500GB Hard Drive Product Reviews

The Hard drives discussed in this report have been tested with two industry benchmark applications: PCMark05 and HD Tach. The PCMark05 Test measures the performance of your PC and determines its strengths and weaknesses. The HD Tach is a physical performance hard drive test that checks the hard drives actual physical performance. In This article I will talk about two hard drives the Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 and Seagate NL35.2, both 500GB and 3GB SATA drives.

Drive

Hitachi
Deskstar
7K500 500GB

Seagate
NL35.2
500GB

Cost

$379

$384

Interface

3Gbps SATA

3Gbps SATA

Spindle Speed (rpm)

7,200

7,200

Cache Buffer (MB)

16

16

Avg. Read Seek Time

8.5ms

11ms

HD Tach 3.0.1.0 RW
Read avg/max (MBps)

51/65

53.3/69

Write avg/max (MBps)

48.5/63

47.1/63

Burst read (MBps)

223.5

234.8

Random access (ms)*

17.2

15.8

PCMark05 Pro 1.1.0
Hard Drive Overall

6439

4961

WinXP Startup (MBps)

10.1

8.3

warranty

three-year warranty

three-year warranty

Each drive was tested by Computer Power User magazine’s Marty Sems, singly on a fully updated system with an Athlon FX-55 (2.6GHz/1MB of L2 cache), 1GB (2 x 512MB) of PC4400 DDR RAM at 400MHz, with a 1.5Gbps Western Digital Raptor 74GB Hard drive, and Windows XP Professional with service pack 2 (Sems 16). The Nvidia nForce4 chipset on the DFI LAN-Party NF4 SLI-DR main-board provided the 3Gbps/NCQ SATA controller.

The Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 was the first hard drive to ship with a half a terabyte of storage capacity. The 7K500 was PCMark05’s clear favorite between the two 7,200rpm hard drives in this report, almost matching the 10,000rpm Raptor’s scores. The 7K500 sports a 3GB SATA interface and has a seek time of 8.5 ms, with 16MB of Cache. The 7K500 cost $379.99 and comes with a three year warranty. For performance the 7K500 is definitely the better choice. It can be purchased on-line from Hitachi, http://www.hitachigst.com, or bought in your favorite computer electronics store.

The 500GB Seagate NL35.2 is rerelease of a Barracuda 7200.9 with modified firmware (Sems 17). The Seagate NL35.2 also has a 7,200 RPM spindle speed and a 16MB of Cache. Although it did beat the Deskstar 7K500’s Windows XP start up time, its seek time is only 11ms which makes it slower of the two drives tested. The NL35.2 has a 1-million hour MTBF rating because of its build, tolerances, and testing (Sems 17). The NL35.2 did well in HD Tach benchmark test conducted by Computer Power User magazine’s Marty Sems. The Seagate NL35.2 is your best choice for 24/7 reliability. The Seagate NL35.2 cost $384 and also comes with a three-warranty. The NL35.2 can be purchased directly from Seagate, http://www.seagate.com, or from a retailer.

For performance The Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 is your best bet its performance in both PCMark05 and HD Tach were excellent (see table 1). For longevity, The Seagate NL35.2 is the pick with its 1-million hour MTBF rating. When purchasing a drive one must decide what is most important: short-term performance or long-term reliability.

Works Cited

Sems, Marty. “Heavy Gear.” Computer Power User February 2006: 16-20.

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