Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup

Internals:

These are hard drives, and we don't have an awesome clean room, so the extent of disassembly that I will undertake on drives that I need to keep working for future testing is as follows:

Just like with the specifications, the component layout of these two drives is remarkably similar. This is likely due to the primary differences being with the firmware tuning of the two devices. The Red Pro (left) and Black (right) spin at the same speeds, both use advanced format (ECC at 4k increments), both achieve the same sustained transfer rates, but only the Red Pro is intended for use in larger arrays of drives. The difference boils down to added vibation compensation code baked into the drive firmware. The Red Pro is also rated for 24/7 duty, with double the load/unload cycle rating of its head pack (600,000) as compared to that of the Black (300,000).

Here is a closer look at the two PCBs:

Red Pro:

Black:

A point to bring up here is that the 5TB and 6TB models of these two lines come equipped with 128GB of DRAM cache, up from the 64MB used on smaller capacities. The Green and Red lines cap at 64MB even at those higher capacities. That doubling of DRAM is likely to make a positive dent in our test results, as 128MB is high enough to cache the entire workload of some synthetic tests.

Testing Methodology

Our tests are a mix of synthetic and real-world benchmarks. IOMeter, HDTach, HDTune, Yapt and our custom File Copy test round out the selection to cover just about all bases. If you have any questions about our tests just drop into the Storage Forum and we'll help you out!

Test System Setup

We have several storage testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and an ASUS Z87-PRO. Variance between both boards has been deemed negligible when testing SATA devices. Future PCIe and SATA device testing, including this review, take place on a new ASUS Sabertooth X99, which comes equipped with USB 3.1, M.2, and can also handle SFF-8639 devices with the proper adapter.

PC Perspective would like to thank Intel, ASUS, Corsair, Kingston, and EVGA for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

 
Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.125 GHz
Motherboard ASUS Sabertooth X99
Memory 16GB Micron DDR4 @ 3333
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 750
Video Drivers GeForce Game Ready Driver 347.88
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version N/A
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro X64 (update)
  • PCPer File Copy Test
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • IOMeter
  • YAPT
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