Western Digital 120 GB SE 8 MB Cache 40 GB vs 60 GB Platters

After happily receiving my second Western Digital Special Edition 8 MB Cache (WD1200JB) hard drive and mailing the the rebate forms I compared its sector count to my original drive. The sector count is significant for these drives because it indicates if the drive is based on 40 GB platters, or the newer 60 GB platters. I had read that the 60 GB/platter drive was preferable because the higher density platters of the drive gave it better performance. But how much better? And if I received the 40 GB/platter drive, should I be disappointed and return it?

I was happy to see that my new drive was based on the 60 GB/platter technology. I
cloned the disk using Norton Ghost and proceeded to run some rough benchmarks on
the two drives. Remember, these results are for the drives in the system I use everyday

and should not be compared to any other benchmarks on the net. Their purpose is only
to illustrate the difference between the 40 and 60 GB/platter Western Digital WD1200JB
hard drives.

Some Information:

Sector Counts:

40 GB/platter: 234375000

60 GB/platter: 234441648


AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (Palomino)

Epox 8RDA Nforce2 Motherboard

768 MB PC2100 DDR RAM

Windows XP Professional SP1

Gentoo Linux (kernel 2.4.20)


Benchmark 40 GB/platter 60 GB/platter
Sisoft Sandra 2003: 27317 29854
hdparm (disk) 39.80 39.68
hdparm (buffer) 353.59 415.58

From these simple tests we see that the drive based on the 60 GB/platter technology is a
small amount faster in the Windows benchmark. Running hdparm in Linux shows the
same sustained transfer speeds when reading data from the disk. The most interesting
piece of information came from the hdparm buffer reads, where the 60 GB/platter drive
had buffer reads almost 16% faster than the 40 GB/platter drive. Since it has an 8
megabyte buffer, this drive could theoretically take a large lead over the previous
generation in speed tests, but in most cases the speed difference will not be noticeable.

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