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LinuxPlanet: Hardware Notes: Hard Drive Benchmarking With iozone

Feb 22, 2001, 14:32 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lou Grinzo)

"Try this experiment some time on an unsuspecting geek friend:"

"Ask your unwitting subject about the performance of his or her newest computer, and I bet you'll be treated to a litany of specs: how many megahertz or gigahertz the processor and graphics chip are, how much memory is on the motherboard and the graphics board, what kind and size of cache the CPU uses, etc. But nowhere in this recital will your friend tell you anything specific about the hard drives in the system--no data transfer rates, no platter RPM values, no drive cache sizes, etc. For many computer users, even the hardest of the hard core, disk drives are "just there," and any detail beyond the drive being EIDE or SCSI, or (possibly) UDMA 66 or UDMA 100 or some particular sub-flavor of SCSI, is a mystery."

"This is a shame, and all the more curious, since modern desktop computers, particularly those in a mainstream setting, are typically more sensitive to the speed of their disk subsystem than they are to their processor speed. Except for the people who spend all day generating fractals or applying graphics filters to huge image files, very few of us are up against a processor speed limit. Yet several times every day most of us have to wait for a disk drive. If nothing else, notice how much time it takes your system to boot or compile a kernel, and how much disk I/O it does during that process, and ask yourself how much of the delay is due to the processor and how much of it is the system waiting for disk I/O to complete."

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