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The Hard Disk Drive Short Stroke Guide Rev. 2.0
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WinBench 99 Version 2.0

Business Disk WinBench 99

Short stroking appears to improve the performance of the 2 TB Western Digital Caviar Black by 35-45%, for both the first partition as well as the remaining partition. Obviously, short stroking would also benefit the remaining 1.4 TB partition by reducing the time taken by random accesses. However, the short-stroked partitions still could not match the performance of the 600 GB Western Digital VelociRaptor.


High-End Disk WinBench 99

In the High-End simulation though, the short-stroked Caviar Black edged out the VelociRaptor. Even the slower 1.4 TB partition performed much better than the original Caviar Black, and came very close to the performance level of the VelociRaptor. So, does the short-stroked Caviar Black really faster than the VelociRaptor? Let's take a look at the range of disk transfer rates...



Disk Transfer Rate

This chart shows you the range of platter-to-buffer transfer rates from the innermost track to the outermost track. In other words, it shows you the range of disk transfer rates of the hard drives (from minimum and maximum).

From the WinMark results above, one might surmise that short stroking does, in fact, greatly improve the drive's overall performance. This chart shows why.

Short stroking the Caviar Black restricted its transfer rate range to a very narrow band of 134-146 MB/s. The VelociRaptor was not short-stroked so it has a much wider range of 101-153 MB/s. The short-stroked Caviar Black, and the VelociRaptor would therefore have an average transfer rate of 140 MB/s and 127 MB/s respectively.

The WinMark results exposes a flaw in these benchmarks. They tested the entire partition, even though in real world usage, a partition would never be completely used up. In a real world situation where just 100 GB is used in each drive, the actual performance benefit from short-stroking would be far less significant than it appears from the WinMark results. In fact, the VelociRaptor would likely perform better than the short-stroked Caviar Black, as the platter profile from the previous page shows.


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What Is Short Stroking?
Short Stroke Methods
Which Method Is Better?


What Effect Does It Have On Performance?
The Testbed & Testing Methodology


Platter Data Transfer Rate Profiles
   - The Original Profiles
   - After Short Stroking

   - What Does This Mean?


WinBench 99 Test Results
Disk Transfer Rate Results


IO Meter Random Access Results


IO Meter Sequential Access Results


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