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hdd review
Posted:2006-03-14 By Asboulougia
Number of View:38320


By :Asboulougia


xtreview is your : Video card - cpu - memory - Hard drive - power supply unit source

hdd review

As the space need still groung up we have decided to write this hdd review where we will check most hdd availble today in the market

As of this writing, the 250 gigabyte capacity point represents a sweet spot at which consumers receive the most space per dollar spent. All five major SATA manufacturers offer a 250 GB model with a street price that hovers around $100.

All drives in this roundup feature two or three platters and incorporate a native SATA interface running at either 1.5 or 3.0 Gb/sec (remember, however, that this figure represents a ceiling rather than achieved rates). Some manufacturers outfit their budget-oriented drives with 8 megabytes of buffer while two have doubled cache to roomier 16-megabyte standard.

Two firms offer 4-pin molex style power connectors in addition to the 15-pin SATA standard while the other three have gone 15-pin only

 And Here is the list of drive used in our  hdd review 

Hitachi Deskstar T7K250

  • 3.0 Gb/sec with NCQ
  • 125 GB/platter
  • 8.5 millisecond seek time
  • 4- & 15-pin power
  • 8-megabyte buffer
  • 3-year warranty

Currently Hitachi\'s highest-density offering; the firm\'s flagship Deskstar 7K500 uses 5 100 GB platters.

Maxtor DiamondMax 10

       1.5 Gb/sec with NCQ

  • 100 GB/platter
  • 9.0 millisecond seek time
  • 16-megabyte buffer
  • 15-pin power only
  • 3-year warranty

Only slightly smaller than the flagship 300 GB DiamondMax 10. This family will continue to represent Maxtor sentry into the mid-capacity sector following the introduction of the high-capacity DiamondMax 11.

Samsung SpinPoint P120

  • 3.0 Gb/sec with NCQ
  • 125 GB/platter
  • 8.9 millisecond seek time
  • 8-megabyte buffer
  • 15-pin power only
  • 3-year warranty

This 250 GB offering is also Samsung\'s current flagship. Though a 400 GB successor has been announced, it is not yet readily available in the North American market.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.9


  • 3.0 Gb/sec with NCQ
  • 125 GB/platter
  • 11.0 millisecond seek time
  • 8-megabyte buffer
  • 15-pin power only
  • 5-year warranty

Seagate remains the only manufacturer to back its entire line with an across-the-board 5-year warranty. The 7200.9 family\'s areal density varies from 125 GB/platter to 160 GB/platter.

Wd Caviar WD2500KS


  • 3.0 Gb/sec (no NCQ)
  • 83 GB/platter
  • 8.9 millisecond seek time
  • 16-megabyte buffer
  • 4- & 15-pin power
  • 3-year warranty

The only drive in the roundup that still uses 83-gigabyte platters, a density that first hit the market nearly three years ago.

Access Time and Transfer Rate

For diagnostic purposes only on our hdd review, we measures the following low-level parameters:

Average Read Access Time- An average of 25,000 random read accesses of a single sector each conducted through IPEAK SPT\'s AnalyzeDisk suite. The high sample size permits a much more accurate reading than most typical benchmarks deliver and provides an excellent figure with which one may contrast the claimed access time (claimed seek time + the drive spindle speed\'s average rotational latency) provided by manufacturers.

Average Write Access Time- An average of 25,000 random write accesses of a single sector each conducted through IPEAK SPT\'s AnalyzeDisk suite. The high sample size permits a much more accurate reading than most typical benchmarks deliver. Due to differences in read and write head technology, seeks involving writes generally take

WB99 Disk/Read Transfer Rate - Begin- The sequential transfer rate attained by the outermost zones in the hard disk. The figure typically represents the highest sustained transfer rate a drive delivers.

WB99 Disk/Read Transfer Rate - End- The sequential transfer rate attained by the innermost zones in the hard disk. The figure typically represents the lowest sustained transfer rate a drive delivers.


The Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 weighs in with a measured access time of 12.8 ms and continues the line\'s tradition of leading the pack in this low-level measure. A bit more surprising, however, is the Seagate Barracuda 7200.9\'s placing at 13.3 ms. Traditionally, Seagate\'s drives have lagged somewhat in the access time department. Here, however, it appears that relieving the drive of an arm or two brings the 250-gigabyte unit in line with that of the competition. When it comes to write accesses, the Maxtor DiamondMax 10 mimics the high score turned in by the MaXLine III .Even so, its important to note that write accesses are heavily mitigated by buffering- the Maxtor\'s lagging score here should not significantly affect high-level performance.

Gaming Performance

FarCry, a first-person shooter, remains infamous for its lengthy map loads when switching levels.

The Sims 2, though often referred to as a "people simulator," is in its heart a strategy game and spends considerable time accessing the Disk when loading houses and lots.

Finally, World of Warcraft represents the testbed\'s role-playing entry; it issues disk accesses when switching continents/dungeons as well as when loading new textures into Ram on the fly.


The Deskstar and DiamondMax jointly lead the pack in our trace of FarCry\'s level-loading and gameplay disk access.wd carviars comes in just behind the Hitachi and Maxtor. Seagate manages to climb out of the cellar here, besting Samsung\'s SpinPoint to claim fourth place.


Hitachi\'s drive manages to put just a bit of distance between itself and the Maxtor in our Sims 2 suite. WD again occupies the middle while Samsung\'s drive makes a comeback and wrests the fourth slot from the Barracuda.

Now our World of Warcraft test, the Caviar claims the number one spot. Always a contender, Hitachi\'s Deskstar trails a bit. The DiamondMax lands a notch behind the leading pair with the offerings from Seagate and Samsung coming in ever so slightly behind.

Multi-User Performance

Unlike single-user machines (whether a desktop or workstation), servers undergo highly random, non-localized access. we simulates these multi-user loads using IOMeter. The IOMeter File Server pattern balances a majority of reads and minority of writes spanning requests of varying sizes.

IOMeter also facilitates user-configurable load levels by maintaining queue levels (outstanding I/Os) of a specified depth. Our tests start with the File Server pattern with a depth of 1 and double continuously until depth reaches 128 outstanding I/Os.

Drives with any sort of command queuing abilities will always be tested with such features enabled. Unlike single-user patterns, multi-user loads always benefit when requests are reordered for more efficient retrieval

 Drives featuring NCQ clearing outgun WD\'s offering, the sole unit in the roundup that fails to offer SATA\'s command reordering functionality. Leading the group at very high queue depths isMaxtor s DiamondMax 10... no other contender comes close when concurrency exceeds 32.

More practically, however, any 7200 RPM drive regularly experiencing queue depths greater than 8 is being overworked. Under such a purview, Seagate barracuda 7200.9 offers the best overall performance, competitive right out the gate and scaling relatively well. The Deskstar T7K250\'s NCQ imple

Noise and Power Measurements

Idle Noise- The sound pressure emitted from a drive measured at a distance of 3 millimeters. The close-field measurement allows for increased resolution between drive sound pressures and eliminates interactions from outside environmental noise. Note that while the measurement is an A-weighted decibel score that weighs frequencies in proportion to human ear sensitivity, a low score does not necessarily predict whether or not a drive will exhibit a high-pitch whine that some may find intrusive. Conversely, a high score does not necessarily indicate that the drive exhibits an intrusive noise profile.

Operating Power Dissipation- The power consumed by a drive when idle and when performing fully random seeks. In the relatively closed environment of a computer case, power dissipation correlates highly with drive temperature. As a drive dissipates more power, it increases a chassis\'s internal temperature by a greater amount.

Startup (Peak) Power Dissipation- The maximum power dissipated a drive upon initial power-on. This figure is relevant when a system features an array of several drives. Though most controllers feature logic that can stagger the spin-up of individual drives, peak power dissipation may nonetheless be of concern in very large arrays or in cases where a staggered start is not feasible. Generally speaking, drives hit peak power draw at different times on the 5V and 12V rails. The 12V peak usually occurs in the midst of initial spin-up. The 5V rail, however, usually hits maximum upon actuator intialization.


Samsung\'s SpinPoint and Seagate Barracuda offer the lowest idle noise floors of the five drives in the roundup, offering objectively-measured scores of about 39 A-weighted decibels measured from a distance of 3 millimeters. The DiamondMax and Deskstar weigh in about 1.5 to 2 decibels higher while Wd Caviar brings up the rear with a measured score significantly greater than the competition. Subjectively speaking, however, the WD2500KS\'s idle noise is hardly something worth sounding an alarm over. Its 43.6 decibels remains inaudible over most fans.

Again subjectively, seek noises for the five drives are all dull and muted. The Deskstar and DiamondMax\'s noises are, perhaps, just a wee bit more substantive that the others.


Despite its three-platter design, the Caviar WD2500KS leads the pack in dissipating just 9.4 watts under a full load. At idle, the WD\'s 6.8 watts more or less ties that of the Barracuda 7200.9 and trails only the Deskstar T7K250. The Deskstar, however, swallows up significantly more power when seeking. The SpinPoint P120 offers the second-best overall power profile, though the Barracuda makes a convincing case.Maxtos diamond 10 rests on the floor, with the highest marks in both idle and seek power draw measures.


Only the Deskstar and Barracuda stand out in our peak power draw assessment. Hitachi\'s unit continues the firms category-leading tradition while the Seagate continues to draw significantly more current than other drives.



Much of the data compiled for this hdd review underscores some trends already discerned by knowledgeable readers - features such as a faster 3 Gb/sec interface and Native Command Queuing do not necessarily translate into a real, measurable performance gain.

That said, a summary of what we have found in putting each of these five drives to the test:

Hitachi Deskstar T7K250: The Deskstar 7K500 is easily the fastest 7200 RPM drive around . A bit gets lost in translation, however, when moving down to the 250-gigabyte model. The T7K250 lags the WD Caviar WD2500KS by a bit in the Office DriveMark and places fourth overall. Hitachi\'s drive finishes first or second in all other performance tests, however, and as a result is the fastest overall drive featured in this roundup. Its seek noise and active power draw, however, remain on the high side when contrasted with the competition.(Winner of our hdd review today) 

Maxtor DiamondMax 10: This aging design seems to have a lot of pep remaining, especially evidenced by the smaller but more recently revised 250 GB drive\'s besting of the slightly larger (but older) 300 GB flagship. Maxtor\'s drives tend to enjoy a cost advantage... at the time of this writing, it is the only unit in the roundup with a best-case price tag resting just under $100. A decent performer, the DiamondMax 10\'s power dissipation levels and seek noises, like the Deskstar, sit slightly above the rest of the pack. (Best hdd review price)

Samsung SpinPoint P120: Samsung\'s flagship no longer stands contrasted against competing units twice its size. In our productivity suite, the drive offers decent performance, placing near the top in both the Office and High-End tests. For gaming purposes, however, Samsung\'s design languishes near the bottom of the charts. On the plus side, even when going up against same-size competition, the SpinPoint\'s noise levels and power consumption are among the best around. (winner hdd review Noise)

Seagate Barracuda 7200.9: In its flagship 500 GB incarnation, the Barracuda 7200.9 is a middling performer at best. The loss of half its capacity and half its buffer leaves the 250-gigabyte \'Cuda a relatively poor performer. Though it offers environmental and gaming performance on par with the SpinPoint, Seagate\'s drive does not match Samsung\'s strong productivity scores. The Barracuda\'s server scores, on the other hand, lead the pack. No discussion of the 7200.9 is complete without mentioning that Seagate remains the only manufacturer to back its SATA drives with the same robust 5-year warranty that protects its SCSI line. While we do not necessarily believe that a longer warranty automatically translates into a more reliable product, it is clear that many readers do- if you are looking for peace of mind, get a Barracuda.

(winner warrantly hdd review) 

Western Digital Caviar WD2500KS: The WD2500KS is built on an older platform, evidenced most clearly by its less dense, 83-gigabyte platters. It nonetheless offers above-average performance and manages to capture the number one slot in the Office DriveMark as well as our World of Warcraft trace. The drive\'s idle noise floor is not nearly as loud as objective measurements may suggest. It also offers the coolest overall operation of all drives in the roundup. The Caviar is the only review drive that does not offer NCQ - while this is no drawback in single-user applications, the drive\'s scores suffer under multi-user patterns. (winner overall of hdd review)

We would be remiss without noting that, overall, performance differences between all five contenders remain relatively small. These days, 250 gigabyte SATA drives are commodities; all players have honed their offerings down to levels where distinguishing between them on the basis of performance, environmental factors, and price can be quite difficult. Absolute fastest? Hitachi. Least expensive? Maxtor. Quietest? Samsung. None of these factors matter? Choose your favorite brand.

As demonstrated by drives from Hitachi, Seagate, and Western Digital, one does give up more than sheer space when moving down to a commodity 250 gigabyte drive from a capacious flagship. Also, Maxtor and Samsung both have larger units right around the corner. Keep this in mind when allocating your budget towards various components... a bit more dough gets you more capacity and more speed.

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hdd review

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