce4 Professional motherboard
2x Opteron 270 processors with Thermalright Ultra-90 coolers
6x 512MB HP Branded PC3200 DDR REG memory
1x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB SATA 3 Gbps hard drive
1x Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB SATA 3 Gbps hard drive
256 MB HIS IceQ X1300XT Turbo PCIe graphics card
500W Enermax Liberty power supply
Windows XP Professional SP2 (with all current patches & drivers)

From the list of installed components we see that the system has two Seagate drives installed; these will be used for comparison purposes while testing the Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS, and should provide a good point of reference. The 750GB Barracuda 7200.10 was the first 750GB drive on the market and has extremely similar specifications to Western Digital's offering. The 500GB Barracuda 7200.9 is from a previous generation, and while it does offer SATA 3 Gbps transfer rates, it does not utilize perpendicular recording technology.

In order to prepare the drives for testing, several things were done first. All drives were formatted to have one partition equal to the maximum capacity of the drive, the contents of each drive were made identical thanks to being cloned by Acronis True Image 10, the drives were all defragmented prior to testing, and the system was rebooted between every test executed.

The tests to be conducted on the Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS drive and the two reference drives include the tests listed below:

HD Tach RW - Quick Bench
SiSoft Sandra XI - File Systems Benchmark
PC Wizard 2007 - Hard Disk Benchmark
Real World Testing:
    Windows Start Up and Shut Down Times
    Thermal Testing
    Noise Analysis

HD Tach RW - HD Tach is a hard drive specific benchmark that provides four key pieces of information regarding the drive being tested. The chart below details the reported CPU usage, the access time, the average read speed, and the burst (maximum) speed of the three drives. Lower values are desirable for CPU usage and access time, while higher values are better for average read speed and burst speed.

The CPU usage and access time values are about equal across the board, so no drive outshined the other in the first half of this benchmark. When it comes to the average read speed and the burst speed, the 750GB drives from Seagate and Western Digital really distinguish themselves in one category each. While the Seagate drive is capable of a burst speed of over 30 MB/s more than the Western Digital drive, the tables are turned when it comes to average read speed. The Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS provided an average read speed of 80.1 MB/s, which was over 20% higher than the Barracuda 7200.10 was capable of.

The discrepancy in these two speed values in the HD Tach benchmark seemed hard to believe, so I ran the test a few more times to confirm the results. While a high burst speed is impressive on paper, the Western Digital drive wins this round based on the real world boost that a high average read speed would offer.

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