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Eco? Should You Care?

1,000 GB: Three Samsung TB Drives

With more and more product lines and subtle variations, it is certainly legitimate to ask yourself: why should I care? The hard drive does not make that much of a difference anyway.

Clearly, there are two factors that make the entire discussion obsolete for average users. On the one hand, the hard drive has always been, and will continue to be, the slowest PC component. Modern drives still have access times of 12 to 16 ms (milliseconds), while even low-cost flash memory and regular memory of all types are in the nanosecond range. Throughput has only increased tenfold within the last ten years—check the article Capacities Outran Performance for details. Meanwhile, CPU or graphics performance went up by several orders of magnitude. Thus, even a RAID edition or performance-enhanced version of a hard drive really does not make a significant difference in the big picture, except for when it comes to reliability.

The second item that speaks against discussing these hard drive models in detail is drive power consumption. The story becomes somewhat ridiculous if we select a power saving hard drive for a high-end PC: getting a drive that runs a few watts below the power levels of a mainstream 7,200 RPM drive to install it into a PC that requires 100+ W definitely is a waste of time.

Specific Requirements Need Matching Hard Drives

However, there are many good reasons to select the right hard drive, the first being reliability. If you intend to keep your PC running constantly, so it can serve files, take care of regular downloads, or simply be available on demand at any time, it clearly makes sense to get a RAID edition or 24/7 drive, just to be on the safe side.

If you want higher performance storage, you should go for a 10,000 RPM Western Digital Velociraptor, or one of the latest flash solid state drives (SSDs). They’re all more expensive than the 7,200 RPM mainstream, but they provide substantial performance benefits that the business or RAID models at 7,200 RPM do not.

Finally, power consumption becomes interesting if you’re paying attention to this for all your components. Once your system gets down to 40 to 60 W of idle power, a 5 W difference in the hard drive is noticeable and worth consideration.

Corporate users who need to operate hundreds or thousands of hard drives should always consider low-power drives for storage arrays. Of course, this can only work if performance isn’t a primary objective, but a large number of power-efficient drives not only reduces operating power consumption, it also contributes to lower cooling costs.

Related Articles

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A Look Into The Hard Drive’s Future

15 Years of Hard Drive History: Capacities Outran Performance

Flash SSD Update: More Results

WD’s New Raptor Is A Bird Of Prey!

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  • -6 Hide
    Kari , September 23, 2008 11:18 AM
    WTF is that amch questionmarket survey that keeps hijacking my browser everytime I continue to the next page! It's getting pretty annoying and I don't 'qualify' for the survey but that doesn't stop them from trying.. >:( 
  • 2 Hide
    randomizer , September 23, 2008 12:02 PM
    No surveys showing up here.
  • 1 Hide
    Dogsnake , September 23, 2008 1:06 PM
    What survey? No problems going page to page on 3 separate systems I checked with. Maybe your infected?
  • 2 Hide
    one-shot , September 23, 2008 1:51 PM
    I just imagine that smug little cat saying "no problems here" like it knows whats going on. That pic makes me laugh, all the smugness
  • 1 Hide
    arkadi , September 23, 2008 3:10 PM
    i hope to see performance of Raid configuration on popular chip sets. Raid 0,5. I have 2 Spinpoint F mainstream model drives on my nforce4 sli Raid 0, and i can fell the differents in performance comparing 2 my old two 250 wd raid drives (Raid 0).
  • 1 Hide
    SDLeary , September 23, 2008 4:32 PM
    Could you perhaps do some comparisons with the WD Caviar Green? Its not listed on the main spec page, but these drives are supposed to have a variable rotation speed; between 5400 and 7200. If the Samsung is fixed 5400, then there might be some performance differences!

  • -1 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , September 23, 2008 4:40 PM
    Link failure. :\
  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , September 23, 2008 4:43 PM
    Er, ignore that. Replied in the wrong tab.

    What I wanted to post here is that I also want to see a comparison with the 5400/7200 variable speed drives. Does that offer any real advantage, and what about the power savings?
  • 2 Hide
    ravenware , September 23, 2008 6:38 PM
    Yes! Finally another hard drive review, because these are so much different than the last hard drives that were reviewed.

    Can we have another SSD review this week too? You know, one that shows how great the SSD performs but how it also costs too much?
  • -1 Hide
    Kari , September 23, 2008 6:52 PM
    DogSnakeWhat survey? No problems going page to page on 3 separate systems I checked with. Maybe your infected?

    nah I'm clean.
    Looks like it's gone now. It used to be a little popup window before that i blocked but today it was more aggressive and annoying. And I've never seen it on any other sites, only here at toms, must be some sponsor or smthgn... Heres hoping they got ridd of it permanently
  • 1 Hide
    caskachan , September 24, 2008 10:09 AM

    samsung latest batch of 1tb drives could not perfrom well at high speeds so, what thye do
    sell them as eco friendly low spinning drives yay!

  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 25, 2008 10:38 AM
    The "green" moniker is obvious marketing babble. These drives are designed and very well suited for non-pc appliances like settop boxes and game consoles. In the pc arena you mentioned HTPC and NAS but office pc's can also use a quiet and cool running drive. To me all these lower performance applications look like at least 50% of the market.
  • -1 Hide
    jacke , September 30, 2008 7:07 PM
    1 TB is now in Your notebook. Take Dell Precision M6400


  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , October 4, 2008 12:30 PM

    Wait, is it just me or is Kari also Randomizer...? Hmm. Delete the profiles? Check ISP #s? Where is the Stasi when you need them.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , October 5, 2008 1:52 AM
    JonnyDoughWait, is it just me or is Kari also Randomizer...?

    Why would you say that? And why would I need another profile? :lol: