PCMark Vantage HDD
Next we ran the drives through a battery of tests in PCMark Vantage from Futuremark Corp. We specifically used only the HDD Test module of this benchmark suite to evaluate all of the drives we tested. Feel free to consult Futuremark's white paper on PCMark Vantage for an understanding of what each test component entails and how it calculates its measurements. For specific information on how the HDD Test module arrives at its performance measurements, we'd encourage you to read pages 35 and 36 (PDF) of the white paper.
We really like PCMark Vantage's HDD Performance for its real-world application measurement approach to testing. From simple Windows Vista start-up performance to data streaming from a disk drive in a game engine and video editing with Windows Movie Maker, we feel confident that these tests best illustrate the real performance profile of a HDD in an end user/consumer PC usage model.
Of all the formal benchmarks that we use, the PCMark Vantage HDD tests come closest to representing real-world, application data-transfers by modeling real-world usage scenarios. But even with this type of real-world modeling, the level of performance we've seen so far from our more synthetic tests still doesn't budge. On PCMark Vantage's first four HDD tests, the WD RE4 2TB still maintains its performance-leading crown. The WD Caviar Black 2TB and 1TB drives, as well as the Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB and Seagate Constellation ES 2TB drives, also put in a strong showing. Yet again, the Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB has the best overall performance of the general-purpose drives.