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Samsung: Spinpoint F

Tom’s Winter 2008 Hard Drive Guide

Samsung currently offers three hard drive series. You will find a comprehensive overview on these drives in the article Mainstream, Business or Eco? Samsung Terabyte Drives Compared. All Spinpoint drives mentioned on this page are 3.5” desktop hard drives with SATA/300 interfaces and 32 MB of cache memory.

Spinpoint F for the Masses (HD103UJ)

The Spinpoint F has been Samsung’s terabyte mainstream hard drive for roughly a year now. When it was introduced in 2007, it was the first terabyte hard drive that stored its entire capacity on only three platters. Today, all four 3.5” drive makers are at comparable density levels, but not all of them managed to beat Samsung’s excellent throughput. As you will see in the benchmark section, the Spinpoint F at 1 TB is still one of the best performers when it comes to sequential data transfer rates. Only Seagate’s new Barracuda 7200.11 at 1.5 TB and Samsung’s RAID edition drive provide higher throughput.

As always, it is hard to release a perfect product. While the Spinpoint F is a winner when it comes to sequential throughput, its power consumption is not top of the class anymore, which results in average performance per watt results. It is also not the quickest drive for data access and I/O performance, but it still reaches good results in the PCMark05 application benchmark. We found it impressive to see that the Spinpoint F still does well as a mainstream drive, despite its age of almost one year. If you get a good deal for this drive, there is not much to speak against it.

Spinpoint RAID Edition for Enthusiasts (HE103UJ)

The better choice for enthusiasts is the RAID edition Spinpoint by Samsung, as it offers improved performance and is validated for 24/7 operation. While the regular Spinpoint F reached up to 118 MB/s throughput, the RAID edition delivered almost 120 MB/s sequential read throughput. More importantly, access time and I/O performance improved as well, most likely as a result of modified access patterns, as the RAID edition makes noticeably more noise. Fortunately, we still cannot call it “noisy,” and we liked that it even required a bit less power than the regular Spinpoint F.

The improvements in performance and power consumption are reflected nicely when we look at performance per watt. The Spinpoint F RAID edition reached good results in the streaming read test, but only average standing in the workstation I/O test. WD’s Caviar Black or the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B provide better performance per watt. If you want your system to run 24/7, to be available for downloads or other services, then you should make sure that your hard drive was designed to support continuous operation. That’s definitely the case for the Samsung (and other) RAID edition drives.

Eco Green For HTPCs And Media Servers (HD103UI)

Finally, Samsung also wants to surf on the green IT wave with its Eco Green drive. It is technically very similar to the standard and RAID editions, but it only spins at 5,400 RPM, which is the main reason for the power savings. Instead of almost 120 MB/s, the Eco Green drive reaches only 85 MB/s of throughput, and the access time is the longest of all drives in this roundup. However, its 4.3 W idle power is excellent, and was only passed by Western Digital’s new Caviar Green, which we measured at 2.8 W idle power. Interestingly, the Eco Green drive still does well in the performance per watt tests due to its low power consumption.

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  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 24, 2008 7:19 AM
    Thanks for the write-up.
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , November 24, 2008 8:05 AM
    I would be interested in seeing how SSDs have effected Raptor sales.
  • 0 Hide
    radnor , November 24, 2008 9:02 AM
    I honestly think SSDs wont touch Velociraptor sales. The price tag is just too different. Even 300Gb is kinda short. Not to mention 64Gb.

    SSDs for now are only rich lappy owners. For the rest, there is SAS.
  • 0 Hide
    arkadi , November 24, 2008 10:45 AM
    with the new x58 out, it will be nice 2 see how sas drives will do
  • -1 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 24, 2008 11:10 AM
    There are 30gb OCZ SSDs on newegg for $80 each. Anyone wanting a faster drive for the OS would definitely consider the SSD over a Raptor.
  • 3 Hide
    DFGum , November 24, 2008 11:12 AM
    Slomo4shOThere are 30gb OCZ SSDs on newegg for $80 each. Anyone wanting a faster drive for the OS would definitely consider the SSD over a Raptor.

    Except there not faster.
  • 2 Hide
    zenmaster , November 24, 2008 11:12 AM
    Have you seen the OCZ horror stories?
  • 1 Hide
    antiacid , November 24, 2008 12:38 PM
    SSD doesn't equate to better performances than raptors. Watch out for that :) 

    thanks for the review, it's nice to see the Hitachi's getting updated to such fast drives.
  • 3 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , November 24, 2008 12:48 PM
    EcoGreen F1 @ -60C operational temperature? That may not be the most ideal enviroment to run a pc ? might want to add a zero in front :) 

    ps. no noise measurements?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 24, 2008 1:05 PM
    yes, no noise measuring? That is a important as anything else for a HTPC?
  • -1 Hide
    malveaux , November 24, 2008 1:17 PM
    SSD's aSSD's, especially the MLC ones, are not effecting gaming machine sales (raptor). They're terrible for PC's right now that run Windows. They're better than their initial release. But they're still not something to overtake the markget for a while.
  • 6 Hide
    chikatana , November 24, 2008 4:27 PM
    The gallery thing is so user unfriendly. I hate it so much since its introduction. It takes much longer to load, and I have to switch between browser windows constantly to see all the images. Please go back to the old design and show all the images in a few pages directly. I don't want to keep switching!!!
  • -1 Hide
    Pei-chen , November 24, 2008 4:42 PM
    I am using two 1.5TB drive in RAID 0 under Vista x64 and it doesn't feel any faster than the two 320GB 7200.10 RAID 0 drives it replaced. The throughput for the 320GB is 70 MB/s or 140 MB/s on RAID 0; the 1.5TB should be noticeably faster but it isn’t.

    BTW, the maxima drive size windows can address is 2TB so my 2*1.5TB shows up as one 2TB + one 700GB drives.
  • -1 Hide
    Eggrenade , November 24, 2008 7:46 PM
    This is one of those articles that reminds me why I like Tom's so much: quantitative comparisons that are useful.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 24, 2008 8:55 PM
    Properly-designed flash-based solid state drives are not only faster than conventional drives, they can also require considerably less power

    LMAO! A couple of months ago Tom's had an article saying that the energy-saving of SSDs was a hoax. The title even had the word "hoax" in it. I called their bluff, and got down-rated in the comments on that article. Now, they're saying the exact opposite! How many times does Tom's say one thing to spark controversy and get website hits, and then say the exact opposite later on? This website is SO FULL OF CRAP.

    1. Post deleted like APPLE owns this site.
  • 1 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 24, 2008 9:03 PM
    SSDs ARE faster than HDDs, IF you have the right SSD. Furthermore, that is not the ONLY advantage to having an SSD. Heat, energy use, ability to handle more shock, and noise all contribute.

    XP and Vista is not correctly optimized for SSDs, but that doesn't mean that a high end SSD won't outperform hard drives on them.
  • 1 Hide
    doomsdaydave11 , November 24, 2008 9:33 PM
    DFGumExcept there not faster.

    Yeah those cheapo OCZ (etc) drives are incredibly slow. My next harddrive will be a 500GB Seagate 7200.11. That should last me at least 2 years, and then I'll go with maybe a 512GB SSD or something. Surely they'll have 512GB SSD's that provide at least 200MB/s read and 150MB/s write at a reasonable price in 2 years.... especially with all these memory prices dropping. Last year you could get 2x2GB of DDR2-800 for ~$200. Now, 2x2GB of DDR2-800 can be had for under $50, and even lower then that after rebates!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2008 12:09 AM
    The WD Raptor 36GB and above can still be used within a raid-0 array. Heck thats what i'm using now, i was looking for SSD's but too much SSD's that have their issues and wont come down at least for 350€ for a decent Raid-0 set.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2008 2:13 AM
    I checked Newegg and noticed that the following drives aren't readily available, yet Tom's is recommending them. What's up ?

    Hitachi 7K1000.B
    Seagate new 1TB
  • 0 Hide
    Codesmith , November 25, 2008 4:01 AM
    I look at not only the length of the warranty but the quality of the support. When my seagate failed I had to pay a total of $27 for advanced replacement. When my western digital failed advanced replacement was free and I only paid $7 for a optional prepaid return shipping label.

    Also I had to get to page idk 17 or 19 in the RMA process before I saw anything about an advance replacement fee.

    I am not saying I won't ever buy a seagate, just saying I lean heavily toward WD because of the way they handle replacements.

    I wish I new all the manufacturers policies on advance replacement fee's. But one's that charge don't advertise it so I am kinda in the dark.
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