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Western Digital Special Edition Caviar Hard Disk Drives ATA/100, 7,200 RPM, 8 MByte Buffer
Last updated: 12/2/02

Performance.  Special Edition Caviar drives come in sizes from 40 to a whopping 200 GBytes (or "gigs").  Specifications for these drives are pretty much the same except for buffer to disk speeds which vary from 591.0 Mbits/sec. (Max) for the 40 gig drive to 736.0 Mbits/sec. (Max) for the 200 gig drive.  This is caused by the higher areal density (how dense the data is packed on the platters) of the drive as the drives increase in size.

We choose the WD800JB 80 gig drive for benchmarks.  The following benchmarks were run on two computers with recent motherboards and compare the 80 MByte Special Edition drive to two 7,200 ATA/100 drives with two MByte buffers.  Additional benchmarks with one of the computers show how a pair of the 80 gig drives perform in various RAID configurations.

Config 1 2 3 4 5 6
Mother-
board
EpoX
8KHA+
Abit
KX7-333
Chipset  KT266A KT333
Operating System Win XP Win XP Win XP Win XP Win XP Win XP
Hard Disk WD300BB
30 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/100
Maxtor
53073H6
30 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/100
WD800
  80 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/100
WD800
80 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/100
WD800
80 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/100
WD800
80 GByte
7,200 RPM
ATA/100
Hard Disk Config. Single Drive
Normal IDE
  Port
Single Drive
Normal IDE
  Port
Single Drive
Normal IDE
  Port
Single Drive
RAID IDE
  Port
Dual Drives
RAID 0 Striped
Dual Drives
RAID 1
Mirrored
Business Winstone 2001 50.4 49.5 53.9 57.8 59.7 57.6
Business Disk WinMark 99 4277 5350 8748 12176 17680  9360
High-End Disk WinMark 99 18883 16220 26480 30460 36040 24550

The Winstone tests show that the Abit KX7-333 motherboard with it's KT333 chipset and faster processor is neck and neck with it's predecessor, the EpoX 8KHA+ and the KT266A chipset.  Any real difference in the benchmarks is caused by the much faster WD Special Edition drive.  For my use, the performance gained with one of the WD drives on the normal IDE interface was very noticeable and is more than sufficient--"LIGHTNING FAST" is what it says on the box the retail version of the drive comes in and that is the way I would characterize it.  In human terms, the drive is so fast on the normal IDE interface it is hard to perceive the difference when two of them are running in a RAID 0 configuration--very fast is very fast.  However, the RAID capability is useful for mirroring drives on a file server/Unix box.

Bottom line. All of the Western Digital Special Edition Caviar hard disk drives come with a 3-year limited warranty from a major manufacturer. According to Pricewatch the 80 MByte drive has a street price of around $100.  The 200 gig drive is going for a little over $300.  If you really want to soup-up a computer, get a Western Digital Special Edition Caviar hard disk drive with an eight MByte buffer -- 3-year warranty, reasonably priced, and lightning fast!

Larry

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Test Computers:

1) 1.6 GHz AMD XP 1900+ Athlon processor:  Termaltake Volcano 6  CPU Heatsink-fan; Abit KX7-333R motherboard: Crucial 256 MByte, PC2700 333DDR memory;  Maxtor 53073H6, 30 GByte, 7,200 RPM, ATA/100, 2 MBytes cache' hard disk drive; Western Digital WD800 80 GBytes, 7,200 RPM, ATA/100, 8 MBytes chache' hard disk drives; Actima A44T 44 X CD-ROM Drive; Panasonic 1.44 MB Floppy Drive; Diamond V770 AGP Display Adapter; Acerview 79G 17" Monitor; Focus 2001W keyboard; Logitech M-BG58 optical mouse; and Antec SX-840 workstation case with two Antec chassis fans; Windows XP Professional with NTFS file system (partitioned into 8 GByte C: drive, defragged).

2) 1.4 GHz AMD XP 1600+ Athlon processor;  Termaltake Volcano 5  CPU Heatsink-fan; EpoX 8KHA+  motherboard; Crucial 256 MByte, PC2100 266DDR memory; Western Digital WD300BB 30 GByte, 7200 RPM, ATA/100 Hard Disk hard disk drive; AOpen 52 X CD-ROM Drive; Panasonic 1.44 MB Floppy Drive; Abit Siluro GeForce1 MX200 32MB AGP Display Adapter; Acerview 79G 17" Monitor; Focus 2001W keyboard; AOpen S48 PS/2 Mouse; and Antec KS 282 Mid-tower case with one optional Antec chassis fan, Windows XP Professional with NTFS file system (partitioned into 8 GByte C: drive, defragged).

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