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Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB (HD502HJ)

500GB Per Platter: Three Next-Gen 7,200 RPM Hard Drives

The Spinpoint F is Samsung’s 3.5” hard drive family for desktops. Past Spinpoint drives were named by the capacity that Samsung could store on a single platter, as with the Spinpoint P102 or T166. The naming changed slightly with the introduction of the company’s first 1TB hard drive, the Spinpoint F1. The second-generation Spinpoint F2 has thus far only been available in an EcoGreen version (F2EG) spinning at 5,400 RPM. The new Spinpoint F3 marks the next-generation performance desktop drive, running at 7,200 RPM and storing 500GB per platter.

The first product we received is the 500GB HD502HJ, and we hear from Samsung that 1TB models are also available now. However, higher capacities may still take a few weeks. While the HD502HJ can only store 500GB, this capacity point is the sweet spot for volume hard drive sales today because it allows drive makers to bring cost down to a minimum, thanks to the single-platter design. At the same time, utilizing the latest recording technology also introduces a decent performance boost. The Spinpoint F3 500GB reached a maximum read throughput of 136 MB/s and an average of 110.4 MB/s—not bad! The two WD drives are capable of beating the F3’s maximum throughput, though.

Samsung’s single-platter design introduces another less obvious advantage: this is one of the coolest medium capacity drives we’ve had in our test labs. The lowest operational temperature we measured on WD’s Caviar Green (WD20EADS) was 39°C, but that one spins at 5,400 RPM while Samsung has the 7,200 RPM performance boost. Samsung’s idle noise is also acceptable, since more platters always introduce more noise. This applies both for idle noise and noise during high I/O activity.

Samsung’s 13.5 ms access time isn’t particularly amazing. It’s good enough for general consumer use, but the access speed does impact I/O performance and drag down the drive’s numbers, at least at this capacity point.

In this context, it’s important to look at power requirements. Samsung could have optimized this drive for low power rather than maximum performance, which it actually did. Showing just 5.7W maximum power draw during I/O-intensive workstation operation, Samsung beats any other hard drive on this test, including all the fancy green models. Power consumption during HD video playback also is also very low at 4.4W; only streaming reads at maximum throughput are more power-intensive (6.8W). In the end, the Spinpoint F3 delivers the best performance per watt in terms of throughput.


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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    findarato , October 29, 2009 1:48 PM
    2TB is a lot of data to loose, at that level you should do something like raid 1, or 5
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    wira020 , October 29, 2009 12:44 PM
    OK, i'm confused... does this mean velociraptor is no longer the fastest hard drive drive?... i'm sorry but i'm not very good at this... i'm thinking of building a system for gaming... SSD is out of the option so was thinking of getting velociraptor... so can sum1 clears it for me?
  • 11 Hide
    findarato , October 29, 2009 1:48 PM
    2TB is a lot of data to loose, at that level you should do something like raid 1, or 5
  • 0 Hide
    jonpaul37 , October 29, 2009 3:02 PM
    Terabyte me! X 2!

    Nice performance here! Thanks for coming in today and keep up the good work
  • 3 Hide
    vgdarkstar , October 29, 2009 3:04 PM
    No Barracuda 12?
  • 0 Hide
    Jerky_san , October 29, 2009 3:19 PM
    Nice stuff.. Even though the power consumption at idle is a little on the high side for the WD's i doubt the people these are focused on give a crap..
  • -5 Hide
    IzzyCraft , October 29, 2009 3:29 PM
    Barracuda .12 is just a revision of the .11 with new firmware for the different cache size i believe.
  • 0 Hide
    pharge , October 29, 2009 3:41 PM
    "Sadly enough, while most platforms are stuffed with useful and sometimes useless features, most lack the EFI and GPT support needed to take full advantage of future hard drives larger than 2TB."

    Yea... Though I may prefer to keep my boot drive nice clean and neat while leaving all my stuffs/junks/games on my data drive, it is still sad that our boot drives are/will be still limited at the 2TB.

    Maybe in the future (or now for the people w/ big budget)... booting from a 2TB high performance/or RAID HD.

    But... anyway... it is still sad that I will be stuck in that 2TB barrier for a while... unless I move to Apple system (which is very unlikely)..... :( 
  • 1 Hide
    amnotanoobie , October 29, 2009 3:44 PM
    7amoodThere should be a stress test that estimates the real time before drive failure, after all, 2TB is a lot of data to lose... if got bitten before.I hope to see such test soon.

    With so many possible parts that could fail, even if Tom's did that it wouldn't realistically represent what the other million consumers might experience. Also a good drive would probably break in years, by the time you read that review you're already looking at a new generation of hard drives that are released to market (then the cycle starts again).
  • 0 Hide
    pharge , October 29, 2009 3:46 PM
    ugh... sorry... one part of my post was lost... here is the correction...

    ...Maybe in the future (or now for the people w/ big budget)... booting from a smaller SSD and run everything else on those larger than 2TB high performance/or RAID HD.

    sorry about the mistake

    TOMS! we need the EDIT function!!!!!

  • 0 Hide
    amnotanoobie , October 29, 2009 3:46 PM
    IzzyCraftBarracuda .12 is just a revision of the .11 with new firmware for the different cache size i believe.

    LOL, the .11 was a 2 platter drive, the .12 is a single platter drive. Their performance is different so cache is probably not the only thing changed.

    EDIT: The 7200.12 was the first 500GB per platter drive that Seagate released. The 1TB version uses 2 platters. (Izzycraft obviously took the term 'single platter drive' too literally).
  • -4 Hide
    cybrcatter , October 29, 2009 4:24 PM
    I love the direction that storage technology is going.
    SSD are getting cheap enough for my ever increasing impatience for a fast loading OS, and HDDs are getting bigger for my every increasing p0r... er movie collection :) 
  • 3 Hide
    asymtote , October 29, 2009 4:27 PM
    @wira020: The Velociraptor (and other 10k or 15k rpm drives) can be beaten in performance by lower speed, higher capacity drives because of their density. A 150GB 3.5" drive vs a 2TB 3.5" drive means that up to 13.3x the data can pass over the heads on the larger capacity drive. A 1.4x rotational speed difference can't make up for that. Not to mention that the Velociraptor drives aren't even 3.5", so you don't get the extra performance from the edge of the platter where it moves past the head at a faster tangential velocity. Obviously this isn't the whole story, or 10k drives wouldn't sell, but my point remains. Horray for physics!
  • -2 Hide
    thackstonns , October 29, 2009 4:52 PM
    Samsung f3 1 tb drives have been available for a while now. I have 2. And they beet the wd drives and only cost like 80bucks oem on newegg. Wd lost my money this time because you have to buy the RE drives at a price premium if you want raid.
  • 0 Hide
    sublifer , October 29, 2009 5:15 PM
    comparison with a few SAS and SSD drives would be nice just to see how "standard" drives compare.
  • -7 Hide
    IzzyCraft , October 29, 2009 5:15 PM
    amnotanoobieLOL, the .11 was a 2 platter drive, the .12 is a single platter drive. Their performance is different so cache is probably not the only thing changed.

    So seagate has
    250gb-1TB is the size of the 7200.12
    So Seagate wins they already sell 1 tb single platter drives for only 90 bucks
    The 250 and the 320gb are single platter but that's it the difference is the cache which is reduced or bigger bah i can't remember.
  • 1 Hide
    Zinosys , October 29, 2009 5:21 PM
    I'm also surprised. The 7200.12 (from the results of Tom's HDD Benchies) looks like a very nice drive. I bet the 7200.12 feels left out. :( 
  • -1 Hide
    silky salamandr , October 29, 2009 7:15 PM
    Man Im really paranoid of dumping 2tb on a drive and have it fail. I would die if I lost 2tb worth of data. Im a backup freak. Im running a 750gb wd black partitioned out to run 7 and a seagate 7200.12 1tb and I also have a 320gig usb harddrive. I keep backups on all 3 of my drives.

    I would rather add more 1tb harddrives then one 2tb drive.
  • 2 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , October 29, 2009 7:26 PM
    It'll just keep getting bigger and bigger.. I remember when 200MB's on a hardware was huge, then 1GB!!!! WOOOOOOAH! Cmon now people, it's impressive but HIGHLY predictable. It'll be 100TB's before you know it then they will be hitting 1PB. Inevitable. As far as a lot of data to lose? ABSOLUTELY. I hate hard drives for that.
  • 0 Hide
    empstar , October 29, 2009 7:56 PM

    A massive 2-TB drive capacity .....
    The 7200-RPM performance .....
    A 64-MB cache optimizes .....
    The SATA 6Gb/s interface enables the use of the industry‘s newest and fastest hard drive controllers while providing backward compatibility to legacy SATA 1.5Gb/s or 3Gb/s systems.
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