IBM's Deskstar 60GXP: performance secrets

With regard to hard disk drives, it has become fashionable to think that a higher STR (sustained transfer rate) implies better performance, but in reality, does the conventional wisdom hold? Rand has sent a link to an X-bit labs article that suggests...sophistry. Well, if it isn't the STR, where's the beef?
Not so long ago, for instance, IBM released a new 1.20 version of its IBM Feature Tool utility, which is now capable not only of changing the UDMA mode and the noise level but also of enabling and disabling two very interesting firmware functions: read ahead and write caching.

To tell the truth, we don't quite understand what's the purpose of providing the users with the possibility to interfere so deeply with the caching algorithms. The only idea that occurs to us is that this is one of the ways to solve the 75GXP family problem.

To make a long story short, they use WinBench99 and I/OMeter to investigate what effect read ahead and writing caching algorithms have on performance. Their conclusions? See for yourself.
Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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