Friday, February 27, 2009

PCMark 05 Benchmark Test Results

I digressed from the task at hand to run some tests on the PcMark 05 benchmarking program. The results are shown in order of testing. High score is best.
First, I ran the program with the initial file layout, and a minimal install. Not surprisingly the HDD score is lowest, because the drive is fragmented.
Initial setup: 4453 points. No defrag.
After Windows Disk Defrag: 4448 points. This is the recommended configuration. The hard drive has been defragmented using the standard WDD program.
After JKDefrag -a5: 4493 points. This is the best result, obtained by moving all the files to the start of the drive, leaving the rest of the drive completely open.
After JkDefrag -a 3: 4474 points. The second best result, obtained using the standard configuration adopted by JkDefrag, with a 1% open space at the start of the drive, followed by another 1% after the "program" files.
After JkDefrag -a 6: 4471 points. All the files have been moved to the slow end of the drive, with almost no performance penalty.
In theory, the last result would be the worst result if actual file performance was being measured, since all the files are in the slowest part of the drive. Conversely, it would be the best result if the trace results were being used, since the entire start of the drive would be available for reading or writing, and so it would match the reference system perfectly.
Now look at the actual performance graph of the drive, measured by HD Tune. There are some clear sectors at the beginning of the drive that run much slower. Presumably these sectors were damaged and have been swapped out for other sectors, but it is impossible to know for sure without an inspection of the drive that I don't have tools to perform.
These "glitch" sectors may account for the drop in 20 points (0.4%), but in any case the overall variation between high and low is all within a 1% range, and so could well fall within a measuring error.
My conclusion: the benchmark does not significantly determine any effects caused by file placement or fragmentation when the drive has a minimal install, i.e. just Windows XP, DirectX and the PCMark 05 software. So MaximumPC's conclusions are flawed because of the way they measured the effects of the defrag program. The PCMark benchmarks don't claim to measure the effects of fragmentation: they are designed to compare the hardware configurations of a wide variety of PCs. "The Disk Defrag Difference" was a good idea. Hopefully my tests will give a better result. We can only be patient and see what transpires.

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