BlueSmoke - HDD Article : Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB
|Date||: Dec 15th, 2001|
|Manufacturer||: Western Digital|
|Author||: Jin-Wei Tioh|
A few months ago, the behemoth 100GB Caviar WD1000BB was released. Top class performance, coupled with its monstrous capacity made it the leader in our 7200RPM IDE category. However, Western Digital wasn't the pioneer in coming out with a 7200RPM 40GB/platter drive. That honor belongs to the Seagate (Barracuda IV), followed closely by Maxtor. Now it is WD's turn with the Caviar WD1200BB.
For this drive, Western Digital chose to stick to the 3-platter design of the Caviar WD1000BB, yielding a flagship capacity of 120GB. No doubt an astounding figure, some of the WD1200BB's thunder has been stolen by Maxtor's 160GB D540X (5400RPM, 4-platter 40GB/platter) and IBM's soon-to-be-released Deskstar 120GXP. The Caviar is speced with a 2MB buffer, 8.9ms seek time and an ATA-100 interface. Inline with the industry standard, a full 3-year warranty rounds out the package.
|HDD||Disk Access Time||Disk Read/Transfer Rate|
|IBM Deskstar 60GXP (40.0GB ATA-100)||12.3||39800||21100|
|Quantum Fireball Plus AS (20.0GB ATA-100)||13.5||36000||21100|
|Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80.0GB ATA-100)||14.9||42500||27200|
|Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100.0GB ATA-100)||13.7||41400||27700|
|Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120.0GB ATA-100)||13.5||48300||28600|
The WD1200BB fares better than the WD1000BB by a hair : 0.2ms. Subtracting 4.2ms of rotational latency gives us a measured seek time of 9.3ms, a little off Western Digital's claim of 8.9ms. No drive seems to be able to beat the Deskstar 60GXP in terms of seek time, a critical factor in IOMeter performance.
STR is a whole different ball game. The WD1200BB roars by the Barracuda IV by 14% in the outer-zone STR measurements, some 5.8MB/s! A new inner-zone record of 28.6MB/s is also set by the WD1200BB. Clearly, the Caviar is the new 7200RPM STR king.
It has been argued that a drive's seek time matters less in the average workstation of today. With the abundance of main system RAM, the OS has ample room for implementing its own disk cache. It has been hashed out on the StorageReview forums that a drive's caching algorithms, buffer size and short-seeks together play a more important role than seek time, spindle speed or transfer rate! However, this differs from a server scenario, where heavy disk access is the norm. Here, minimizing seek time is the prime concern, and this is where SCSI drives typically excel. Therefore, WinBench 99's Disk WinMarks are more indicative of workstation performance, whereas IOMeter can be taken more as a server performance indicator.
Without further ado, let's move on to the higher-level benchmarks.
|IBM Deskstar 60GXP (40.0GB ATA-100)||4960||17700|
|Quantum Fireball Plus AS (20.0GB ATA-100)||5010||15500|
|Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80.0GB ATA-100)||5350||17700|
|Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100.0GB ATA-100)||4870||18400|
|Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120.0GB ATA-100)||5450||19800|
The Caviar WD1000BB had a surprising stumble on the Business Disk WinMark, with a score of 4.87MB/s which fell behind the other 7200RPM drives. The WD1200BB alleviates this with its figure of 5.45MB/s, beating the previous leader (the Barracuda IV) by 2%, and improving upon the WD1000BB by a whopping 12%! In the High-End Disk WinMarks, the WD1200BB is simply unrivalled.
This time around, there is a clear cut winner in WinBench 99, certainly a nice change from when different drives dominated different tests. The WD1200BB comes out as the top performing drive.
The Deskstar 60GXP's top spot in IOMeter shouldn't be upset by the WD1200BB though, due to its superior seek time. Let's supplant speculation with hard data.
|IBM Deskstar 60GXP (40.0GB ATA-100)||Linear||71.67||85.15||71.79||3136.53|
|Quantum Fireball AS (20.0GB ATA-100)||Linear||73.28||84.93||77.49||2788.41|
|Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80.0GB ATA-100)||Linear||68.62||79.56||72.92||2868.30|
|Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100.0GB ATA-100)||Linear||73.97||88.91||80.29||3174.05|
|Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120.0GB ATA-100)||Linear||74.42||89.48||80.47||3181.70|
Here, we see a performance trend similar to that of the Caviar WD1000BB. The WD1200BB leads all drives in all access patterns under a Linear load, with slight improvements over the WD1000BB. Both Caviars lag the Deskstar 60GXP by an average of around 9% under heavier loads, with the performance disparity shrinking in the Workstation access pattern and being virtually non-existant in the Video Workstation access pattern. All in all, a very strong IOMeter showing. We can only speculate that the Caviar's firmware has been optimized for workstation / NLE applications.
The Caviar WD1200BB reached a temperature of 45.5 °C after our standard IOMeter test run. This is slightly higher than that of the Caviar WD1000BB (44.8 °C), but decidedly lower than that of the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (46.5 °C). Subjectively speaking, while certainly not as quiet as the Barracuda IV (the quietest 7200RPM unit we've come across), the Caviar WD1200BB is nonetheless quiet and unobstrusive, even during IOMeter's heavy seeks.
Western Digital has certainly done it again by increasing the Caviar line's flagship capacity while exceeding current performance, setting a few new 7200RPM records in the process. Although neither the coolest nor quietest 7200RPM unit around, the Caviar WD1200BB is nevertheless a commendable effort by Western Digital's engineers. While another 7200RPM drive boasts a similar flagship capacity (the IBM 120GXP), it is still not available at all to reviewers, much less consumers. Offering the top performance for its capacity class, the WD1200BB is most definitely a no-brainer for those who require the peak capacity offered coupled with performance in an IDE hard drive. It will be interesting to see whether the already excellent performance of the Caviar line can be increased further with the addition of an 8MB buffer.
|Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB|
|Other Models :||N/A|
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