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Western Digital 1TB RE3

The Western Digital RE3 is a top performer, an enterprise-class drive, performing well singly or in a striped RAID. It was a top performer in Photoshop tests.

When seeking, it is noticeably louder than Seagate 1TB ES.2, but it’s actually nice auditory feedback to know the drive is hard at work.

Noisy behavior at idle after heavy access

The RE3 has a peculiar characteristic: after some period of heavy access followed by idling, it enters some kind of noisy behavior (no data is being transferred to/from the Mac). It might do this for 30 seconds or more, then it settles down to its normal quiet self. Whether this is recalibration or self testing is unclear. A reader reports the same for the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.

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Fill-volume, Mac Pro 4-drive stripe

The graph below shows performance across the volume as it was filled to capacity with 1000 equal-sized files, written 32MB at a time (this test takes over 6.18 hours to read and write the 3.6TB volume). See Why you need more space than you need to understand the performance gradient across the drive.

This is a 4-drive stripe using the Sonnet Tempo E4P with 4 eSATA cables to a FirmTek SeriTek/2eEN4. We see near-perfect scalability over a single drive, and outstanding consistency (minimal variance) in speed at any position on the drives. See similar results from the Hitachi Deskstar E7K1000.E Saturn.E.

The graph makes it clear why you’d want a Photoshop scratch volume (partition) to be on the fast side of the drive—carve off 64GB or whatever you need there to get the 420MB/sec or so for maximum performance.

Variance of file write/read times (ms)
Red line is write, green line is read

Raw data

Test mule: MacPro quad-core 3.0GHz
SATA card: Sonnet E4P
Enclosure: FirmTek SeriTek 2eEN4
Driver: SoftRAID 3.6.7
Drive model: WD1002FBYS-01A6B0 v0.3.00c05  ("WD1002FBYS WD RE3")
Build date: 22-Sept-2008

# single drive
$ disktester run-area-test -i 5 -c 1M -t 1G  wd1
=====  Saturday, November 15, 2008 11:17:52 AM PT, volume "wd1" (931.2GB)  =====
---------------- Write Details for "wd1" (1GB/1MB, 5 iterations) ---------------
Area (929.1GB)    Slowest    Median    Fastest    Average    Range
0%          106.0      107.5     107.6      107.1      1.58
10%          104.9      106.1     106.2      105.8      1.30
20%          102.3      103.9     104.0      103.3      1.69
30%          100.1      101.8     101.9      101.4      1.77
40%           96.7       98.2      98.3       97.7      1.54
50%           93.1       94.5      94.6       94.0      1.50
60%           87.9       89.1      89.2       88.7      1.32
70%           81.3       82.3      82.5       81.9      1.23
80%           75.0       75.8      76.0       75.6      1.00
90%           66.6       66.8      66.9       66.8      0.31
100%           55.2       55.3      55.9       55.5      0.73
---------------- Read Details for "wd1" (1GB/1MB, 5 iterations) ----------------
Area (929.1GB)    Slowest    Median    Fastest    Average    Range
0%          106.4      107.3     107.5      107.0      1.12
10%          104.7      105.8     106.0      105.5      1.27
20%          102.6      103.7     103.8      103.5      1.13
30%          100.4      101.6     101.8      101.2      1.33
40%           97.0       98.0      98.1       97.7      1.11
50%           93.7       94.3      94.4       94.2      0.74
60%           88.0       89.1      89.2       88.8      1.21
70%           81.4       82.3      82.4       82.0      1.03
80%           74.9       75.2      75.8       75.2      0.90
90%           66.0       66.2      66.5       66.2      0.44
100%           55.3       55.4      55.8       55.5      0.50
------------------ Averages for "wd1" (1GB/1MB, 5 iterations) ------------------
Area (929.1GB)    Write MB/sec    Read MB/sec
0%             107.1          107.0   
10%             105.8          105.5   
20%             103.3          103.5   
30%             101.4          101.2   
40%              97.7           97.7   
50%              94.0           94.2   
60%              88.7           88.8   
70%              81.9           82.0   
80%              75.6           75.2   
90%              66.8           66.2   
100%              55.5           55.5   
Average write speed across the volume: 88.9MB/sec
Average read speed across the volume:  88.8MB/sec
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Area tests — 4 drive stripe

Mac Pro 2.8GHz (2008), Sonnet Tempo E4P, FirmTek SeriTek/2eEN4, OS X 10.5.6. Speed is identical with 1MB or 32MB transfers—excellent.

--- Averages for "WD-RE3" (4GB/1MB, 3 iterations) ---
Area (3.63TB)    Write MB/sec    Read MB/sec
0%             400            411    
10%             416            416    
20%             405            407    
30%             397            397    
40%             384            387    
50%             369            368    
60%             353            352    
70%             321            321    
80%             297            300    
90%             260            263    
100%             220            219    
Average write speed across the volume: 347MB/sec
Average read speed across the volume: 349MB/sec
--- Averages for "WD-RE3" (4GB/32MB, 3 iterations) ---
Area (3.63TB)    Write MB/sec    Read MB/sec
0%             421            421    
10%             417            417    
20%             407            408    
30%             398            399    
40%             387            389    
50%             369            371    
60%             352            353    
70%             323            321    
80%             297            300    
90%             260            264    
100%             220            221    
Average write speed across the volume: 350MB/sec
Average read speed across the volume: 351MB/sec
--- Averages for "WD-RE3" (4GB/start, 3 iterations) ---
Chunk Size Write MB/sec Read MB/sec
32K 138 147
64K 232 247
128K 387 409
256K 420 420
512K 419 418
1MB 419 420
2MB 420 420
4MB 422 419
8MB 418 420
16MB 419 421
32MB 419 421
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