HD Tach falls firmly within the realm of synthetic benchmarks, and its transfer rate tests nicely illustrate the peak sustained throughput of each drive.
SSDs come out on top again, and by substantial margins even if you ignore the outlandish RAID and DRAM-based solutions. Many of today's solid-state drives can sustain read rates that are double those of the fastest available mechanical drives on the market.
The sequential transfer rates of mechanical hard drives have improved steadily over the years, but the jump from one drive to the next has been incremental. SSD transfer rates have risen at a considerably more rapid pace.
It's interesting to see the Raptors spread throughout the field here. Traditionally, these 10k-RPM drives have been the fastest of their times. However, in peak transfer rate tests like these, substantially higher areal densities allow 7,200-RPM desktop drives to be more competitive than one might expect given their slower spindle speeds.
Speaking of slower spindle speeds, our collection of 2.5" drives has a tough time keeping up. Mechanical hard drives have the highest sequential transfer rates on the outer edges of their platters, and 2.5" discs have a lot less outer edge area than 3.5" ones. Still, a smattering of blue has crept up into the middle of the pack.
Over the last few years, both 2.5" and 3.5" mechanical hard drives have managed to double their sustained transfer rates at the same spindle speed. Rising areal densities have helped on this front, but so has the fact that drive makers are packing more platters into each drive. More platters means more outer edge area to exploit.
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