Next up is PCMark05 from FutureMark Corp. We specifically used only the HDD Test module of this benchmark suite to evaluate all the drives we tested versus the new 750GB Barracuda ES. We consulted Futuremark's white paper on PCMark05 for an understanding of what this test component entails and how it calculates its measurements.
Courtesy, Futuremark Corp. -
For these tests, we use RankDisk, an application developed and copyrighted by Intel. In our testing, we found RankDisk to be suitable for a neutral benchmark. RankDisk is used to record a trace of disk activity during usage of typical applications. These traces can then be replayed to measure the performance of disk operations for that usage. RankDisk records disk access events using the device drivers and bypasses the file system and the operating system's cache. This makes the measurement independent of the file system overhead or the current state of the operating system. In replaying traces, RankDisk always creates and operates on a new "dummy" file. This file is created in the same (or closest possible) physical location of the target hard disk. This allows the replaying of traces to be safe (does not destroy any existing files) and comparable across different systems. The traces contain different amount of writing and reading on the disk; total ratio in the HDD test suite disk operations is 53% reads and 47% of writes. The following input traces are used:
Windows XP Startup: This is the Windows XP start trace, which contains disk activities occurring at operating system start-up. The test is 90% reading and 10% writes. This trace contains no user activity.
General Hard Disk Drive Usage: This trace contains disk activities from using several common applications.
- Opening a Microsoft Word document, performing grammar check, saving and closing
- Compression and decompression using Winzip
- Encrypting and decrypting a file using PowerCrypt
- Scanning files for viruses using F-Secure Antivirus.
- Playing an MP3 file with Winamp
- Playing a WAV file with Winamp
- Playing a DivX video using DivX codec and Windows Media Player
- Playing a WMV video file using Windows Media Player
- Viewing pictures using Windows Picture Viewer
- Browsing the internet using Microsoft Internet Explorer
- Loading, playing and exiting a game using UbisoftTM Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
The General Usage trace is 60% reads and 40% writes.
Virus Scanning: Virus scanning is a critical task in today's PC usage. As the major bottleneck of scanning viruses is in hard disk activity, it is reasonable to include virus scanning as a HDD test. The test consists of HDD activity of scanning 600MB of files for viruses. The Virus Scanning test is mostly disk reading (99.5%).
Despite being beaten by the Western Digital WD5000KS in terms of XP startup and General Usage scores, the Barracuda ES is able to dominate the intensive Virus Scan test. Overall, the crop of tests here illustrates that the enterprise Barracuda ES is simply average in terms of XP Startup scores. With regards to General Usage scores the Seagate drive managed to turn in one of the best scores of the group. Overall, it is hard to find fault in the total performance offered by the Barracuda ES.
As illustrated above, the two drives which dominated PCMark05's tests were easily the Western Digital WD5000KS and Seagate Barracuda ES. Given the enormous advantage in the Virus Scan test, it would have been interesting to see what kind of total score the Seagate drive could have earned with better results in XP Startup and General Usage. In either case, the drive's performance cannot be faulted in any respect.