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Home > Hardware Reviews > General Computing

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

1. Introduction

In 2002, Serial ATA (SATA) was introduced as the next step in ATA technology. SATA provides greater scalability, simpler installation, thinner cabling and faster performance (up to 3.0 GB/s). SATA also maintains backward compatibility with Parallel ATA drivers.The entire desktop market has started moving towards the SATA interface from the more traditional Parallel ATA interface.

The term SATA II has grown in popularity as the moniker for the SATA 3Gb/s data transfer rate, causing great confusion with customers because, quite simply, it’s a misnomer.

The first step toward a better understanding of SATA is to know that SATA II is not the brand name for SATA’s 3Gb/s data transfer rate, but the name of the organization formed to author the SATA specifications. The group has since changed names, to the Serial ATA International Organization, or SATA-IO.

The 3Gb/s capability is just one of many defined by the former SATA II committee, but because it is among the most prominent features, 3Gb/s has become synonymous with SATA II. Hence, the source of the confusion.

The foregoing is taken from the sata-io.org web site (Naming Guidelines).

In this review, we are going to compare the performance of a SATA II HDD with a SATA 1.0 HDD. For our tests, we used two Western Digital Hard Discs, the WD2500JS (SATA II) and the WD3000JD (SATA).

the two Western Digital HDDs we used...

- Specifications

Performance Specifications
Model WD2500JS (SATA II) WD3000JD (SATA)
Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM (nominal)
Buffer Size 8 MB
Average Latency 4.20 ms (nominal)
Seek Times
Read Seek Time 8.9 ms
Track-To-Track Seek Time 2.0 ms (average)
Full Stroke Seek 21.0 ms (average)
Transfer Rates
Buffer To Host (Serial ATA) 300 MB/s (Max) 150 MB/s (Max)
Buffer To Disk 748 Mbits/s (Max)
Physical Specifications
Formatted Capacity 250,059 MB 300,069 MB
Capacity 250 GB 300 GB
Interface SATA 300 MB/s SATA 150 MB/s
Bytes Per Sector 512
User Sectors Per Drive 488,397,168 586,072,368
Servo Type Embedded
Physical Dimensions
Height 26.1 mm (Max)
Length 147 mm (Max)
Width 101.6 mm
Weight 0.6 kg (+/- .082 kg) 0.73 kg (+/- .082 kg)
Environmental Specifications
Operating Shock (Read) 65G, 2 ms
Non-operating Shock 350G, 2 ms 250G, 2 ms
Idle Mode 26 dBA (average) 28 dBA (average)
Seek Mode 0 31 dBA (average) 33 dBA (average)
Seek Mode 3 27 dBA (average) 29 dBA (average)
Operating 5° C to 55° C
Non-operating -40° C to 65° C
Operating 5-95% RH non-condensing
Non-operating 5-95% RH non-condensing
Operating -305M to 3,050M
Non-operating -305M to 12,200M
Linear 20-300 Hz, .75G (0 to peak)
Random 10-300 Hz, 0.004 g² / Hz
Low Frequency 5-20 Hz, 0.195 inches (double amplitude)
High Frequency 20-500 Hz, 4.0G (0 to peak) 10-300 Hz, 5.0G (0 to peak)
Electrical Specifications
12 VDC
Read/Write 450 mA 510 mA
Idle 430 mA 510 mA
Standby 20 mA 20.5 mA
Sleep 20 mA 20.5 mA
Read/Write 800 mA 575 mA
Idle 730 mA 550 mA
Standby 270 mA 200 mA
Sleep 250 mA 200 mA
Power Dissipation
Read/Write 9.50 Watts
Idle 8.75 Watts
Standby 1.60 Watts 1.20 Watts
Sleep 1.50 Watts 1.20 Watts

Now that we have covered the specifications, let's move on to the HDTach tests and their respective results...

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