SATA - 3.0Gbps

With these 3.0Gbps drives, you can see that there are a number of outstanding deals, a few of which are actually at the lowest prices that we've seen to date. If you're trying to decide between the 3.0Gbps or 1.5Gbps drives, we suggest that you go with the drive that gives you the most storage space per dollar, and at this point in time, they seem to be fairly even, price-wise.

The obvious difference between the two is their bandwidth capabilities, with burst transfer rates being theoretically twice as fast on the newer standard. The problem is that SATA is a point-to-point protocol, so each drive gets a separate connection. Until we start seeing drives that can sustain transfer rates of over 150 GB/s, we're not going to saturate even the original SATA bandwidth. That's not to say that the newer drives aren't sometimes better, but that's largely due to increased platter densities and other tweaks as opposed to the modified SATA interface.

The best deals appear to be coming from the 250GB to 320GB drives, and are going for $0.35 to $0.45 per GB. We can see that the 320GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 with a 16MB cache [RTPE: WD3200KS] is on sale for about $121 shipped; that's roughly $0.38 per GB. You can also see from the graph below that this drive, over the course of the past few weeks, has been gradually coming down in price and is about $40 less than its initial price point.

Western Digital 3.0Gbps 320GB 7200RPM 16MB Caviar SE16

For about $0.39 per GB, the Maxtor 3.0Gbps 250GB 7200RPM 16MB DiamondMax 10 [RTPE: 6V250F0] is not at a bad price either. It's currently priced at approximately $98 shipped. Performance of Maxtor drives is quite good, but we do have to caution that they are also one of the noisier drives on the market. If you aren't trying to build a silent PC, it probably won't matter much, but quite a few of us here at AnandTech shy away from Maxtor.

Generally, going with a larger hard drive will give you more bang for your buck, but this has yet to be the case with the 400GB+ drives. The best that we can see this week is the Seagate 400GB 16MB Barracuda 7200.9 [RTPE: ST3400633AS] going for $200 shipped ($0.50 per GB). If you're in the market for an even larger drive, the Seagate 500GB 16MB Barracuda 7200.9 [RTPE: ST3500641AS] would be your best option; currently on sale for $301 shipped ($.60/GB).

Index SATA – 1.5Gbps


View All Comments

  • rrcn - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    We have addressed this concern at the beginning of the article. =)


    We have had many requests from our readers to include laptop hard drives in our storage price guides and we are going to address this request officially, here and now. Previously, our pricing engine only tracked desktop hard drives. We are actually in the process of adding laptop hard drives to the RTPE, since a large number of people use laptops these days and they, too, can also use more hard drive capacity. Once the laptop hard drives are added into the RTPE, we will begin including them in our monthly storage guides.

    We are hoping to get this project completed within the next two months or so. We kindly ask you please to bear with us and keep checking to see when they are in fact listed in our storage guides.
  • SnoMunke - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    Hitachi has been producing SAS drives for awhile...">
  • rrcn - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the heads up. We'll be adding it shortly. =) Reply
  • Souka - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    Too bad they didn't mention the Samsung Spinpoint series.

    I was looking for a 250gb SATA to replace a old 100gb 2mb/cache IDE drive (giving to dad)... I checked out and they had a VERY NICE round up of 250gb drives.

    After looking at the data, I choose the Samsung Spinpoint 250GB SATA2 w/8mb cache drive. The drive is fast, and the coolest and quietest option in the group.

    In this AT article they mentioned the Maxtor 250gb drive is a good bargain at 98$ shipped.... Well, I think the Samsung I bought for $97.99 shipped from NewEgg is a better deal.

    My $.02.

    Oh yeah, here's a link to the Storage Review review....">LINK
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    As was mentioned in the article, there are a LOT of good deals on hard drives. WD, Samsung, Maxtor, and Hitachi all offer 250GB SATA 3.0Gbps drives for around $100, and any of those are worthy of consideration. Personally, I like the WD 16MB SE models, but the others are good as well. The Samsung drives *are* the quietest on the market, but there really isn't a massive difference between many of the HDDs... except that Maxtors are generally louder on seek noise. (Gary Key described them to me as "bongo drums" not to long ago! :) ) Reply

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