Tom's Storage Charts 2009: A New Test Environment

Performance: Old Versus New System

While the throughput of hard drives was a bit slower on the old system due to the performance bottlenecks of the aging Promise controller we used, the difference in I/O performance was more significant. We used two popular hard drives to compare hard drive I/O performance on the old and new storage test systems, and we found a consistent performance difference of at least 30%:

Clearly, the old storage test system, based on a Xeon Nocona 3.6 GHz processor, wasn’t fast enough to make the most out of hard drive I/O performance potential. Whether we used a 7,200 RPM 3.5” Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 drive or the 10,000 RPM 2.5” VelociRaptor by Western Digital, the drives deliver much better I/O performance on the Core i7 system. We can only speculate about the reasons, as even the older Promise controller supports NCQ, but only Intel’s ICH10R also supports AHCI mode, which typically delivers slightly better performance.