SATA 3.0Gbps

We will begin this weekend's guide with the 3.0Gbps hard drives, which is arguably the most popular area. You will find many outstanding deals in the chart below, but if you're debating whether to go with a 3.0Gbps or 1.5Gbps hard drive, we can help make your decision easier. We suggest you go with the drive that offers you more storage space for your dollar rather than comparing the 3.0 vs. 1.5Gbps transfer rates.

At this stage in time, the difference between the 1.5 and 3.0Gbps interface really is a moot point as transfer rates have yet to exceed 150 MB/s. The newer 3.0Gbps drives are sometimes better, but that is due to other advancements such as increased platter densities and not the SATA interface. Also note that if your motherboard only supports the 1.5Gbps interface and not the newer 3.0Gbps standard, this should not pose a problem. The 3.0Gbps drives are backwards compatible with motherboards supporting the 1.5Gbps interface, so choose whichever drive will give you more bang for your buck. (Some drives also have a jumper block that can be used to force 1.5Gbps mode if necessary.)

We'll take a look at the various size groupings, but we'll also list all of the drives in a single table at the bottom of the page, just so we don't miss any offerings. Generally speaking, the larger the drive you purchase, the better the cost per GB. Unfortunately, this rule of thumb isn't consistent throughout all available drives sizes, as the 400GB and larger drives begin to increase in relative price. Most users will want to balance size vs. cost, which is what the price per GB represents. Of course, some people really need a lot of storage, so they'll want to look at the 750GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 [RTPE: ST3750640AS] priced at $430 shipped ($0.57/GB).

The cheapest 400GB hard drive this time around is the Seagate 3.0Gbps 400GB 7200RPM 16MB Barracuda 7200.9 [RTPE: ST3400633AS]. Although at its lowest price point yet, this 400GB Barracuda is selling for $176 ($0.44/GB).

The best priced 500GB drive we're pulling up is from Western Digital -- the 3.0Gbps 500GB 7200RPM 16MB Caviar SE16 [RTPE: WD5000KS] which is on sale for about $230 ($0.46/GB). We can't really suggest that you go with these larger drives unless you really need the additional storage, as you can gain more for your money by going with two 250GB drives - we'll take a look at those next.

Here you can see why we suggest two 250GB drives rather than a single 500GB or 400GB drive. You can get your hands on the Samsung 3.0Gbps 250GB 7200RPM 8MB SpinPoint P [RTPE: SP2504C] for $80 shipped ($0.32/GB). For an even better deal, you can go with the Western Digital 3.0Gbps 250GB 7200RPM 16MB Caviar SE16 [RTPE: WD2500KS] for $80 after a $10 mail-in rebate. The Western Digital drive has a 16MB buffer rather than an 8MB buffer found in the Samsung drive we pointed out first, and offers generally better performance. Of course, if you're mostly interested in getting a quiet hard drive, the Samsungs can't be beat.

Although they're some of the noisiest drives around in the marketplace, Maxtor drives can generally perform just as well as any other brand available today. They may not be our favorite brand, but the Maxtor 3.0Gbps 300GB 7200RPM 16MB DiamondMax 10 [RTPE: 6V300F0] in particular performs very well, and it's going for about $100 ($0.36/GB). Below, you can find a complete list of the SATA 3.0Gbps drives.

Index SATA – 1.5Gbps


View All Comments

  • peternelson - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Why not track the latest Pioneer 111 dvd writer rather than the 110 model?
  • rrcn - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the heads up. I have talked to our RTPE administrator and he has gone ahead and added it to the engine. :-) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    I've sent an email to our RTPE guy to get it added - I'm not sure how long it's been available, but there's only so much information any one person can keep current on. :) Reply
  • Pollock - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    The $10 rebate for the WD2500KS expired yesterday, so it's only $90 shipped from Newegg now. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Unfortunately, that's the problem with pricing information. The day we post an article, prices already start to change. That's why we include the price tables, which update automatically, as well as links to product pages in the RTPE. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    I've updated the text to include reference to the 111D in place of the 110D. Reply
  • CrystalBay - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    They differ in Price DUH..Offa dufa Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Why are 1.5 and 3 gbit/s drives listed separately when they don't differ performance wise? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Actually, I've debated combining them (and suggesting that to Haider), but the only way to make a sensible SATA page that way involves not listing all SATA hard drives - the bottom charts on pages 2 and 3 are already too long. As mentioned below, prices also differ (sometimes), and there may be a few SATA controllers out there that have issues with the backwards compatibility of 3.0Gbps models. (I've never encountered any, but there *might* be.) Reply
  • rrcn - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Exactly. The pricing tables are already at great length and dividing them up by their specific SATA interface seems most logical. This just makes it easier to sift through them. As you can also see, Jarred has gone ahead and divided up the 3.0 and 1.5Gbps charts even further by hard drive sizes.


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