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Samsung S1 Mini Review

I just purchased Samsung's small 1,8" external Samsung S1 mini. I ruled out all other 2,5" and 3,5" external drives after witnessing the Samsung S1 mini's amazing durability on Youtube.

After I freshly unpacked the 200Gb Samsung S1 I discovered that it comes with FAT32 pre-formatted. Plugged into the iMac i5 the drive worked pretty fast out of the box. First - lets peek at those FAT32 benchmarks we are all looking for:

FAT 32 (512 Byte - 32 KiB Clustersize)

Xbench 4K Cluster Size Sequential Write - 14.70 MB/sec Read 3.90 MB/sec

Xbench 256K Cluster Size Sequential Write - 15.73 MB/sec Read 17.12 MB/sec

Samsung S1 Mini on top the Seagate Freeagent Go

The iMac's April 2010 Seagate does 63.08Mb/sec in Disk Speed in comparison to the Samsung S1 mini. After having done that test, the question arises should we format the Samsung S1 mini with HFS or HFS+. Albeit HFS beeing unable to handle files bigger than 2 Gigabytes it seems to be more compatible to other Operating Systems because it's been there since 1985, but since it saves small files in larger 16K block sizes it unecessary squanders space and eventually slows down the disk access time. Snow Leopard even started to limit write access to HFS drives. This leaves HFS+ Journaled with its efficient 512 bytes logical sector size as only the feasable option on the table. Our freshly formated HFS+ drive will be tested against the same tools from the first test.

[easychart type="horizbar" height="100" title="HFS vs HFS Journaled" groupnames="HFS, HFS Journaled" groupcolors="9CE9FF,31BAE8" valuenames="4K Read,256K Read,4K Write,256K Write" group1values="4.03,17.5,14.59,15.47" group2values="4.14,17.60,28.21,15.80" ]

HFS+ Journaled (512 Byte)

Xbench 4K Cluster Size Sequential Write - 28.21 MB/sec Read 4.14 MB/sec

Xbench 256K Cluster Size Sequential Write - 15.80 MB/sec Read 17.60 MB/sec

Since this was only marginally faster, I turned off the journaling functionality of HFS+ and reformatted which means no more recovery from unintended power failures, thus having a 2nd backup for sure.

HFS+ Non-Journaled (512 Byte Clustersize)

Xbench 4K Cluster Size Sequential Write - 14.59 MB/sec Read 4.03 MB/sec

Xbench 256K Cluster Size Sequential Write - 15.47 MB/sec Read 17.50 MB/sec

We see there's a drastic drop in 4K Write Speed, I even ran the test twice in order to be sure.

To finish this review, I tested the Samsung S1 mini with Microsoft's NTFS Filesystem. Under MacOSX its performance was very poor which was of no great surprise since the Tuxera NTFS driver I use is a 3rd party solution and NTFS is not designed to work on a MacOS. On Windows this was another story where HD Tach threw a 24.4 Mb/sec average read with 25.7ms random access time and a staggering 30.4 Mb/sec burst speed. These results are very comparable to the results of the drive running on the HFS+ Journaled filesystem, since realworld results of HFS+ Journaled were also 24.4 Mb/s when copying a 30GB Folder containing 5000 files. The Xbench results seem a little too low to be valid.

[easychart type="horizbar" height="50" title="NTFS vs HFS Journaled vs FAT32" groupnames="NTFS, HFS Journaled, FAT32" groupcolors="9CE9FF,31BAE8,1A6491" valuenames="Read" group1values="24.4" group2values="17.6" group3values="17.12" ]

Sources  http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~legault/miniproj-736.pdf (PDF)  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2355

Samsung S1 Mini Review
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