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

  • Griswold - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link


    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.

    I can understand mentioning AGP, but PCI? You gotta be kidding me... that bus is such a bottleneck. You dont even have to run PCI cards to find out, just stress all the on-board stuff on a feature rich mobo and you'll notice it too.
  • Cygni - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    Which explains the rush from the mfts to get PCI-Ex cards out the door. :p Really, the only 2 cards that i can see benifiting from the PCI Express bus are high level RAID cards and gigabit ethernet... both of which are being fully integrated into southbridges anyway. Reply
  • Hikari - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    You said AGP and PCI, not AGP and PCIe. Obviously there isn't a lot of difference between the latter, but there is quite a bit of difference between the former. Reply
  • Griswold - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    They are integrated into southbridge and still utilize the PCI bus mostly. PCI bus aint only the slot you see on your mobo, you know.. Reply
  • Anton74 - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    High level RAID? A single PATA drive has an interface speed identical to that of the PCI bus (133MB/s) these days, all by itself. And then there's SATA with 150MB/s and 300MB/s interface speeds now. Not to mention the PCI bus is usually shared with a multitude of devices, all wanting some bandwidth. Reply
  • puffpio - Friday, December 2, 2005 - link

    It seems anomalous that the Western Digital Raptor 10000RPM drive is sooo much slower in the Doom 3 level load test compared to all the other drives. It sticks out like a sore thumb. It doesn't make sense because it had been dominating the other tests... Reply

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