10 TB for $1,000: Tom’s Hardware's Über RAID Array

Test Drive: 12 x Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ (1 TB)

We used twelve of Samsung’s first-generation terabyte hard drives, the Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ. Although the product is more than a year old, it’s still holds its own against some of its newer competition, including the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12, and WD’s Caviar Black. The F1’s 115 MB/s maximum read throughput continues to impress, and Samsung’s data density is so high that it can cram a full terabyte into only three platters. The drives spin at 7,200 RPM, use a SATA/300 interface, and come with 32 MB of buffer memory. Part of our decision to use the Samsung F1 drives was based on availability. Some of our units were spares from our Overdrive Overclocking Championship. Finding ten or more new drives from scratch would have been more difficult.

Samsung is about to release the high-performance Spinpoint F2. While F2 EcoGreen drives have been available at up to 1.5 TB for some months, the new F2 will spin at 7,200 RPM and reach up to 2 TB in the second half of the year. Hitachi and Seagate will likely follow as soon as it makes sense, as the top capacities aren’t sold in large quantities and hence represent only a small fraction of the market.

Other Drive Options?

The 1.0 TB capacity point isn’t particularly exciting anymore, but it is close to providing the highest capacity per dollar. In addition, high-performance 7,200 RPM drives still deliver higher throughput than the lower-power 1.5 TB hard drives by Samsung, Seagate, or WD. Using 2.0 TB hard drives would double the gross capacity of our array from 12 to an amazing 24 TB, but it will more than double the cost for the drives. You can get a 1.0 TB drive starting at approximately $85 while a 2.0 TB drive still is almost three times more expensive.