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Appeared on: Sunday, January 27, 2002
Test Methodlogy


1. Test Machine

Test Methodlogy - Page 1

- Introduction

This article has the propose to explain how our tests are performed and give some additional information that doesn't covered at our hardware reviews. Our main interest when designing the test platform was to have the ultimate performance among with the higher stability. The tests of hard disks is complicated issue and our tests try to unveile each drive's performance and any possible problems.

- Test Machine

For our tests we chosen Intel's P4 platform. Our test machine assempled from the following parts

- MotherBoard: AOpen AX4B Pro
- CPU: P4 at 1.5Ghz
- Memory: 512MB DDR266
- CPU Cooler: AOpen AC715E
- SVGA: AOpen GF3-DV
- Case: AOpen H600A (400W)
- Mouse: AOpen W-23G
- Network: AOpen AON-325
- Sound: AOpen AW320
- SCSI Controller: Adaptec 29160 (firmware 3.10)
- Promise ATA133 Controller
- CD-RW Drive: AOpen CRW3248 (firmware 1.00)
- DVD+RW: AOpen RW5120A (firmware 1.37)
- FireWire Card (IEE1394)

All tests are performed under WinXP Pro operating system with all latest fixes/patches. All disks are installed as MASTER in the secondary IDE Bus. At the Primary IDE Bus IBM's DTLA 30730 (ATA100) disk is being used. All tested drives are logical fixed drives ,under DOS 6.22, with Fdisk command. No partitions are specified. All cables are ATA66/100/133 certified in order to have the maximum performance.


2. SCSI Mechanic

Test Methodlogy - Page 2

Measurement software

- SCSI Mechanic

SCSI Mechanic 3.0x is used to perform LINEAR reading/writing tests.

Under the Exercise Media tab we find the following picture:

In this mode both Reading and writing tests can be performed. In first we are using the "Read Only" test mode option and we perform in row all 3 tests:

a) Random
b) Sequential
c) Butterfly

The Kbytes/transfer are settled in default value (64kb/s). The time which each test last depends from the disk drive's total sectors since the test starts and counts the total sector operations. When SCSI Mechanic reaches the outer limit of the drive, it stop the reading/writing test and we take the average Kb/s test number:

As we said earlier also writing tests are performed. We select trough the pull down menu "Write Only" and we make all tests in ROW, 3 times repeadetly:

After you press ok the software prompts that this test will destroy all data (and partitions) in the select drive:

As long the test continues, it gives back information about the drive's writing performance in the particular test and we track down the average Kbytes/sec value, when the test completed:


3. WinBench

Test Methodlogy - Page 3

- WinBench 99

Ziff Davis WinBench 99 v2.00 is the most famous HD measuring software. The software can show us the transfer rate throughput the whole HD and other interesting results and of rank each disk with a "WinMark" value. For the WinBench tests, each HD is formatted in one single partition under NTFS file system. All tests are performed 3 times and posted numbers are the average of for each HD:


4. IPEAK

Test Methodlogy - Page 4

- Intel's IPEAK Performance Tools v3.0

The Storage Performance Tool (SPT) consists of five utilities that measure and analyze disk usage in the system:

- AnalyzeDisk: Checks the disk operation independently of the OS or drivers, and reports on the disk surface, sectors, etc.
- Win32 Tracing Kit: Runs a trace of disk activity (reads and/or writes) and stores the data in a binary file for later analysis by AnalyzeTrace, AnalyzeLocality, or RankDisk. The Win32 Tracing Kit does not display the output data.
- AnalyzeTrace: After running Win32 Tracing Kit, use this utility to analyze and display most of the data available from the disk trace.
- AnalyzeLocality: After running Win32 Tracing Kit, use this utility to analyze and display the locality information from the disk trace. Locality is an analysis of the distance (in space and/or time) between disk accesses.
- RankDisk: Can run standard disk benchmarks (‘workloads”) built into the tool or can mimic an existing trace made on one disk onto another disk. In either case, the tool graphically displays the difference in performance between disks.

- "AnalyzeDisk" Utility

This application gives various information about the disk's reading/writing capabilites and features. From that benchmark we mainly get the "Service Read/Write" results:

IPEAK's service time tests uses 25.000 random, single sector read/writes at all the disk's capacity. The resultant distribution of service times is plotted as a probability density vs. service time. This curve represents the probability that a request will be completed in a given amount of time. The service time distribution is not cumulative. The test results can be directly compared to the access time test. User can download the test results and through check the various results himself.

User should be aware for any outliers: "...A well behaved storage subsystems should have any outliers in the service time distribution and the distribution should be narrow. Outliers in the distribution makes the storage subsystem unsuitable for real-time applications, such as multi-media, where variations in service time are detrimental..."

- "RankDisk" Utility

We are using Intel's default RAW traces for both DeskTop/Server workloads:

The height of each bar is the measured mean service time per disk access for a drive stimulated with I/Os from the given workload. Shorter bars represent better performance.

- DeskTop Trace Info

SysMark98 WIN98 (64MB)
SysMark98 WIN98 (128MB)
SysMark NT4 (64MB)
SysMark NT4 (128MB)
WS99 WIN98 (64MB)
WS99 WIN98 (128MB)
WS99 biz NT4 (64MB)
WS99 biz NT4 (128MB)
WS99 he NT4 (64MB)
WS99 he NT4 (128MB)
Read
18925
2838
2517
1522
18589
10157
9021
6238
19806
10915
Writes
7140
7946
1820
1534
4495
3898
4343
3700
21633
18653
Data Read
94.342
19.962
46.159
27.971
86.709
50.501
147113
113.814
396.050
196.420
Data Written
100.122
112.727
36.706
28.746
40.664
27.641
41874
30.191
847.036
685.423

Intel's DeskTop traces include mostly reads but also writes I/O operations.

- Server Trace Info

AIM3 w/ 5 Users (USL 4,2, 16MB)
SDET w/ 10 Users (USL 4,2, 16MB)
TPC-B Data Drive (USL 4,2, 192MB)
TPC-C Log Drive (NT4,0, 1GB)
Netbench w/ 5 Clients (NW 4,01, 32MB)
BYTE1 Unix F/S (USL 4,2, 16MB)
Read
126
8642
18243
7063
28792
1
Writes
40866
24423
18196
10365
31618
2244
Data Read
1.028
23.125
37337
14.465
117.932
0.004
Data Written
327.545
73.054
37265
35.680
110.051
9.107

At the Server strain mode, almost all traces include low reading and mostly write I/O operations.


5. Heat

Test Methodlogy - Page 5

- Heat

To measure the temperature we are using the DTemp utility. This utility through the IDE interface and the each drive's build-in SMART functions can report the working temperature of each drive. The temperature is taken after IPEAK's RankDisk test results as an general average result.



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