Buying a hard drive is always some kind of venture. Particularly at the end of every year, many shops and distributors are trying to dispose their remaining stock. It is quite normal to get an old and a latest generation hard drive for the same money.
Non-professionals have hardly any chance to find out which one is the better choice. As a result, many people frequently make the wrong decision.
This time we took a look at two brand new 40 GB drives which are both quite a good buy right now. We also included the results of several formerly tested drives to show you the technical development.
First of all, discounters like to reduce the differences between hard disk drives just to the capacity. The only additional hint they sometimes provide is the average seek time. But those numbers (8 or 9 milliseconds usually) are quite far away from reality, as the complete access time is more important than the naked seek time.
There are also some other factors which should all have an influence on your buying decision: The rotation speed (5400 or 7200 rpm) and hence the resulting noise, capacity of the buffer memory (512 kB or 2 MB), storage density (GBs per platter) and additional features just like acoustic management.