In our first look at Hitachi's new Deskstar 7K1000 we thought it was the best 7200rpm drive that has passed through our labs. Throughout testing we found the performance of the drive to be very balanced across a broad spectrum of benchmarks that stressed write and read speeds, or a combination of both. This unique blend of performance and capacity also comes at a fairly reasonable price of 40 cents per-Gigabyte or approximately $399 for the drive although two 500GB drives can be had for around $250 now.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced the drive right before CES 2007 and stated a shipping date in late Q1. The drive did start shipping last month but was only available in systems from Dell or Alienware. We expected retail shipments of this drive at the beginning of April but it appears the drives will not be widely available for another week or so now.

We were able to procure a retail unit directly from Hitachi and have been testing it thoroughly for the past few days. Our initial impressions about this drive have not changed as we did not notice any perceivable performance differences between the O.E.M. supplied unit from Dell or the retail drive. The only change we could identify between the two drives is the firmware being updated from GKA0A51C to GKA0A51D.


Our preliminary acoustic testing revealed minor differences between the drives with the retail unit having an increase in noise levels at idle from 26dBA to 27dBA and load results going from 35dBA to 36dBA with AAM enabled at the silent setting of 128. At an AAM setting of 254 we noticed an increase from 27dBA to 28dBA along with load results increasing from 36dBA to 38dBA. Our AAM disabled settings did not change. We also noticed a little more vibration in the retail drive but will temper our findings until we have additional retail drives to test. Our differences are more than likely caused by slight manufacturing variations between the two drives and not the firmware or retail configuration.

Our thermal results did not change although we are revising both our acoustic and thermal tests to reflect environmental conditions in an ATX and uATX case design along with vibration testing in a typical drive cage with rubber bushings or attached directly to the chassis. Our two configurations will simulate a typical gaming/enthusiast machine and one designed for quiet desktop or HTPC usage. We recommend a visit to SPCR if you are interested in pure acoustic test results of the drives without other system components being in the test mix.

In the meantime, we created a thirty minute script to simulate general home/office/gaming usage with the drive's temperature increasing from 31C at idle to 39C over the course of the test. We feel like this particular test gives a better indication of a drive's average operating temperature during typical usage. We will have complete test results with our other drives in the upcoming 500GB+ drive roundup.

With all that said, the purpose of today's second look is to provide some initial RAID results with this drive and convey our experiences with the 7K1000 after having additional test time with it. We had a deluge of reader requests asking for test results in RAID 0 based upon the overall performance of the drive being near, equal, or better than the Western Digital Raptors. We are not fans of RAID on the consumer desktop; especially motherboard based solutions, but nevertheless thought it might be an interesting exercise to see how two of the top performing drives in the consumer SATA market compare against each other.

Sure, RAID 0 will certainly provide some very impressive synthetic benchmark scores, PCMark05 being a prime example, but in actual applications we see it having more of a placebo effect than providing any real performance gains. Our technical briefing and commentary on RAID 0 can be located here. Let's see how the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 and Western Digital WD1500 drives perform in RAID 0 across a variety of benchmarks.

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  • Gaelstorm - Wednesday, October 08, 2008 - link

    This article was a long time ago, but the second to last comment before mine was talking about fair. If a program is not hard drive intensive and is just slow all around like the Sim 2, you are not being fair by mentioning that Raid 0 doesn't help it. Honestly nothing will help with that games load time except a faster computer overall. Even so that game loads horrible for the type of game it is. I can tell you right now, there are very few situations I have encountered where Raid 0 didn't way outperform a single drive for gaming or just feel on a desktop type system. All the arguing I read, actually made me rethink trusting information from certain sources at all. Reply
  • Per Hansson - Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - link

    Some ideas, as could be seen on page 4 of the review the system was limited by something (flat graph in STR instead of what you would expect)

    This is probably because you are using the normal SCSI Miniport driver, which happens to be the only choice for Win2K and WinXP 32 bit

    WinXP 64bit, 2003 Server 32bit and 64 bit and Vista 32 bit and 64 bit has the new StorPort miniport driver, which improves performance tremendeously in RAID arrays

    Of course the controller cards driver must also actually support and use the StorPort driver instead of the normal SCSI miniport driver

    What this means in laymens terms is that it was not because the "software based" RAID controllers where crap that we got shitty performance in Win2K and XP, it was because those controllers had shitty drivers. Which really was MS fault.

    The really expensive RAID controllers however did not use the NT4/2000 Server etc native SCSI miniport driver but had their very own implementation (just as good as MS "all new" storport driver) which meant that they where not capped at about 100-150MB/sec, but rather unlimited... Try your review with 4 150GB Raptors in RAID-0, your performance will be the same because it is the drivers that is holding the system back...

    Please keep this in mind for your upcoming review ;)

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/6/6/5664b...">http://download.microsoft.com/download/...06-45ec-...
    Reply
  • ShadowdogKGB - Saturday, April 21, 2007 - link

    You have 5 synthetics that tell us that two are faster in stripe but then you have 5 real world tests that aren't real world at all. Tell me who plays HL2 Lost Coast and Sims2 Neighborhood. I think you should just stop testing raid setups all together since you can't be honest about it. Reply
  • Gary Key - Sunday, April 22, 2007 - link

    quote:

    You have 5 synthetics that tell us that two are faster in stripe but then you have 5 real world tests that aren't real world at all. Tell me who plays HL2 Lost Coast and Sims2 Neighborhood. I think you should just stop testing raid setups all together since you can't be honest about it.


    The Sims2 continues to be one of the top selling/played games in the world and HL2 along with its various versions is also a top played title. We are revising our benchmark suite to include WoW and a couple of other titles that were recently released. As far as the other benchmarks, compression/decompression and encoding are fairly common activities on a PC the last time I checked. ;-) What are we not being honest about?
    Reply
  • jleboeuf - Saturday, April 21, 2007 - link

    I'd be interested to see what your results fair out w/ a raid 10 config w/ 6 drives. that's 3 terabytes, and completely mirrored Reply
  • aethyrmaster - Friday, April 20, 2007 - link

    They said they only used a 64 kB (KiB if you prefer) stripe size. Using stripes of 128 kB size would most likely have changed the results significantly. If possible, I'd like to see results with a 256 kB stripe as well.

    Separately, I personally have used RAID 0, as well as used exactly the same drives in a non-RAID setup. I often times do a lot of transferring of video from my PC to other devices on a Gigabit ethernet network, and the extra 10 to 30 MB/sec transfer rate provided by RAID 0 is well appreciated when you are copying 400 to 800 MB (MiB) of video.
    Reply
  • GOSHARKS - Friday, April 20, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Our preliminary acoustic testing revealed minor differences between the drives with the retail unit having an increase in noise levels at idle from 26dBA to 27dBA and load results going from 35dBA to 36dBA with AAM enabled at the silent setting of 128. At an AAM setting of 254 we noticed an increase from 27dBA to 28dBA along with load results increasing from 36dBA to 38dBA.


    Is that even statiscally significant? As it is, it can be slightly misleading.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Sunday, April 22, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Is that even statiscally significant? As it is, it can be slightly misleading.


    Not in the grand scheme of things but the tests were run five different times with the same results. We were providing information based upon having a retail drive to test instead of the OEM drive we had in the first article. There were a few comments that suggested differences could have existed between the two so we tried to answer it.
    Reply
  • tshen83 - Thursday, April 19, 2007 - link

    reviewing a 1TB drive by raid 0? the writer obviously have NO FREAKING IDEA of what the target audience is. A RAID5 review would be much more appropriate. Hate to lose 100GB of data nowadays...let alone 2TB, at that point, you might as well kill yourself Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, April 19, 2007 - link

    We have a full RAID article in the works that will test RAID 1, RAID 1+0, and RAID 5 with several drives, Intel and NV chipsets, along with hardware controllers. As I mentioned in the article, this story will be up in the coming weeks. As far as offering RAID 0 results with a motherboard controller chipset, this was done as the vast majority of boutique systems offer this option along with several hundred emails asking when we could provide RAID 0 results with the latest drive releases. Reply

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