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WD360GD versus WD740GD Review

This is a short review comparing the WD360GD versus WD740GD Raptor hard drives in a RAID-0 configuration.

The Western Digital 'Raptor' hard drives are the fastest SATA hard drives due to their 10,000 RPM spindle speed. As of September 2005, there are two models on the market, the 36GB WD360GD, and the 74GB WD740GD. Both drives feature 8MB of cache, SATA 150 interface, and an amazing five-year manufacturer warranty. The main question of this article is, how much faster is the WD740GD than the WD360GD?

I had the opportunity to test this first-hand when I upgraded my system to the WD740GD. My system was an Athlon XP Barton 2500+ on an Asus A7N8X Deluxe motherboard with 1GB PC2700 memory. I had two WD360GD drives in a RAID-0 configuration running off the on-board Silicon Image 3112 controller. RAID-0 stripes data between the drives for increased performance, and yields a total drive size of 72GB drive. The drive was partitioned as a single, system partition with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

I used Norton Ghost 2003 to create a backup of the partition to a third 200GB IDE drive. Then, I installed the two WD740GD drives and configured them as RAID-0. I booted the system using the Norton Ghost Recovery CD, remembering to load the Silicon Image 3112 XP/NT driver from a floppy disk by pressing F6 during the boot sequence. Ghost was able to resize the image to the larger drive size of 148GB. When configuring the restore process, I unchecked the boxes to restore the MBR and original disk signature. After the restore completed, I removed the CD, and the system booted into Windows correctly off the new drives.

Note that Ghost officially does not support backup and restore of RAID images. Their support documentation does say that it can work in some limited sitations. Luckily, it worked flawlessly in this configuration.

Benchmarks

To benchmark the drives, I ran SiSoftware Sandra (Win32 x86) 2004.10.9.89 with each drive model, and also with the Western Digital 200GB drive (PATA 7200 RPM 8MB cache). Below are the results.

2x WD740GD RAID-0 2x WD360GD RAID-0 WD2000JB

Buffered Read110 MB/s106 MB/s89 MB/s
Sequential Read105 MB/s80 MB/s53 MB/s
Random Read9 MB/s7 MB/s8 MB/s
Buffered Write86 MB/s67 MB/s15 MB/s
Sequential Write92 MB/s79 MB/s53 MB/s
Random Write17 MB/s12 MB/s14 MB/s
Average Access Time6 ms (estimated)8 ms (estimated)7 ms (estimated)
Total Size138GB69GB186GB
Free Space90GB, 100%20GB, 100%120GB, 100%

Read/Write Power (ea.)8.4 Watts9.75 Watts7.75W
Idle Noise (ea.)32 dBa32 dBa35 dBA

The WD740GD beats the WD360GD in every performance category, by average of about twenty percent. The buffered read performance does not vary much between the drives, and approaches the theoretical maximum of the 32-bit 33Mhz PCI bus, which is 133MB/second. The WD740GD drives, in a RAID-0 configuration, support sequential read/write performance fully double that of the single WD2000JB drives, and about twenty percent faster than the WD360GD. This type of performance is important for working with large files. The results I discovered here correlate to the results found at StorageReview.com, which indicate performance similar to expensive SCSI drives.

Other Aspects

The WD740GD also supports TCQ (tagged command queueing), which is supposed to primarily improve random access patterns. This aspect is not covered by this review. Subjectively, the pair of WD740GD seemed somewhat quieter than the pair of WD360GD drives. While I was testing the drives, they were outside the computer case where they had no airflow. When I picked up one drive, it slightly burned my fingers. The drive temperature must have reached about 120-140F.

Conclusion

Using a backup program like Norton Ghost 2003 can give you peace of mind when running drives in RAID-0. Remember to provide sufficient cooling for the drives. The WD740GD drive not only has more storage space than the WD360GD, but is also about twenty percent faster.

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Created 2005-09-25, Last Modified 2011-07-24, © Shailesh N. Humbad
Disclaimer: This content is provided as-is. The information may be incorrect.