Seagate Barracuda 3TB in RAID 0: Performance Unleashed
Seagate’s latest Barracuda -the triple 1TB platter 3TB monster we reviewed a little while ago- is without a doubt one hell of a drive. The capabilities were impressive, there's plenty of capacity for nearly anyone and it accomplished something we thought was almost impossible: got us excited (again) about hard drive performance. With SSDs burning up the charts, it seemed like spindle based internal drives were going the way of dinosaurs but their allure was cut short by an unassuming drive that was launched amidst a massive upheaval in the hard drive market.
Some may think that many HDDs have become unreasonably expensive lately and the Baraccuda 3TB hasn’t been immune to these fluctuations. With a current price of about $269 it is far from cheap but from a price and performance per GB perspective, there’s no contest right now. But what happens for those who want even more performance without having to look SSDs? Naturally, we just had to know how two of these relatively affordable drives performed when paired up in a RAID configuration.
Testing a drive is not as simple as putting together a bunch of files, dragging them onto folder on the drive in Windows and using a stopwatch to time how long the transfer takes. Rather, there are factors such as read / write speed and data burst speed to take into account. There is also the SATA controller on your motherboard and how well it works with SSDs & HDDs to think about as well. For best results you really need a dedicated hardware RAID controller with dedicated RAM for drives to shine. Unfortunately, most people do not have the time, inclination or monetary funds to do this. For this reason our testbed will be a more standard motherboard with no mods or high end gear added to it. This is to help replicate what you the end user’s experience will be like.
Even when the hardware issues are taken care of the software itself will have a negative or positive impact on the results. As with the hardware end of things, to obtain the absolute best results you do need to tweak your OS setup; however, just like with the hardware solution most people are not going to do this. For this reason our standard OS setup is used. However, except for the Vista load test times we have done our best to eliminate this issue by having the drive tested as a secondary drive. With the main drive being a Kingston HyperX 240GB Solid State Drive.
For synthetic tests we used a combination of the ATTO Disk Benchmark, HDTach, HD Tune, Crystal Disk Benchmark, IOMeter, AS-SSD and PCMark 7.
For real world benchmarks we timed how long a single 10GB rar file took to copy to and then from the devices. We also used 10gb of small files (from 100kb to 200MB) with a total 12,000 files in 400 subfolders.
For all testing a Asus P8P67 Deluxe motherboard was used, running Windows 7 64bit Ultimate edition (or Vista for boot time test). All drives were tested using AHCI mode using Intel RST 10 drivers.
All tests were run 4 times and average results are represented.
Processor: Core i5 2500
Motherboard: Asus P8P67 Deluxe
Memory: 8GB Corsair Vengeance LP "Blue" DDR3 1600
Graphics card: Asus 5550 passive
Hard Drive: 1x Kingston HyperX 240GB, OCZ 480GB RevoDrive3 x2
Power Supply: XFX 850
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