The testing consisted of both synthetic and real-world benchmarking utilities to give us an overall idea as to how it performed. Tests used include SiSoft Sandra 2001se, HD Tach, and Ziff Davis WinBench99 (version 1.2). Although SiSoft has a newer version out, I stayed with the "se" version since it was the same one that I used for the Western Digital and IBM drives that I'll be using as a comparison.
The test system consisted of:
AMD Thunderbird 1000 @ 1333
256MB Crucial PC133 CAS2 SDRAM
Creative Annihilator II GeForce2 GTS
The drives used for comparison:
Western Digital 20GB 7200 RPM ATA-66
IBM 40GB 7200 RPM ATA-100
Granted, both of these drives are rated at 7200 RPM, but this testing is to see whether or not a 5400 RPM drive would have a chance in a Power System. Unfair? You might be surprised.
SiSoft Sandra 2001
SiSoft Sandra runs nothing more than a synthetic benchmark, but it gives us an overall idea as to the basic performance of the drives. Even though the Seagate has the slowest spindle on the block, it still fared reasonably well when pitted against two drives that run at 7200 RPM.
Again we see that using a bit more intensive benchmarking program like HD Tach, the 5400 RPM drive is still able to remain competitive with it's supposedly faster brethren. While not a total speed demon, its ATA-100 powers are showing that it can at least remain in the same ballpark as the other powerhouses available. I did, however, notice that the 8.9ms access times stated by Seagate were a bit off the mark.
Ziff Davis WinBench99
Now it's time to separate the men from the boys. WinBench 99 takes a series of programs that are used by many high-end systems and rates the drives by their ability to transfer the data from program to disk and back again. It also measures data transfer rates at the beginning and the end of the disk so we can get an idea as to how much speed we can expect to lose when the disk starts to get full. This test is a true torture to hard drives, but will let us see what is hot, and what is not.
Well, about all I can say is that I'm shocked. The Seagate unit took 5 categories while the Superstar IBM took 6. I never would have figured a drive this large, and with a slower spindle speed could keep pace with drives that are supposed to be so much faster. The data transfer speeds were to be expected all around. The Western Digital has the faster spindle speed, but is only an ATA-66 drive. The IBM is both ATA-100 and 7200 RPM, so its domination of that category is no surprise. But the performance in these benchmarking programs is startling.
OK now that we have seen what this drive is all about; let's wrap it all up.