Automatic Acoustic Management

Since I was poking around in my computer BIOS over the last few days during a rebuild of my Dell desktop back and forth from Windows XP & Vista – I thought that I’d partake in a quick experiment to see exactly how much of a performance difference turning on or off Automatic Acoustic Management would be. I’ve always had it enabled since I did my first install a few years back, but since I use this Dell 9100 for both my project studio as well as my day-to-day Web surfing/Home office computer – silence is golden! So a few things first…

  • I didn’t try to optimize performance (not the point of this 5 minute effort)
  • It’s not about the quality of the HD Tune product (or other Hard Drive benchmark tests)
  • Not about getting the best hard drive performance in general (although I now have a few of my computer benchmarks to compare!)
  • Tests were run in Accurate mode with 128 KB block size
  • Not a comparison of Vista versus XP (just happens that I’m running Vista right now… and my media server is running XP64)

So what did I find out?

With AAM turned on:

AAM On

With AAM turned off:

AAM Off

My 5 minute conclusion would lean towards obviously slower access times – but in the real world? Not a lot… A tad noticeably slower – but I’m mostly interested in bandwidth transfer (after all, it’s a RAID 0 SATA configuration in the first place…) since the real workload is digital audio. In my case, I’m keeping the acoustic management turned on since it’s an audible difference for sure.

For grins, though – I decided to give my custom built ASUS media server a run with the same benchmark (it’s in the basement so hard drive noise doesn’t matter…)

Asus HD Tune

Whew… Maybe I should bring it out of the basement and swap it with my desktop! Almost twice as fast transfer rates and access times! And it doesn’t seem to trail off in performance at the edges of the drives… (Okay, yeah – I said drives… It’s also a RAID 0 setup, but with 4 SATA drives!) And who said motherboard RAID didn’t perform? I’m pretty happy with my 220 MB/sec peak transfer rates… (With an 8MB block size it went up to 323 MB/sec!)

Perhaps it’s just time for a new desktop!

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