There are many programs on the market to test hard drives. Personally I would love to use every single one of them in testing, but don't think I could keep you interested for 30 pages of benchmarks. In the past every hard drive was the same; you had cache, platter speed, platter density and interface, boom, bing, bam, run the tests write it up and call it a day.
Solid state drives (SSDs) are now on the market and just about everyone reading this either owns one or wants to own at least one. When a new SSD review is published the TweakTown servers kick into turbo mode and millions of readers come to get their fix. What most people don't realize is just how touchy these drives can be to test and how easily the tests results can be ruined. If you run a test out of order your results when compared to other drives can be skewed. Windows 7 makes testing even more difficult; in the past you could start testing, take off to get lunch and finish when you returned. With Windows 7 the trim command can take off and return the drive to near its new state invalidating your results for the remainder of the tests. Because of this a strict testing method must be used to keep the playing field level so it is possible to compare one drive to another.
Today we are going to walk through the testing procedure for storage here at TweakTown. There are a few categories that will be covered; SSDs, HDDs, RAID controllers, NAS servers and DAS servers. Since our previous AMD Opteron workstation was starting to run into performance issues with the latest round of ultra high performance SSDs, we have built a new workstation and want to thank a few of the companies responsible for helping to get the parts together.
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