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Thoroughly testing hard disk drives may require time and patience but that's just about it. Of course that doesn't mean that one must take it lightly, at least not when people base their decision on your results. True many choose to only use 2 or 3 benchmarking suits in order to measure the performance of a drive or drives since quite honestly most benchmarking suites do tend to agree with each other (so it's not really wrong) but we always like to take things a step further not because we have to but because we want to be almost 100% certain of the results we get and post in our charts (one can never be 100% certain about anything).
So in this kind of reviews we will use a total of 6 different benchmarking suites in an effort to bring you the most accurate results across the board. Now the only reason why i say effort is because real-world usage is not always on par with what results one gets by running several benchmarks on a drive and that's mainly because there are many variables at work from ambient temperatures to hardware configurations and even firmware versions. The benchmarking applications we use are the AIDA64 suite (former Everest Pro), HD Tune Professional, HD Tach RW, ATTO, Sisoftware Sandra Pro and the Crystal Disk Mark 64bit. These benchmarking tools are the best in what they do and as you will also see later on their results more or less agree. Each test is performed a total of 6 times and then the average is recorded into the charts. Temperatures are recorded using Hard Disk Sentinel and after 45 minutes of continuous testing in a 23 degrees Celsius temperature controlled room. Finally we also use an ExTech HD600 dBA meter on each of the drives (5cm away) in order to accurately record their noise levels, although if you don't turn off all system fans when doing so it's quite possible that you will never even hear the drive. The operating system as usual is a fresh installation of Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Service Pack 1 with every update installed up until the 8th of February 2013.
Since there are many people out there (mostly professionals and enterprise users) who have asked if it's possible to include RAID 0 tests with our hard disk drive reviews we decided to do so and so this will always be the case (providing of course we get more than a single drive) with all the available drives we have in our disposal. All RAID 0 tests are performed on the LSI MegaRAID 9265-8i SAS/SATA III 6Gb/s card and with different configurations in both ATTO and Crystal Disk Mark since with normal single drive settings the results are far from accurate.