AMD Athlon 64 FX-62, Asus Crosshair motherboard (nForce 590 SLI), 2x 1GB Corsair XMS2-8500C5 (operating in dual channel at 800MHz 3-3-3-9-1T), BFG Tech GeForce 7900 GT OC, 200GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 SATA hard drive (OS install + source files), Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, nForce 590 SLI drivers version 9.35, Forceware 93.71 WHQL.
- Seagate 160GB 2.5" Portable Hard Drive; 5,400 RPM, 8MB Cache – plugged into USB 2.0 port on rear I/O panel;
- Hitachi 60GB 2.5" Portable Hard Drive; 4,200 RPM, 8MB Cache – plugged into USB 2.0 port on rear I/O panel;
- 400GB Seagate USB 2.0 External Hard Drive; 7,200 RPM, 16MB Cache – plugged into USB 2.0 port on rear I/O panel;
- 500GB Seagate eSATA External Hard Drive; 7,200 RPM, 16MB Cache – plugged into Promise eSATA300 TX2 disk controller;
- 200GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 SATA Hard Drive; 7,200 RPM, 8MB Cache – plugged into nForce 590 SLI disk controller.
We did a clean install of Windows XP before formatting all of the test drives using NTFS. Following the OS install and hard drive formats, we copied our source files to the 200GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 hard drive with our OS installed and then ran the Windows Disk Defragmenter on all drives.
In order to maintain good benchmarking practice, each test was run five times with the highest and lowest scores discarded – the remaining three results were averaged. We ran the tests in a loop (HDTach, Large File Read/Write, Small File Read/Write) – we rebooted the system after each test to ensure that it was in the same condition every time.
HD Tach 18.104.22.168
We used HD Tach’s 8MB Zone test to record the following results.
Overall the Seagate 2.5" 160GB portable disk is better than a Seagate 400GB 3.5" Barracuda 7,200 RPM over the same USB 2.0 connection. Performance compared to the other USB disks is, on average, very good, but the disk is limited by its USB 2.0 connection where eSATA is clearly designed to provide far more bandwidth.