Testing setup and hardware configuration
Our core hardware setup consists of an EVGA X58 SLI Classified E759 motherboard, an Intel Core i7 Extreme 980X Gulftown six-core processor at 3.60GHz and 6GB of Mushkin XP Series DDR3 1600MHz 7-8-7-20. Additional hardware includes a SilverStone Strider 1500W power supply and two Samsung Spinpoint F1 750GB HE753LJ RAID Edition drives.
While some may argue that the configuration listed above is completely overkill for an undemanding, rudimentary hard drive performance and reliability evaluation, the system is our primary evaluation unit and should reduce the number of bottleneck variables to as low as possible. As such, it provides a more than adequate environment for our Seagate Constellation ES 2TB drives in both RAID0 and RAID1 configurations.
SeaTools for Windows is a comprehensive, easy-to-use diagnostic tool that allows users to quickly determine the condition of the disc drive in an external hard drive, desktop or notebook computer. In addition, it includes several tests that will examine the physical media on any compatible Seagate or Maxtor disc drive and any other non-Seagate disc drive.
The drives passed the SeaTools Short Generic tests for “outer edge,” “inner edge” and “random read,” but we should note that the noise levels on these drives are above average and even somewhat excessive. While Seagate has managed to design some very power-efficient and eco-friendly enterprise drives, it appears to have sacrificed some audible noise value in the process. Although we have no professional decibel measuring equipment on hand to properly quantify the audible variables, we can insist that on a subjective level, these drives operate close to the 55dB range when situated outside and apart from the rest of the test system in an isolated scenario. In comparison, the Samsung Spinpoint F1 RAID Edition drives operate at a consistent 45dB range during idle desktop use and under load-intensive file transfers.
Crystal Disk Benchmarks
The next application we used to test throughput performance was Crystal Disk Benchmark. The utility has been around for a little over a year and a half and has provided a convenient array of rudimentary read/write information about hard disks put to the test against it.
2x Seagate Constellation ES ST32000644NS 2TB drives in RAID1
2x Seagate Constellation ES ST32000644NS 2TB drives in RAID0
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 HE753LJ drives in RAID0
Based on the results, the Constellation ES 2TB drives gained a 95% sequential write increase and a 120% sequential read increase going from RAID1 to RAID0 configurations. Meanwhile, the improvement between the Samsung Spinpoint F1 HE753LJ drives in RAID0 and the Constellation ES drives in RAID0 resulted in a 35% sequential write increase and an 88% sequential read increase for the latter drives.
HD Tach Benchmarks
We also decided to include HD Tach results between a single Constellation ES drive, a pair of Constellation ES drives in RAID0 and the Samsung Spinpoint F1 RAID Edition drives in RAID0.
Seagate Constellation ES ST32000644NS 2TB single drive
2x Seagate Constellation ES ST32000644NS 2TB RAID0
2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 HE753LJ RAID0
The first thing we want to note is the reduction in latency access times between a single Constellation ES and a pair of them in RAID0. Latency was reduced by roughly 2.2ms with striping enabled, and average read speeds increased by roughly 110 percent. In comparison, the Samsung Spinpoint F1 HE753LJ RAID Edition drives produced an increased latency access time of 2.8ms over the Constellation ES drives in RAID0 and performed roughly 43 percent lower in average read speeds.
HD Tune Benchmarks
For our third set of tests, we decided to run HD Tune, a popular hard disk utility with the ability to measure drive performance, scan for errors, check drive health status using S.M.A.R.T. monitoring and much more. For this occasion, we wanted to use it as an additional verification utility for determining the accuracy of our hard disk performance data.
Read Benchmark - Seagate Constellation ES ST32000644NS 2TB single drive
Write Benchmark – Seagate Constellation ES ST32000644NS 2TB single drive
Read Benchmark – 2x Samsung Spinpoint F1 HE753LJ RAID0
HD Tune reports that a single Constellation ES 2TB drive was able to manage a 105MB/s read speed average and a 108MB/s write speed average with 113MB/s Burst Rate and 10.9ms access time. In comparison, a pair of Samsung Spinpoint F1 HE753LJ RAID Edition drives in RAID0 were able to manage a 131MB/s read speed, 137.2MB/s Burst Rate and 12.2ms access time.
Another important factor to note about these drives is their tendency to run very hot. We have been operating these Constellation ES drives in both RAID0 and RAID1 test configurations for the past two and a half months, and with almost every system shutdown we would note that the drives were significantly warmer than we had we had expected for enterprise-class products. Although the Constellation ES Product Overview specifications page does note that “these nearline drives optimize 3.5-inch chassis performance with the lowest power draw and run cooler in high-temperature environments,” it seems that they still run hot in consumer-oriented desktop situations when compared to the Samsung Spinpoint F1 RAID Edition drives.