What to do with 400GB?

Thanks to the extra platters, the 7K400 actually feels a little heavier than other 2 or 3 platter drives. It's nothing to worry about, but just an interesting thing to point out.



The drive itself looks much like the older IBM drives, but thankfully, it seems as if the old reliability issues have not been carried over to the new Deskstar line.



With a street price of around $450, the Hitachi Deskstar 7K400 is one expensive animal, but Hitachi has priced the drive about where 2 x 200GB drives would fall, so there's no cost benefit to going with two smaller drives vs. one 7K400 (or vice versa).

With 400GB of storage, the 7K400 offers a great place to store application installation files, disk images, movies, MP3s, games as well as meet any other archival needs that you may have. The thing to keep in mind with a 400GB drive is that the more you fill it , the more you have to worry about backing up. The old saying - the bigger they are, the harder they fall - applies quite well to the 7K400; don't buy a 400GB hard drive without having a good way of backing up that data.

Hard Drive Specification Comparison


   Hitachi Deskstar 7K400  Maxtor MaXLine III  Seagate Barracuda 7200.8  Western Digital Raptor II
Maximum Capacity 400GB 300GB 400GB 74GB
Platter Density 80GB 100GB 133GB 37GB
Number of Platters 5 3 3 2
Average Seek Time 8.5 ms 9.3 ms 8 ms 4.5 ms
Maximum Buffer Size 8MB 16MB 16MB 8MB
Spindle Speed 7200 RPM 7200 RPM 7200 RPM 10,000 RPM
Interface PATA
SATA
PATA
SATA (NCQ)
PATA
SATA (NCQ)
SATA (TCQ)
Availability Now Q3 '04 Q3 '04 Now

As you can see by the basic specification comparison, the 7K400 will look much older once the Maxtor MaXLine III and Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 hit the streets next quarter. But for the time being, the 7K400's specifications are competitive with other present-day 7200RPM desktop drives.

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  • Falloutboy - Saturday, July 10, 2004 - link

    This is great but unless it geting into the 50cents per gig range it won't really make sence. I could just get 4 200gbs for the same price and raid them Reply
  • gimpsoft - Saturday, July 10, 2004 - link

    if you have space for 4 drives on your case
    i say go with mulitple 160GB hard drive or 149GB true GB
    149 * 4 = 596GB almost 600GB
    $93 * 4 = $372
    for $93each why pay $450 for 320GB
    samsung Hard Drives on newegg

    mulitple drives is much better then one
    C/windows E:/storage X:/storage D:/storage

    so you uncompress a file from C to C will take longer & won't be able to open anythign else until uncompress is done

    from E to X or from C to X you could surf the web have an dixv open with small slow down & have it finish faster then having to be done in one drive
    Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Saturday, July 10, 2004 - link

    Nice to see capacities increasing. Seems like for a while there hasn't been much in the way of capacity increases... just some speed increases with the Raptor and SATA.

    A friend of mine heard about the drive too and asked why anyone would need 400 GB of storage space if they weren't doing anything illegal like pirating software or media. My answer to him was, programs (especially games) will only get larger. And with no worries about storage limits, you could rip your entire CD collection in a lossless format and keep it on your hard drive for listening and making MP3's to put on a portable device, etc. Then there's video... with more people building HTPC's, a 400 GB drive would be a nice addition to a HTPC for recording TV shows in HD... copying your DVD's to the drive for quicker viewing and not having to mess with the discs all the time.

    I think storage space is lagging behind a little bit... I have a 36 GB Raptor and an 80 GB drive and I don't find myself running out of storage space, however, I do find myself deleting things thinking "I don't really need this, I'll just get rid of it and free up some space." I remember back in the mid 90's I think, I bought a 12 GB Quantum drive, when high capacity mainstream drives were 6-8 GB... the Quantum was a HUGE drive at the time, but pretty slow. Where are the HUGE but slow drives today? I think it would be acceptable to use a 5400 RPM drive in a HTPC if it could offer 50-100% more storage space thana 7200 RPM drive, AND be more quiet and cooler. Or just for people who archive home movies or something... an 800 GB drive would be great for them... speed wouldn't matter all that much because a 5400 RPM drive is perfectly capable of streaming DVD quality video and audio.

    Anyway... as I said... it's nice to see storage capacity increasing, not just speed.
    Reply
  • mkruer - Saturday, July 10, 2004 - link

    "If you can wait on that hard drive upgrade, however, much newer technology is coming next quarter. With platter densities finally surpassing the 100GB mark, 16MB buffers to accent and with NCQ becoming mainstream, the 400GB offerings that should hit the streets later this year will hopefully offer more than just massive storage capacities, but maybe even a new level of performance."

    Anand, do you have any specific information on future roadmaps by the manufactures. I would be interested to see how Western Digital will respond.
    Reply
  • kjellrni - Saturday, July 10, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • kjellrni - Saturday, July 10, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • pookie69 - Saturday, July 10, 2004 - link

    Nice article. I can appreciate the difficulties in trying to bench and review HDDs, but so far i feel you have done a good job, and i am very much enjoying reading these HDD reviews.

    Only thing, it may have been a good idea to talk a bit about some of the technical features of the Hitachi 7k400 - such as those 2 sensors on the underside of the HDD that help ensure much greater spindle head accuracy through system vibrations than currently seen in other HDDs. The name of the technology evades me now, but it sounds really cool.

    In any case, great review - the Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 looks like being an awesome HDD, so i do hope that there'll be a rview on that sometime soon :)
    Reply
  • ROcHE - Saturday, July 10, 2004 - link

    Nice review. The recorded hard disk sound is a very good addition. You guys just need to edit the first 1-2 and last 1-2 seconds to remove those weird sounds and it will be perfect.

    You can actually hear how silent is a barracuda and how loud is a Maxtor or a WD SE.

    It's good to see my one year old Western Digital SE near the top of the performance charts. It shows how hard it is to improve hard disk performances. Kudos to Hitachi for a great hard drive.

    Thanks ;)
    Reply

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