Introduction

When Hitachi first introduced their 500GB hard disk drives, we thought that it would take forever for them to actually begin manufacturing the units, which was not the case. We gave Hitachi the credit for being the first manufacturer to put out the largest hard disk drive ever, but we couldn’t really gauge its performance, since there were really no other drives to which to compare it.

Last month, Seagate officially announced their 7200.9 line of desktop hard disk drives and we had a chance to look at their largest unit in the line, the 500GB Barracuda. During our tech briefing with the 7200.9 product manager, we learned that the line was the end result of combining the two previous lines, the 7200.7 and the 7200.8. The joining of forces led to the 7200.9 name and included all of the capacities from the previous two.

Again, we could not really compare Seagate’s 500GB unit with any of the other drives that we had benchmarked and so, we were determined to get our hands on the largest units on the market today. Hitachi and Seagate were held to have the largest capacities at 500GB and we threw in Western Digital’s 400GB unit for kicks.

Here’s how the drives weigh in…

Capacity Platter Density # of Platters / Heads Spindle speed (RPM) Average Seek Time Average Latency Interface Buffer Sizes
Hitachi 7K500 500GB 100GB 5 / 10 7200 8.5ms 4.17ms PATA / SATA 3.0Gb/sec 16MB
Seagate 7200.9 500GB 500GB 125GB 4 / 8 7200 8.5ms 4.16ms PATA / SATA 3.0Gb/sec 16MB
Western Digital WD4000YR 400GB 100GB 4 / 8 7200 8.7ms 4.2ms PATA / SATA 1.5Gb/sec 16MB

The WD4000YR is only a 1.5 Gb/sec drive, but we’re including it to compare performance between it and the newer 3.0 Gb/sec units. And since it is Western Digital’s new high capacity model, we thought, why not take a peek at its performance as well and to see which drive gives us more bang for the buck.

The Test
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  • bjacobson - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Anandtech is such a great site. Seems like every other day theres a new benchmark or review of some sort. Far more stuff comes out from AT than many other tech sites. Thanks Anand. Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Anandtech does have more new articles per week than most sites, aside from THG. Unlike THG though, Anandtech's articles are quite well thought out, written, and supported. THG's flood of articles every week is more like a bad case of the $hits.
    Reply
  • Visual - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    AT, it might be good to include a link to your 7200.9 article ( The so-called mouth-watering failure, http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=25...">http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=25... ) and maybe if you've done separate reviews for the other drives link them too in the first page of this one.
    And this reminds me, we haven't yet seen a review of the highest-density 7200.9, the 160GB model. Nor the 133gb/platter 400gb drive :/

    But yeah I know I shouldn't complain, I should just google for reviews by other sites.
    Reply
  • PuravSanghani - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    We are currently working on getting our hands on a 160GB 7200.9 unit with the 160GB platters; hopefully within the next month or so.

    Regards,
    Purav
    Reply
  • Zar0n - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Thanx 4 the review, but in the last benchmark, acoustics, u should remove the legend to the bottom so that the bars expanded, and it's easy to see the difference between all drives.

    Waiting for Maxtor DiamondMax 11 to chose the best drive :)
    Reply
  • Slaimus - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    It is fairly uncommon for HD manufacturers to release updated firmware after the fact, but that might be what the other drives need. Reply
  • irev210 - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    firmware aint gunna help these drives.

    They are all very fast drives... just that the 400gb wd stands out because of its raptor heritage.
    Reply
  • irev210 - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    From what I read at storage review, the 400gb western digital has the same chipset/technology as the 10k raptor, just with 100gb plattersx4. That is why you see such high I/O scores.

    I picked up two 400gb RE's (raid edition) to back up my data in a 400x2 raid 1. I couldnt be more pleased with the price/performance. The 400gb drives boast a 1.2 million hours MTBF, which seems pretty impressive for such an inexpensive drive. The motor looks rather large compared to other units, but i was too chicken to take apart my new drives to inspect.

    What really bothers me is that anandtech rounded up the T7k250gb 160gb version which uses different platters than the T7k250 250gb. The 250gb uses 2x125gb platters which greatly improves performance over the 160gb.


    For me, I use the T7k250 250gbx2 in a raid0 SATA 3.0gb/sec with the option of adding 2 more for much better performance and space in a raid0

    for data, I use 400gbx2 raid 1


    the best part is, I have lots of room to grow. I can grow to a 1tb main array and a 800gb data array.

    I hope to see anandtech tackle some more hard drives! The 400gb western digital is an absolute STEAL at the price.
    Reply
  • karioskasra - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    How would the WD perform in RAID1 when compared vs the other drives in RAID1? You hinted at it possibly being slower when striped, but how big is the difference? Does it maintain the lead over the other two when striped, or is it outperformed? Reply
  • Cygni - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Makes me chuckle that a 1.5Gbps drive dominated the 3.0's. Not a surprise at all. ATA133 isnt even maxed out by these drives, let alone a SATA150 connection. Kinda reminds me of AGP... or PCI... or pretty much most of the standards these days getting replaced by "better faster must have!" standards that cost the end user money and offer no real improvement in performance.

    Hey, gotta keep selling boards, i guess.
    Reply

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