Hardware Setup

Intel Test Bed
Playback of iPEAK Trace Files and Test Application Results
Processor: Intel QX6700 - 2.66GHz Quad Core
Motherboard: DFI Infinity 965-S
RAM: 2 x 1GB OCZ Reaper PC2-9200
Settings - DDR800 - 3-4-3-9
OS Hard Drive: 1 x Western Digital WD1500 Raptor - 150GB
System Platform Drivers: Intel
Intel Matrix RAID
Video Card: 1 x MSI 8800GTX
Video Drivers: NVIDIA Forceware 158.19
Optical Drive: Plextor PX-760A, Plextor PX-B900A
Cooling: Tuniq 120
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream 850W
Case: Cooler Master CM Stacker 830
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2

We are utilizing an Intel QX6700 Quad Core CPU to ensure we are not CPU limited in our testing at this time. A 2GB memory configuration is standard in our XP test bed as most enthusiasts are currently purchasing this amount of memory. Our choice of high-range OCZ Flex XLC PC2-9200 memory offers a very wide range of memory settings with timings of 3-4-3-9 for our benchmark results.

Our test bed now includes the MSI 8800GTX video card to ensure our game tests are not completely GPU bound. Our video tests are run at 1280x1024 resolutions for this article at High Quality settings. All of our tests are run in an enclosed case with a dual optical/hard drive setup to reflect a moderately loaded system platform. Windows XP SP2 is fully updated and we load a clean drive image for each system to keep driver conflicts to a minimum.

The drive is formatted before each test run and five tests are completed on each drive in order to ensure consistency in the benchmark results. The high and low scores are removed with the remaining score representing our reported result. We utilize the Intel ICH8R SATA ports along with the latest Intel Matrix Storage driver to ensure consistency in our playback results when utilizing NCQ, TCQ, or RAID settings. We will test with AAM off and NCQ turned on with our Deskstar 7K1000 unit to ensure the highest possible test results.

The Hitachi 7K1000 drives we are reviewing today will be compared directly against the WD WD1500AHFD 150GB drives in RAID 0 with a limited benchmark test suite. Our stripe size is set to the recommended default in the Intel driver set, which in this case is 128KB. We fully understand that different stripe and allocation sizes may result in possible improvements in performance based upon the application being tested, but testing these aspects is beyond the scope of this article.

We have also included a subset of drive results from our previous articles and will provide additional RAID 0+1 and 5 results of the 7K1000 in our upcoming RAID performance overview that will feature additional motherboard chipsets and hardware controllers.

Index HD Tune and HD Tach Performance
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  • sprockkets - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    Pic wanted of smoked drive.
  • lplatypus - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    RAID-0 is not a general solution to improve disk performance. It solves a specific problem: it increases sequential disk bandwidth. If you're not doing sequential disk accesses, then don't expect RAID-0 to help.

    Of course if your application is doing random disk accesses unnecessarily, then that's a programming problem. But often an application really does need to do random disk accesses.

    Advanced filesystems attempt to make common file access patterns translate into sequential disk accesses, so poor RAID-0 performance might be a symptom of a poor filesystem design in your OS. Yet there is a limit to how much the filesystem can produce sequential disk accesses.
  • yyrkoon - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link


    However, the test results should give a very good performance indication of RAID 0 without CPU or GPU limitations.

    GPU limited HDDs eh ? Come on guys, this statement is starting to sound as though you think using RAID0 in a gaming system is going to increase FPS or something . . . which, we all know is wrong(or should know).

    Gee, a Raptor smoking its platters, this aught to quiet those people who think the Raptors are impervious to melt downs. Seriously though, how much was this HDD used ? How old was it ? Personally, I think the answers to both the two questions above, would be worth well more than about 20 AT articles . . . and I must say I rather enjoy reading the articles.

    Looking forward to you adding Seagates fastest of their SATA line, and would like to know if you have plans, or would consider testing the NL35 line as well. From what little I have read, the NL35 line are supposed to be geared towards Video, so I would assume the sustained throughput would be higher, but thats why the request for a test of these drives.
  • nullpointerus - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link


    GPU limited HDDs eh ? Come on guys, this statement is starting to sound as though you think using RAID0 in a gaming system is going to increase FPS or something . . . which, we all know is wrong(or should know).

    As the article itself says, they did so to answer readers' (IMO ridiculous) objections to the previous RAID article. So you should poke fun at the gamer RAID crowd instead.
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - link

    That was not my point, I am fairly confident that AT staff doesnt believe this, but it only leads to confusion, for the less tech savvy. I can hear it all over the wanna be 'geek' 'channels' already . . . 'OMG RAID0 increases FPS in <insert first person title name here>, becasue AT said so . . .'. Even though we all know, this is not what was said.
  • SilthDraeth - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    hopefully our second round of results will answer more questions than it raises answers.
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - link


    We are back today for a quick look at RAID 0 performance and hopefully our second round of results will answer more questions than it raises answers.

    The last word in that sentence just needs to go away. Then it makes perfect sense: "... answer more questions than it raises."
  • joex444 - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    I don't find it confusing, but then again I passed grade 4.
  • vailr - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    Could you comment on AHCI mode? Comparing enabled in bios vs. disabled?
    The AHCI "hot swap" feature, for example. Seems to work fine when connected to a SATA JMicron controller, yet DO NOT when connected to an Intel port. On the Gigabyte DS3 board, for one example.
    Also: there are newer Intel Inf and Matrix drivers.
    Used for this report:
    System Platform Drivers:
    Intel Matrix RAID
    Intel Inf Driver Version Beta
    Matrix Storage Manager drivers version WHQL
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, April 23, 2007 - link

    AT yet again proves the RAID-0 freak'tards wrong.

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