Test Setup: Explanations
We were looking for a test system which would be easy to handle. The little motherboard from IWill makes use of the Intel i810 chipset, which includes both on-board graphics and a decent UltraDMA/66 controller. The graphics chip is certainly not able to impress anybody, but it is enough for the purpose of these tests, as we want to show the differences between different hard drives. We could have used a PCI IDE controller, but as the on-chip solutions from Intel have always been among the very best, there is no necessity to do so.
Intel's Celeron 500 is a cheap and fast processor, which provides enough performance for our hard drive tests. Even though the CPU runs at only 66 MHz FSB, the system provides the same IDE interface performance as with i820 or i840 systems and a CPU running at 133 MHz system clock. Finally, the IDE controller also works with the same speed as the PCI bus (33 MHz).
Of course we made use of Intel's latest Busmaster drivers for Windows 98 and Windows 2000. Just a little hint: You should know that there is no chance of removing them once they are installed. Even today, the Intel storage drivers still come without uninstalling options.
IWill's W100 motherboard provides one header for a thermal sensor (called thermistor). It was originally meant to monitor the system temperature. Nevertheless, it can be abused to measure the temperature of certain surfaces (e.g. a CDROM or hard drive). We placed the sensor on the top and all four sides of each hard drive in order to get its temperature. Usually we got differing values from the top and a side. However, we always took the highest result, even if we got it at the side of the drive.