Our test method
We test hard drives on a test system with an Intel Core i3 processor and, of course, a SATA600 port. To achieve the best performance, we enable AHCI and install the Intel RST drivers.
The majority of our test procedure consists of performance benchmarks. HD Tune and Atto perform synthetic tests with a wide range of file sizes, so we can measure the throughput speeds and access times of the hard drives. The PCMark 8 tests are most important for the purpose of the primary disk, i.e. to start and use programs. These benchmarks are based on the hard disk usage of real software. They use so-called traces, recordings of disk usage during the execution of certain tasks.
We also measured the noise levels of the drives in a soundproof box at a distance of 10 cm, both idle and under a random workload. The results of this test can be interpreted as follows: everything below 30 dB (A) is inaudibly silent at a normal listening distance. Everything below 40 dB (A) is silent to slightly audible at a normal listening distance. Drives above 40 dB (A) are becoming clearly audible. However, we measure the individual disk, so not mounted in a housing; usually you will also be more than 10 cm away from it.
Finally, we also measure the power consumption of drives, again both idle and under load.
In the charts, the Seagate discs are always green, the Toshiba's red and the WD's blue.