Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hard drives: sometimes there really is a difference

Presumably these findings are related to differing optimizations made by hard drive vendors ...
Macworld: Editors' Notes: Black and white differences:

... With the systems shipping with identical processors, RAM and graphics, we focused our testing attention on the hard drive. Thankfully, switching hard drives between the MacBooks is fairly painless, because we did a lot of it and found that the results in question followed the drive to whatever system it was installed in. We bought and installed a 100GB, 7,200RPM Seagate drive in the black MacBook and saw its performance benefit immediately, reducing the gap between white and black on many of our tests, like Compressor, iMovie and iTunes, while whipping the white in the more drive-intensive tasks like zipping, unzipping, and duplicating files.

The weirdest results came from our iPhoto import test, which appears to be very hard drive sensitive. Surprisingly, the winner wasn’t the Seagate 7200RPM drive, but the Fujitsu 5,400-rpm drives found in the black MacBook and 17-inch MacBook Pro. The white MacBook had a Seagate 5,400-rpm drive, which edged out the Fujitsu in zipping and unzipping large folders, but lagged far behind in the iPhoto test. The top-level specs of these drives don’t offer any explanation—both have 8MB caches and both run at 5,400-rpm. We installed, wiped, reinstalled, and moved the drives around trying to figure this one out, but the results always followed the drives.
Fascinating. We think of hard drives as commodities ... (though some are more or less reliable!)

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