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SATA-300 a.k.a. SATA-II vs SATA-150 reviews

Posted on 2005-02-26
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Anyone seen any actual reviews that show performance increases of SATA-300 drives over SATA-150?  I have an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe board, and the nVidea SATA Raid controller is supposed to support SATA-II.  I got a pair of Hitachi model HDS728080PLA380 in a RAID-0 setup.  According to the mfr they are SATA-II drives.  I am wondering if I would have been better off to go with a pair of 74GB Raptors (SATA-150).  The Raptor is a much faster drive, but I wonder how much the SATA-II helps?

I talked to a guy at WD that thought they would be upgrading their Raptor drives to SATA-II by year end (2k5).  Now that will be a nice drive.
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Question by:mark876543
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LVL 25

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by:kode99
ID: 13411569
Right now if you use a SATA II controller will really only see a improvement between the controller and the rest of the system with first generation SATA drives.  The controller can only talk at the speed of the drive but if you have multiple drives the SATA II controller will be able to transfer from all drives to the system at a higher rate than a SATA controller.

Here is an example from Addonics where they claim a 200 MB/s transfer with 4 SATA 7200 RPM drives in RAID 0,
  http://www.addonics.com/products/host_controller/adsa3gx4r.asp

If you used SATA II drives the overall performance would be a step better than comparable 7200 RPM SATA drives.  In theory you would be able to max out the transfer from the controller to the system.  The Raptor may be close to doing that as well with 4 drives.

By comparing the specs on the Hitachi drives vs the Raptor I would expect the Raptor would still outperform the Hitachi drives SATA II interface or not.  The Hitachi drive specs other than the SATAII interface are the same as its PATA sister drive for sustatain transfer and seek times.  The sustained transfer of the Raptor specs at 72 MB/s vs Hitachi peaks at 61MB/s,  also the Raptor has superior seek and latency times.

Hard drives still face physical limits for the mechanical portion of the drive.  Improving the interface can help (features like NCQ) but the underlying mechanics are still the same.  Changing the drives RPM speed changes those mechanics directly and translates to the gains you see with a Raptor.

Hitachi Specs,
http://www.hitachigst.com/tech/techlib.nsf/techdocs/5AB985BA152021C686256CE800718F09/$file/Deskstar_7K80_v9.pdf

WD Raptor Specs,
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=40

The Hitachi would be quieter than the Raptors.  

SATA is slated to hit 6GB/s in 2006 and hopefully the drive manufacturers will start catching up and make real use of this potential.  There is certainly a lot of room to grow.
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by:mark876543
ID: 13412020
If there are no reviews that discuss actual speeds of complete, real-world SATA-II systems yet, what kind of simple performance test (software) is there that I can run myself to measure the performance of the hard drives in the two computers?

I hope SATA-300 isn't going to be another marketing joke, where the transfer-rate number doubled (150 to 300), but the real difference is only 2% or something.  It reminds me of years ago, with the 56k modem.  Lots of people ran out to buy one, thinking their speed would increase a lot, only to learn that 99.99% of people with real-world phone lines can't get anywhere near that speed in actual practice.
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kode99 earned 2000 total points
ID: 13412185
Here is a comparison of a NCQ vs non NCQ drive.  NCQ is one of the major features of SATAII.  It also compares to the Raptor.

  http://www.tomshardware.com/storage/20041116/index.html

I would watch for Tom's to do a review/comparison once there are some more SATA II drives out.  Right now the Raptors are still hard to beat and if they release a new version with all the SATA II features they will likely maintain that position.

Something else of note,  when comparing drives keep in mind the Raptors 'enterprise' class drives - meaning they are designed to run 24/7 with a 1.2 million hour MTBF under full duty cycle and carry a 5 year warranty.  Many desktop drives will not come close to this.  So when comparing prices it is important to consider.

Any benchmark software out there that will show your actual transfer rates will test it.  I use passmark myself,
  http://www.passmark.com/

lots of people like Sandra
  http://www.sisoftware.net/index.html?dir=&location=downandbuy&langx=en&a=

I expect the reviews will start showing up soon,  there are only a few SATAII drives out so far.  

The hype surrounding many new technologies is usually quite dissapointing and needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  I hope that we do see some significant gains though I do not expect much.


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Author Comment

by:mark876543
ID: 13419303
I didn't do the benchmark yet, but I did do a very results-oriented test.  I had two machines side by side, and hit the button to load Photoshop CS simultaneously.  The SATA-300 / AMD beat the Raptor SATA-150 / Intel system by several seconds every time.  Interesting because there is no question that the Raptor has much faster specs, so I was expecting something of a tie.  Both systems are two-drive RAID-0 with 2GB of RAM.  So maybe SATA-II is doing some good after all.  Only other thing I can think of is that the RAM is better.

machine 1: AMD 3800+, 2GB of Crucial Ballistix, two Hitachi SATA-300 in RAID-0 on the nVidea nforce 4 motherboard chipset raid controller which supports SATA-300.

machine 2: Intel 3.2 Northwood, Asus P4C800-E Deluxe mobo, 2 GB of "premium generic" RAM, 2 36GB WD Raptor SATA-150 drives in RAID-0 on the onboard Promise controller.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:pweegar
ID: 13499764
Don't look at SATA II as being SATA- 300. It isn't. At least not yet. SATA II incorporates Natice Command Queuing,as already mentioned. BUT, in oreder to use NCQ, both the hardware and software need to be aware of NCQ.

Other factors that help boost performance include: The amount of RAM on the controller, Amount of cache,  etc.
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Expert Comment

by:jcalba
ID: 14594314
Hello , i have the same problem , i must buy a new computer and i must try with a Hitachi T7K250 SATA300 or Raptor 74 SATA150 in RAID 0, what are the best for video editing ( pinnacle ) work ??

The MB will be a ASUS P5WD2 Premium with the new Intel Dual Core

Greetings
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Author Comment

by:mark876543
ID: 14594824
When I talked to WD several months ago, the guy said they had plans to upgrade the Raptors to SATAII sometime in 4th quarter.  I don't know when that would acually be happening though.  I have Raptors in raid-0 in one computer and SATA-II drives on an nvidea SATA-II controller on another computer.  Just going by experience I don't see a big difference.  I think the numbers given in product specs are somewhat misleading.  150 vs 300 is a perfect example of this.  In the real world, I don't think there is anything like a 2:1 speed difference in read-write.  I would tend to go with Raptors because the 10K rpm does give a concrete improvement in speed.

For video capture you'll be more than fine either way you go, as far as drive performance.  The video software is designed to capture & work fine with even a single 7200rpm drive, it just can't be too much of a dog like a real old slow drive.

I used 2 in raid-0 for drive C, and just use this for system software.  I make an occasional acronis image so if I lose a raid-0 drive at a bad time I can restore my system quickly.  For data I use 2 large capacity drives in raid-1 (mirror) for data redundency.  These are just 7200 rpm / 8mb drives, but I don't have any speed complaints.  I like the raid-0 to make big software load faster, mainly.  I would look at the new Maxtor 500GB 16mb drives for data if I was doing a lot of video stuff and needed huge space.
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