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We first looked at the Deskstar 5K3000 when we compared various 3 TB hard drives last fall. Check out Four 3 TB Hard Drives, Tested And Reviewed for more information. Briefly, the 5K3000 is a five-platter drive (just like the new 4 TB version). It features 32 MB cache and a SATA 6Gb/s interface.
The rated internal transfer rate of 1366 Mb/s (170 MB/s) is actually faster than the new drive's specified speed of 1293 Mbt/s (162 MB/s). In the real world, however, both drives actually offer very similar throughput, which hovers around 130 MB/s at best. Hitachi's 4 TB drive even facilitates better average results at slightly improved peak and minimum transfer rates.
When it comes to I/O performance, though, the Deskstar 5K3000 is slightly better than the newer 4 TB drive, although this discipline isn't particularly relevant for 5400 RPM drives. This 3 TB disk also enjoys a slight advantage over the larger drive in PCMark 7, even if the differences are small enough to be ignored.
If you’re looking for a high-capacity drive and you can’t decide between the 3 and the 4 TB models from Hitachi, buy the model with the lowest cost per gigabyte (almost certainly the 5K3000) if that fourth gig won't be missed too much.