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Toshiba 4TB MG03ACA400 vs 3TB DT01ACA300: Is Cheaper Faster?

Last updated 2014-02-11 - Send Feedback
Related: diglloydTools, hard drive, RAID, RAID-0, storage, Toshiba

Thanks to OWC for making the Toshiba Enterprise Class MG03ACA400 hard drive available for testing. Compared to 3TB DT01ACA300

Which is faster in a RAID-0 stripe?

An enterprise-grade drive might be expected to outperform in a RAID-0 striping situation, but such assumptions are only that.

Comparing

DiskTester was used for this test, specifically the DiskTester fill-volume test.

disktester fill-volume --xfer 16MB TestVolumeName

To compare the two, a RAID-0 stripe was made of a pair of each drive inside the OWC Thunderbay. A capacity of 90% was targeted as a realistic real-world limit, resulting in a volume of capacity ~5.7TB for each pair.

Note that the comparison is for identical capacity of ~5.7TB; the 4TB drives have another 2TB that goes unused for this test. Thus the performance is tested in the real world sense of “what happens to my RAID performance starting from empty to when to 5.7TB of data is stored?”.

Since hard drives slow down as they fill up, it is generally true that larger hard drives have an advantage for the same amount of capacity utilization. However, if a smaller-capacity drive starts off inherently faster, that truism has a twist: average speed might still be higher for the smaller drive.

A300 peak speed: 378 MB/sec = 18% faster on fast side of drive
A400 peak speed: 320 MB/sec

A300 average speed: 308 MB/sec = 10% faster across 3TB
A400 average speed: 280 MB/sec

In terms of performance for those looking for the best speed at the lowest price, the 3TB consumer drives trounce the 4TB enterprise-grade drives.

RAID- stripe X 2: 4TB Toshiba MG03ACA400 vs 3TB Toshiba DT01ACA300 (5.7TB volume)
MB/sec (DiskTester fill-volume)

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