Conclusion: A Hard Drive Rookie With Good Qualities
Hitachi's 146Z10 hard drive cannot win against its established and younger competitors because it is not quite as up to date. For example, the Hitachi uses six platters, where its rivals require only four to reach the maximum capacity of 146 GB.
However, there are benchmarks in which the 146Z10 can prove that a long production run is not necessarily a disadvantage. We were pleasantly surprised by its consistently good write performance, with its maximum performance giving it the lead over the Seagate and Fujitsu drives. Its minimum write performance, on the other hand, was only mediocre, at 20 MB/s.
At 96 MB/s, the UltraStar's interface transfer rate is not the lowest in the group, either. When it comes to access time and I/O-performance, however, the drive cannot keep up to the other competitors in our test - their higher data densities are their greatest advantages here.
Depending on where the drives will be used, the benchmark tests could become less relevant. For instance, while the surface temperature of the Hitachi drive with its six platters always stayed below 50°C, all other competitors produced slightly more heat, and this could be a reason why the Hitachi 146Z10 could be the happy winner in hot or poorly cooled surroundings in the end.
With the arrival of the new DK32EJ on the market, the first 146 GB drive since the fusion of the IBM Storage Division with the Storage Group of Hitachi, another comparison of the four hard drives will be very interesting. The DK32EJ has only been recently become available, and it also works with four platters. In an upcoming test, we will find out if its competitors need to be wary of this new flagship drive from Hitachi.