|Processor(s)||2x Intel Xeon Processor (Nocona core)
3.6 GHz, FSB 800, 1 MB L2 Cache
|Platform||Asus NCL-DS (Socket 604)
Intel E7520 Chipset, BIOS 1005
|RAM||Corsair CM72DD512AR-400 (DDR2-400 ECC, reg.)
2x 512 MB, CL3-3-3-10 Timings
|System Hard Drive||Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB
120 GB, 7,200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, UltraATA/100
|Test Hard Drive I||Western Digital WD1500AD Raptor
150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB Cache, SATA/150
|Mass Storage Controller(s)||Intel 82801EB UltraATA/100 Controller (ICH5)
Silicon Image SATALink SiL3512 Driver 18.104.22.168
Promise FastTrak TX4310 Driver 2.06.1.310
Promise SATA 300TX4 Driver 22.214.171.124
|Networking||Broadcom BCM5721 On-Board Gigabit Ethernet NIC|
|Graphics Card||On-Board Graphics
ATI RageXL, 8 MB
|Performance Measurement||c’t h2benchw 3.6|
|System Software & Drivers|
|OS||Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Service Pack 1|
|Platform Driver||Intel Chipset Installation Utility 126.96.36.1995|
|Graphics Driver||Default Windows Graphics Driver|
Let’s examine the performance Seagate’s new eSATA drive and see if it’s as fast as it’s purported to be. First, let’s have a look at read access times.
The red bar represents the new eSATA external drive attached to the Promise eSATA300 TX2 card included with the drive. For reference, we highlighted in blue the results obtained with a Seagate 500 GB SATA drive, which is what the eSATA external drive contains, only attached internally via the motherboard’s SATA connector.
The result is a bit strange : we recorded a pretty large difference between the eSATA and its internal counterpart. In these access time tests, the eSATA was slowest of the group, even bested by USB and Firewire drives.
In theory, the eSATA should perform identically to the internal SATA drive if it were plugged in to one of the motherboard’s internal SATA connectors, or an external SATA connector if it comes so equipped. Since the actual hard disks are identical, the difference we see between the two is probably a result of latency added with the Promise eSATA300 TX2 card, as opposed to the motherboard’s onboard SATA controller.
Odd results indeed for what we expect to be a very high performance solution. Keep in mind, however, this test is for access time only. The really interesting numbers should appear in the read and write transfer tests.