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Benchmark Results: Anvil's Storage Utility

In The Lab With Seagate's Momentus XT 750 GB Hybrid HDD

So, we know that, in order to explore the benefits of the Momentus XT, we need a metric able to get information from the drive's spinning media to its NAND flash. We're going to achieve this using Anvil’s Storage Utility (ASU).

ASU is flexible, so we can configure its benchmark parameters. In this test, specifically, we're creating a test file size of 1 GiB, which can subsequently be re-read multiple times. ASU bypasses the file system cache within the operating system. As a consequence, variation in speed can be directly attributable to the NAND cache. For our purposes, we’re using a freshly-formatted Momentus XT connected to a secondary SATA 6Gb/s port.

After each successive run, small block transfers become significantly faster. Peak performance is achieved after five runs. Four-megabyte block transfers are, conversely, more or less unaffected after each run. Clearly, the Momentus XT is designed to accelerate the small blocks that take a long time to access from the hard disk platter. Placing those blocks in on-board flash allows them to be read much faster, leaving the hard drive to address read and write requests it can more efficiently serve from physical media.

Four-kilobyte random read performance increases exponentially after each run, starting off at 0.62 MiB/s on the first run and ramping up to 18.79 MiB/s by the fifth. That’s comparable to the performance of an SSD.

Thirty-two-kilobyte and 128 KiB block transfer speeds also improve significantly, though not by the same impressive margin as 4 KiB transfers (which increase by nearly 3000%).

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