Hard Drive performance issues

Hi Tom's Hardware community!

I've been quite annoyed with my Hard Drive performance and I've snooped around on the internet looking for similar cases. As you had probably already guessed I haven't found what I was looking for elsewhere (or maybe I wasn't searching hard enough) as I have turned up here for advice :p. I have listed it under opinions and advice because it suits the scenario better.

My Specs
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz, OC @ 3GHz
4GB Kingston HyperX RAM
ASUS P5Q Deluxe
1TB Samsung HDD (HD103SJ)
250GB Seagate
ASUS GTX 560 Ti DirectCUII 1GB (not TOP!)
Corsair CX600 PSU (600W)

The problem

1TB Samsung HDD (HD103SJ) <--- drive I think has problem

For quite a while my Hard Drive has been performing like crap quite frankly and I couldn't risk losing data by fiddling about with my settings. Two days ago I decided to take the plunge and I installed my old 250GB Seagate Hard Drive into my tower, installed Windows 7 and it was very very fast in comparison to my HD103SJ. I installed all my basic applications and it was all good. I did a couple of recordings with Fraps and it was fast with no lag at all. Yesterday I decided to see if it was a real problem with the HD103SJ, so I copied all the files all but some useless, space hogging downloads, to my old 250GB Hard Drive and even though it was full to the brim, it still performed great. I then installed Windows 7 on the HD103SJ (after clearing all partitions). It was also very fast at the start with no lag. I started doing Fraps recordings. At first the recordings were smooth, then they started to get some infrequent lag spikes and after a few minutes the recordings were starting to suffer with frequent spikes. I did try this many times with many different game settings and Fraps settings but the spikes still occurred. In all honesty I can't recall it being this bad when I first got the drive.

Action Taken

I've listed most of what I can remember above. But I've also:
Checked BIOS settings (these were fine)
Checked S.M.A.R.T. values (will list some of my concerns below)
Checked cabling

What next?

I've already ordered a new Hard Drive but I am seriously thinking about cancelling it because there may be nothing wrong with my HD103SJ at all. My main concern is that, like before, as soon as I start loading data onto my Hard Drive again, it will start performing really bad again (I mean really bad). It's rather strange that my older Seagate Hard Drive works better, records screen better and seems faster but is beaten by the HD103SJ in speeds (according to HDTune). According to the S.M.A.R.T. my Spin Up Time seems to hanging around a value of 68-75 which seems to not be flagged up, but I am concerned. with it.

My questions

Even though I said above that this is a discussion, it would be nice if someone could kindly answer some of the questions I have.

Are HD103SJ Hard Drives notorious for bad performance?
Would a Spin Up Time of approx. 9 seconds (according to S.M.A.R.T.) really affect performance?
Would it really be worth getting a new Hard Drive if I'm experiencing this problem?

The main thing I was worried about is not performance but data loss. But I'll stop blabbing on now and try to get some rest. Any sort of assitance would be appreciated. If you need more info about the Hard Drive(s) and S.M.A.R.T. readings, I can post it here. Please take into account that the Seagate is about 3 years old and the Samsung about 2.
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More about hard drive performance issues
  1. I did some tests this afternoon and here they are.

    Min: 107.2 MB/s
    Max: 141.5 MB/s
    Average: 134.2 MB/s
    Access Time: 11.4 ms
    Burst Rate: 195.1 MB/s
    CPU Usage: 6.1%

    Please take note that the Samsung drive isn't in use and has only a few files stored on it.


    Min: 70.4 MB/s
    Max: 107.8 MB/s
    Average: 101.7 MB/s
    Access Time: 9.17 ms
    Burst Rate: 211.5 MB/s
    CPU Usage: 5.3%

    The Samsung drive has a much more stable data rate according to the test but Access Time was more than the Seagate (more varied too), Burst Rate was less than the Seagate and CPU Usage was more. But this doesn't explain anything (for me at least). I bet these tests would vary if I did several of them but it would make me none the wiser.
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