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1.5 TB Low-Power HDDs: Green Gets Big

1.5 TB Low-Power HDDs: Green Gets Big
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They offer huge capacity, they’re affordable, and (supposedly) they’re green. Samsung’s Spinpoint F2 EcoGreen battles the Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS. Which is the best high-capacity green drive for storage applications?

Why 1.5 TB?

The answer is simple: although 1.5 TB drives are still more expensive per gigabyte than 500 GB or 1 TB disks, they are still much more affordable than the latest 2 TB flagship models. We found the WD 1.5 TB Caviar Green starting at $129, which definitely is acceptable considering its capacity. In contrast, 2 TB drives still cost above $200. The 1.5 TB capacity point should still offer more than enough storage for the many months to come.

Two Types of Storage

If you want to purchase a storage product like a hard drive, you must first define its primary purpose. A performance drive—which is best for hosting your operating system, swap file, and temporary application files—should be as fast as possible. In contrast, drives meant to simply store data don’t have to deliver maximum performance, but are best having a balance of capacity, performance, and low power consumption.
While performance storage solutions are getting faster and faster (see the latest flash SSDs), high-capacity solutions are quickly becoming more efficient. Hence, we will see more and more 3.5” high-capacity hard drives, which aren’t competitive in terms of performance, but are very attractive from a performance per watt and capacity per watt standpoint. Both the WD Caviar Green WD15EADS and Samsung’s new Spinpoint F2 EcoGreen (EG) aim at this market.

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  • 5 Hide
    dragonfang18 , June 24, 2009 6:35 AM
    Man Western Digital its on the ball for a while... Hope they keep it up.
  • 8 Hide
    stumpystumped , June 24, 2009 6:42 AM
    I think power efficiency have gone way beyond practical. Take the 2TB WD drive running it at max for 24hr per day for 1 year. You get a total usage of 6.9 x 24 x 365 / 1000 = 63kW which converts to $9 electricity for 1 year. Comparing this to insane graphics card consumption for 300, 400, 500 even 1000W+ systems. I don't see why Tom's keep on telling us HDD are going green when it really matters little in the overall PC consumption.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2009 7:09 AM
    When I read the title I was excited, after checking out the roundup I was a little bit disappointed. I'm missing the Seagate Barracuda LP drive, which is also available in 1.5TB. Why don't you guys put this drive in the roundup as well?
  • 1 Hide
    pirateboy , June 24, 2009 7:32 AM
    Tekn0zWhen I read the title I was excited, after checking out the roundup I was a little bit disappointed. I'm missing the Seagate Barracuda LP drive, which is also available in 1.5TB. Why don't you guys put this drive in the roundup as well?


    +1
    please update this article with scores of the new Seagate LP Drive.
    thanks
  • 0 Hide
    Sihastru , June 24, 2009 8:19 AM
    The images with the electrical boards are misplaced. It makes the Samsung look like a carefully assembled hard drive...
  • 0 Hide
    FSXFan , June 24, 2009 8:32 AM
    stumpystumpedI think power efficiency have gone way beyond practical. Take the 2TB WD drive running it at max for 24hr per day for 1 year. You get a total usage of 6.9 x 24 x 365 / 1000 = 63kW which converts to $9 electricity for 1 year. Comparing this to insane graphics card consumption for 300, 400, 500 even 1000W+ systems. I don't see why Tom's keep on telling us HDD are going green when it really matters little in the overall PC consumption.

    I was about to say the same thing. I have four HDD's running in my PC all the time but I know the power they use is negligible compared to my OC'ed quad and HD3870, especially when I run Folding@Home around 18hrs a day.
  • 0 Hide
    Sihastru , June 24, 2009 8:36 AM
    The only reason for buying a "Green" hard drive is not lower power consumption. I mean... It's not much of a difference. It is a very large percentage, but a very small number.

    So you're not going to save the Planet with Green drives, unless you buy them by the hundreds for big farms. I think they should sell regular drives as Green ones, and when someone purchases one, they should plant a few trees somewhere on the Planet in their name...

    For me, the only good reason for buying a Green drive would be to use it for storage because the 5400 RPM should translate into better reliability (but that's not proven yet).
  • 2 Hide
    2shea , June 24, 2009 12:24 PM
    the best good points of these hdd's are that they are reasonably cool, low power requirement for htpc's with a small psu and reasonably quiet. That makes them very good in the htpc market and that is where they are best for.
    Yes you can use them in your regular pc as well off course but that is not the main market. I think the seagate wasn't available at the moment they started testing the disks and that is why it is not included, or they didn't got one from seagate on time.
  • 0 Hide
    AdamB5000 , June 24, 2009 2:48 PM
    I'm all for efficiency, but I hope people don't think that getting a "green" hard drive and saving three watts is going to "save the planet."
  • 0 Hide
    eaclou , June 24, 2009 3:22 PM
    Tom's, thanks for doing an article with some power/temp/noise statistics -- it's great to see those numbers, when they are usually glossed over or ignored.

    Now if we could just get some stats on Video Cards, or get the graphics manufacturers to produce even just 1 model of a smaller, cooler, quieter card rather than the ever-bigger, insanely hot ones.

    -and to the people who said these drives won't make a difference. Yes, taken alone they won't, but that's the same with pretty much everything. The point is, it's good to see the direction of innovation headed in the low-power/temp direction, as it WILL make a difference when everyone is using the more efficient parts, which will likely last longer because they don't run at >60C. No, 3W isn't huge, but it's EASY, and with not a terrible performance loss, i think these "green" drives are great.
  • 1 Hide
    pirateboy , June 24, 2009 5:11 PM
    eaclou...Now if we could just get some stats on Video Cards, or get the graphics manufacturers to produce even just 1 model of a smaller, cooler, quieter card rather than the ever-bigger, insanely hot ones...


    here you go:
    Albatron HD 4830 Green 512 MB
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Albatron/HD_4830_Green
  • 0 Hide
    storageinventor , June 24, 2009 8:08 PM
    Saving a couple of watts on a hard drive may not seem like much, until you realize that the industry sells something like 500 million units each year. If you figure an average life expectancy of about 3 years for a hard drive, that would mean that there are probably over 2 billion hard drives currently in use. Now if each hard drive uses a few less watts, the overall electrical use can really be significant.
  • 1 Hide
    the_garynator , June 24, 2009 9:48 PM
    I really want to see a review on the reliability of these 1.5TB hard drives...seems to me they all have HORRIBLE ratings at newegg...something like 25%+/- 1 star ratings and 50%+/- 5 star ratings which is horrible considering that most other hard drives are somewhere around 75%+/- 5 star ratings and 10%+/- 1 star ratings.
  • 0 Hide
    computabug , June 24, 2009 11:06 PM
    The amount of energy taken for all of Tom's readers to DL this article greatly dwarfs the energy saved by using eco drives of low performance that save you around ten bucks over their life span and initially cost you a lot more than regular drives of the same performance.
  • 0 Hide
    cletus_slackjawd , June 25, 2009 2:18 AM
    the_garynatorI really want to see a review on the reliability of these 1.5TB hard drives...seems to me they all have HORRIBLE ratings at newegg...something like 25%+/- 1 star ratings and 50%+/- 5 star ratings which is horrible considering that most other hard drives are somewhere around 75%+/- 5 star ratings and 10%+/- 1 star ratings.

    Sadly, this is too true. Sold my RMA drive to my brother, don't trust these drives. Lost 750GB of emulation software. If at all considering one of these drives, add the cost of a second drive to your purchase for backup or lose big time.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 25, 2009 2:44 AM
    perhaps it would be nice to see the power measurments on some notebook HD variants.
    Power requirement most of the time means only something in the server and notebook sector.
    The desktop sector can live perfectly fine with a HD that consumes 3Watts more than another one!
  • 0 Hide
    masterwhitman , June 25, 2009 4:39 AM
    Yes, please do an update to include the Seagate LP drives; it's hardly worth doing an article for only 2 drives, don't'cha think?
  • 0 Hide
    astrodudepsu , June 25, 2009 5:25 AM
    the_garynatorI really want to see a review on the reliability of these 1.5TB hard drives...seems to me they all have HORRIBLE ratings at newegg...something like 25%+/- 1 star ratings and 50%+/- 5 star ratings which is horrible considering that most other hard drives are somewhere around 75%+/- 5 star ratings and 10%+/- 1 star ratings.



    Normally, I don't trust NewEgg reviews at all but I have to agree with the above post. SOMETHING must be up for all these drives to get such low ratings. At first I was willing to chalk it up to the garbage 7200.11 1.5TB drives, but it's not just those bricks getting such poor ratings. And while newegg reviews are purely anecdotal, it does seem fishy.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 25, 2009 7:56 PM
    Does anyone know where the Samsung drive can be purchased?
  • 0 Hide
    vherub , June 25, 2009 9:45 PM
    it's been a while since anyone called 1,500 MB mammoth
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