Again, nothing too noteworthy with these prices either. But we would like to remind you to be sure to pick up a drive with at least 8MB's of cache rather than one with only 2MB's of cache. We're positive that you will notice a larger boost in performance with any model with over 2MB of cache.

Your best bet is to go with the 250GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10 with 16MB of cache [RTPE: 6L250R0] which is at a fair price of just under $100.00; still this is not the lowest price we've seen this drive at, but something you should consider.

The new Maxtor DiamondMax 16 and the Samsung SpinPoint P drives have yet to hit retail stores. At the moment, they're still on pre-order only.

SATA - 1.5Gbps SCSI
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  • CorrND - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    "It's definitely difficult for us to recommend a 1.5Gbps drive because of the prices being so close..."

    Isn't the 1.5Gbps vs 3.0Gbps issue moot because the transfer rates of all ATA hard drives (even the Raptors) are 3-4 times lower than 1.5Gbps? Given that, I'd say it's pretty easy to recommend a drive with a 1.5Gbps transfer rate, even if the price difference is small. If there are other desirable features present on a drive with a 3.0Gbps max transfer rate, this statement should be phrased in the context of that feature, not the unreachable max transfer rate.
  • Pirks - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    Well, when you have 16MB cache on your HDD then 3 Gbps SATA is not that bad. 16MB cache isn't very big, but imagine what happens when HDD manufacturers switch to 32MB or even 64MB cache. This probably won't happen anytime soon, but in general SATA speed helps more with the bigger cache. So, IF you have same price for 1.5 Gbps and for 3 Gbps drives, I'd say 3 Gbps with 16MB cache WILL be just a little faster. However, if 3 Gbps costs a LITTLE higher... dunno then, probaby going for 1.5 Gbps makes sense in _this_ case.
  • CorrND - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    You seem to be making a case for buying a motherboard with a 3Gbps SATA connection. I see your point that future hard drives with larger caches will begin to approach the 1.5Gbps transfer rate of the original SATA specification. That's probably years and years away, though.

    However, I don't see the point for arguing in favor of a 3Gbps hard drive NOW. You could put a 16MB cache on a 1.5Gbps hard drive and see the exact same performance increase. It seems as if the 3Gbps standard is being used as a way to differentiate generations of SATA drives. Is this true?
  • Pirks - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    Yeah, I agree that buying 3 Gbps HDD when you have only 1.5 Gbps SATA on your mobo is stupid unless you plan to upgrade to 3 Gbps soon. But I'm not sure 3 Gbps vs 1.5 Gbps does not make any difference on a HDD with 16MB cache. The difference must be there, although it'll be rather hard to notice (except for the burst transfer rate of course). If this is the same with the price... I mean if the difference in price is as little and unnoticeable as the difference in peformance, then why not 3 Gbps? And SATA generation is not only distinguished by speed. There are more features in SATA besides burst transfer rate and NCQ, however you are right in the sense that marketing/ads focuse on speed and sometimes on NCQ as well, but this is just marketing, you know.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    We've done some benchmarks with the">1.5 vs. 3.0 Gbps SATA drives. While it wasn't really a massive difference, the SATA 2.0 drives were in general a bit faster. In certain benchmarks they were noticeably faster, while in other benchmarks they might even be marginally slower. The end conclusion is that SATA 3.0 Gbps are the better drives, though, and they're backwards compatible. If the price is essentially the same, there's little reason to buy the older drives. However, some people will find $5 to $10 savings on the 1.5 Gbps models, in which case they become reasonable.
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    It'd be pretty nice if you could figure out how to fit cost-per-GB on your HDD charts along with your current information.
  • Pirks - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    Second that! Could you AT guys please add this $/GB metric in your next HDD price reviews? Pretty please, with sugar on top :)
  • phusg - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    What's all this Black Friday business? (I'm not American BTW) Aren't prices usually held artifically high in the run up to Christmas, with the New Year being the best time to buy (hardware)? You seem to be saying that this Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving?) is best?!? I'm confused. Anyone?
    A foreigner
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, and there are always tons of "One Day Only!!!" sales. Some of them can be really good, and there are often fights between shoppers over who gets the last [insert name of popular item]. There's no school on that day, and it's the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
  • phusg - Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - link

    Thanks Jarred. I didn't realise about the whole "One Day Only" offer thing. AFAIK Europe only ever has something like that when a store opens.

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