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Western Digital vs Maxtor, a Comparison of the Top Models of Both Companies

written by: Jon Cevski•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/24/2011

Having trouble deciding which hard disc to buy? Here it is, Western Digital vs Maxtor, head to head in this review of their capabilities.

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    The battle begins Western Digital vs Maxtor...

    For this test I will compare the two “Eco" versions of hard discs, which have lower than average power consumption and are quieter than a normal HDD. The Maxtor Hard Disc Company is now known as Seagate so don't be confused by the name of the second hard disc.

    First, from Western Digital the Western Digital Caviar Green, a 2 TB HDD with a variable rotation speeds between 5400rpm and 7200rpm and a 32MB cache. Then, the Maxtor or Seagate Barracuda LP (or low-power) also 2TB, fixed 5900rpm rotational speed, and 32MB cache.

    The first comparison is the Average Sustained transfer Rate Read (The average amount of data read from the hard disc, measured in MB in one second or MB/s) which is 90.9 for the Seagate Barracuda LP and 76.3 for the Western Digital Caviar Green; note that here more is better. So, it's 1:0 for Seagate.

    The second comparison is Average Sustained Transfer Rate Write (The average amount of data written to the hard disc, measured in MB in one second or MB/s), and this one also goes to Seagate which has 90.8 MB/s compared to the 76.5 MB/s of the Western Digital HDD. The score is now 2:0.

    The next test is Random Access Read (Measures the time it takes to read data from random parts of the HDD expressed in ms). In this test less is more. Western Digital Caviar Green wins because it takes only 13.9 ms compared to the 13.2 for the Maxtor disc.

    And this next test evens the score. It's the Random Access Write (Measures the time it takes to write data to random parts of the HDD expressed in ms) which goes to Western Digital with a substantial difference of 6.7 ms opposed by 10.0 ms for the Maxtor HDD.

    The winner of this competition, Western Digital vs Maxtor, will be decided by the Burst Read (MB/s) test. The Seagate Barracuda LP reads at 196.6 MB/s and the winner Western Digital Caviar Green burst read speed is 218 MB/s. Read on for the conclusion...

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    Western Digital vs Maxtor.. Who is the winner?

    Both Western Digital Caviar Green and Seagate (or Maxtor) Barracuda LP are great hard discs, designed to consume less power and to run quiet, but for my money I would prefer the Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB. So what if it has greater power consumption or makes more noise or costs more. The performance leap is considerable and worth every penny.

    And here are the stats:

    • Average Sustained Transfer Rate Read of 112.3 MB/s
    • Average Sustained Transfer Rate Write of 112.2 MB/s
    • Random Access Read 7.6 ms
    • Random Access Write 5.0 ms
    • Burst Read of 213.7 MB/s.

    With these performance attributes this hard disc can be compared in some aspects with a special hard disc, developed for the sole purpose of satisfying the gaming community, called the Western Digital VelosiRaptor. The VelosiRaptor has 10.000 rpm and is the fastest mechanical hard disc drive but only has 600GB of memory and costs almost double the amount of these 2TB hard discs. For the moment, the only real competition for the VelociRaptor is the SSD.

    SSDs (or Solid State Discs) have much better writing and reading speed characteristics, but the technology used for building them is still too expensive. They do not have movable parts but work in a similar way to USB memory sticks. Also today's SSD models have small memory storage capacity compared to the mechanical hard discs.

    When deciding which hard disc to buy, first ask yourself what is going to be your main hard disc function. Are you going to use it in a gaming configuration or just need a lot of space for all of your files? Do you need speed or a lot of space? Greater speed and/or larger space equals bigger price tag. The perfect choice for a gaming PC is the SSD or the Western Digital VelosiRaptor, but for a PC build where a lot of hard disc space is required then results show that the best choice and the winner of the battle of Western Digital vs Maxtor is the Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB which has the best speed to capacity ratio.