Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Energy-Saving Hard Drives

Energy-Saving Hard Drives

These hard drives are not meant to break new records in performance, but they might be able to break records when it comes to storage capacity per watt of power used. Both Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) and Western Digital have now released disk drives that cater to the power-conscious audience. The Hitachi Deskstar P7K500 and the WD GreenPower series reduce power consumption by up to 40% compared to conventional hard drives. We wanted to know what the impact on performance was of these design changes, which must not be significant for these products to be accepted in the market.

Looking at power requirements of 50 to 120 W for TFT displays, 20 to 120 W for processors, 25 to 200 W for discrete graphics solutions, up to 50 W for high-end motherboards and another 10 to 20% of the component power requirements due to losses in the power supply, a discussion of hard drive power requirements might seems of little interest. After all, the typical power consumption of a desktop hard drive lies anywhere between 5 and 15 W, depending on the model, spindle speed and platter count. In fact, choosing one drive or another does seem to have little impact on the power consumption of a desktop PC.

Yet the hard drive does have a measurable impact on power requirement in applications outside of a typical desktop PC environment: think of data centers, where thousands of hard drives are required to satisfy enormous storage requirements. And while any device not only consumes a certain amount of power when it operates, it is also produces heat that must be removed via air conditioning solutions. As a matter of fact, the effort and cost of deploying large-scale, fail-safe air conditioning solutions may be more significant than the direct cost and impact of device power consumption.

Other applications for low-power hard drives are consumer electronics devices such as personal video recorders (PVRs), set-top boxes with integrated storage, and all sorts of backup devices such as external hard drives and RAID-based solutions for near-line storage. These need to be as cool, quiet and as easy to maintain as possible, and they don’t even require great performance. Most of the hard drives that are integrated into consumer electronics products are actually still based on UltraATA interfaces rather than on Serial ATA.

energy efficient hdd

Hitachi or Western Digital? The P7K500 faces the GreenPower drives.

Hitachi and Western Digital both have products to cater to these markets: the Hitachi Deskstar P7K500, where the P stands for “power”, and the Western Digital GreenPower series, which includes a number of power optimizations that can be found across various WD product lines.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 8 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 0 Hide
    jeremyrailton , June 3, 2008 7:06 PM
    according to the conclusion table, hitachi has a 5400gb drive. i want one!
  • 1 Hide
    Gudas , June 5, 2008 9:26 PM
    The Hitachi P7K500 series has a nice feature - if you activate "Low RPM idle" mode via the Feature Tool, the drive slow down from 7200rpm (to about 4500rpm) after 10 minutes when not accesing it. I have one (250GB model) and it's working great, it helps also to reduce the sound of the rotating platters. It would be nice to mention it in the review.
  • 1 Hide
    brndon1988 , June 7, 2008 7:49 PM

    they made raid compatible hard drives for faster writings, ect. if you want a 5400gb hard drive, just don't hold anything that you use regularly with something that massively slow.

    unless your a big corporation, a music/movie addict, or a porn addict. (home users, that's you) you wouldn't need it for much.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 9, 2008 6:08 PM
    why not just use SSD? ...idk, just a thought
  • -1 Hide
    randomizer , June 10, 2008 12:53 AM
    Crap capacities?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 17, 2008 5:31 AM

    I'm a owner of two Hitachi P7K500 500 GB hard drives, but I haven't been able to enable AHCI mode on my Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L (rev. 2.0) motherboard. Whenever I enable the option in the BIOS (I don't remember the exact name right now), next time it boots up it just won't even detect the drives.

    If someone can help me with this issue, I'd pretty much appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 8, 2008 2:52 PM
    You need install drivers os SATA contoller,
  • 0 Hide
    drewmcg , August 13, 2008 1:45 PM
    The Hitachi also comes with a 16mb cache--too bad this review did not use that model, since all the other drives here use 16-32mb caches.