Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2026
Welcome back to another edition of our famous weekly price guides. We're here this weekend to bring you the latest information regarding many storage options that are available, covering everything from SATA drives to SCSI to DVDRs. If this is your first time joining us in our price guides, we'll quickly introduce you to what they are all about.
Our RTPE lists many computer components, such as LCD monitors, hard drives, memory, CPUs, motherboards, sound cards, etc. So what we do is take four categories: storage (hard drives and optical drives), CPUs, motherboards and video cards; then we cover each topic about once a month. We not only like to make product recommendations based on prices and performance, but we also like to keep an eye out on the latest happenings in the marketplace and make informed suggestions for your next upgrade.
As per many requests from our loyal readers, we are still working on getting laptop hard drives into our RTPE. However, that task is not yet complete; rest assured that once it's ready, we will be sure to include that market segment in our storage price guides. We know many users also have a laptop or two, and some of them could use a hard drive upgrade/replacement.
We realize that the pricing tables on the following pages do not allow better sorting options like the RTPE does, as all of the tables are listed in alphabetical order. The main thing that you will find in the RTPE is the cost per GB breakdown, as well as the ability to sort by price. This makes finding the best storage deals extremely easy. Hopefully, we can get that functionality for our tables in the future, but for now, let's head on over to the 3.0Gbps SATA hard drives.
We will begin this weekend's guide with the 3.0Gbps hard drives, which is arguably the most popular area. You will find many outstanding deals in the chart below, but if you're debating whether to go with a 3.0Gbps or 1.5Gbps hard drive, we can help make your decision easier. We suggest you go with the drive that offers you more storage space for your dollar rather than comparing the 3.0 vs. 1.5Gbps transfer rates.
At this stage in time, the difference between the 1.5 and 3.0Gbps interface really is a moot point as transfer rates have yet to exceed 150 MB/s. The newer 3.0Gbps drives are sometimes better, but that is due to other advancements such as increased platter densities and not the SATA interface. Also note that if your motherboard only supports the 1.5Gbps interface and not the newer 3.0Gbps standard, this should not pose a problem. The 3.0Gbps drives are backwards compatible with motherboards supporting the 1.5Gbps interface, so choose whichever drive will give you more bang for your buck. (Some drives also have a jumper block that can be used to force 1.5Gbps mode if necessary.)
We'll take a look at the various size groupings, but we'll also list all of the drives in a single table at the bottom of the page, just so we don't miss any offerings. Generally speaking, the larger the drive you purchase, the better the cost per GB. Unfortunately, this rule of thumb isn't consistent throughout all available drives sizes, as the 400GB and larger drives begin to increase in relative price. Most users will want to balance size vs. cost, which is what the price per GB represents. Of course, some people really need a lot of storage, so they'll want to look at the 750GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 [RTPE: ST3750640AS] priced at $430 shipped ($0.57/GB).
Although they're some of the noisiest drives around in the marketplace, Maxtor drives can generally perform just as well as any other brand available today. They may not be our favorite brand, but the Maxtor 3.0Gbps 300GB 7200RPM 16MB DiamondMax 10 [RTPE: 6V300F0] in particular performs very well, and it's going for about $100 ($0.36/GB). Below, you can find a complete list of the SATA 3.0Gbps drives.
SATA - 1.5Gbps
Moving on to the 1.5Gbps drives, here we can also see a large array of hard drive sizes available, all the way from 40GB drives to upwards of 500GBs. Although we did not mention this on the previous page, but just as with the 3.0Gbps drives, there are so many excellent choices that can be made here that it's nearly impossible for us to list all the good deals or even those from your favorite brand/model.
As you can see from our table below, there have been some moderate changes in pricing, with the majority decreasing somewhat which is what everyone likes to see. Also, you will see that the price difference between the two SATA specifications is generally negligible, though overall the advantage now appears to rest with the newer 3.0Gbps drives, with a few going at the low rate of about $0.32/GB. We want to emphasize that unless you can find a 1.5Gbps model at a lower price than the 3.0Gbps drives, you should probably go back a page and check out those deals.
You'll notice that the 400GB Hitachi drive we recommended has seen quite a significant price decrease over the course of the past month or so. You can see when the drive first launched; it started at over $270 and slowly but steadily decreased to where it is at today, roughly $180.
Again, here's the complete list of SATA 1.5Gbps drives. You're much better off searching in the RTPE directly, however.
Carrying on, we'll now take a look at the older PATA drives. As this is one of the oldest interfaces around today, you will notice that many drives still being sold today have 2MB of cache. We suggest you go with a drive that has at least an 8MB cache if not 16MB. There really isn't much of a price difference between the 8 and 16MB cache drives, so we highly suggest going with a drive which has a 16MB cache as there is no harm.
There are so many PATA drives in the market of all sizes and flavors, so we've taken the time right now to divide up the drives by sizes. We have omitted the 40 and 80GB drives from our charts, and have listed from the 120GB, through the 250 and the 320GB drives. We'll skip the exhaustive list here, as it really becomes too large to be reasonably digested.
SCSI and SAS
Moving right along, we'll quickly take a look at the SCSI drives we have available floating around the marketplace. There are so many drives being offered in this line-up, so we must admit that looking through the chart may seem a little overwhelming. Make sure you get a drive that meets your requirements. What do we mean here? Well, our main concern is you pick up a drive(s) that will work with your setup because as you will notice, there are drives with a 68-pin interface along with drives using an 80-pin interface. You also have the option of going with a 10,000 or 15,000RPM hard drive. Speaking of RPMs, the 15K RPM drives are rather loud, not to mention expensive, so most people would much rather stick with slower SATA drives in desktop systems. You will also find quite a few manufacturers here, but the majority of the market is composed of drives from Maxtor and Seagate.
The drive with the most bang for the buck within the 10,000RPM category is the Maxtor SAS 73.5GB 10000RPM 16MB Atlas 10K V SAS [RTPE: 8J073S0] going for $200 ($2.76/GB). Within the 15,000RPM drives, the best price/capacity we're able to find is the Maxtor SAS 147GB 15000RPM 16MB Atlas 15K II SAS [RTPE: 8E147S0] on sale for about $890 ($5.80/GB). For raw capacity, only Maxtor is currently selling 300GB SAS drives, with the Maxtor SAS 300GB 10000RPM 16MB Atlas 10K V SAS [RTPE: 8J300S0] going for about $850 ($2.84/GB).
Finishing things up, we'll take a look at the available DVDR offerings. These days we're showing many DVDRs in our RTPE and it's difficult to say which is better than another as there are many which perform very well.
The NEC 16X ND-3550A [RTPE: ND-3550A] is also a great drive, currently on sale for $37 shipped. Pioneer's new 16X DVR-111D [RTPE: DVR-111D] is another writer worth considering. You can currently find this drive on sale for $39 shipped, which is less than the DVR-110D it replaced. If you're looking for a slot loading drive, look no further than the Plextor 16X PX-716AL [RTPE: PX-716AL]. Generally retailing for about $160, this Plextor DVD writer is going for $135 shipped. That's unfortunate, as some people prefer slot loaders over the tray load models, but at 4X the price we'll take the cheaper drives.
This wraps up this weekend's storage price guide. Come back again next weekend when we take a look at the latest happenings within the motherboard marketplace.