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


View All Comments

  • Visual - Saturday, December 3, 2005 - link

    i cant imagine what error would hang my drive for 8 seconds :/ and if it really happened, even in recoverable error, i'd not trust that drive again anyway. so it'd be better to mark it "failed" Reply
  • Lakeshow - Saturday, December 3, 2005 - link

    Yeah I read that article on couple days after I got my WD4000YR and it kind of bothers me.

    Oh well, what are you gonna do? I absolutely love this drive. I can only hope this drive will live until my next voluntary upgrade.
  • Lifted - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    The HD Tach screenshots say "for non-commercial or evaluation use only, see license agreement."

    Hmmmmm. Anandtech is non-commercial?
  • Gannon - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    I'd like to see more tests done on drives that are at least 80% full because a lot of us pack our drives full of stuff and the performance we end up getting is when we've filled it. While these tests are good and all, I think they inflate the actual scores of how a drive is really used. No drive sits with just XP and a game or two and a couple of test files, that bias's the tests toward unrealistic use of how hard disks are used, especially big ones over 160GB. I fill my drives regularly and I have over 800GB needless to say I'm backing up stuff to DVD's just to have enough space to perform other operations. Reply
  • WileCoyote - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    Why does everyone want Anandtech to benchmark their current system? Run your own benchmark if you want to know the speed of your hard-drive/computer. I think the articles here are perfect - they help me decide what to purchase in the future. I don't need an article to make me feel good about what I already have. I like the current format of articles that educate me on my next purchase. Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    time to cut down on the pron addiction
  • Olaf van der Spek - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    > We were also surprised to see the WD4000YR perform so well, since it is using the 1 st generation 1.5Gb/sec interface.

    That's a joke, right?
    I hope you weren't really expecting a significant performance improvement from a faster interface (300 mbyte/s instead of 150 mbyte/s while HDD's are more near 75 mbyte/s and only during seqential access).
  • bob661 - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    I think the interface increases benefit RAID performance more than singledrive performance. Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    I don't think so, as (without involvement of port multipliers) SATA is a point to point architecture. Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    Or you can go buy a pair of 200GB Samsung SpinPoint SP2004C drives for under $100 each and have a much quieter drive setup. :) Reply

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