Price Guides August 2003 Part II: Hard Drives and Memoryby Kristopher Kubicki on September 2, 2003 3:46 AM EST
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Welcome back to another new edition of the AnandTech Price Guides. In order to stay a little bit ahead of the competition, we will also start to include storage products in our price guides. We had to work some AT Staff and an intern into the ground to make sure we had IDE and Serial ATA products added for this week’s edition! Remember, the tables below are embedded in Real Time, so even though we might publish on Monday, the information is current for the week.
Serial ATA hit the mass markets about a year ago, and since then it has been an uphill struggle for the hard drive companies. Maxtor and Western Digital have done an excellent job over the last 12 months to bring large quantity SATA storage down to near-IDE prices, with the serial ATA premium running about 10-15%. (Compare this to last year when SATA drives were more than double the cost of ATA133 counterparts).
As expected, the 7200RPM drives do not perform nearly as well as their SCSI equivalents, but they do outperform ATA133 drives and carry the added advantages of the Serial ATA bus. Below is a RealTime plot of our monitored SATA products.
The Maxtor and Seagate 120GB drives both perform excellent for the cost, which is less than a dollar a gigabyte. We slightly prefer the Seagate drive over the Maxtor, but this is due to customer service and satisfaction. Thus, we have to choose the Seagate 120GB our pick of the week.
Edit: Just as we stated several months ago the Western Digital Raptor 36.7GB 10,000RPM drive performs extremely well, but with several disadvantages (Don't forget to look at the Raptor preview as well). The high pitched whine and high cost do not seem to justify the performance increases for single user applications. Remember, virtually all SATA drives come with an 8MB cache which provides an incredible boost in performance for single user applications. Disk read speed is typically slightly lower than 2MB caches, but actually IO/sec can increase as much as 25%.