New Desktop Hard Drives: Speed Or Capacity?

Samsung Spinpoint F2 EcoGreen (500 GB)

The Spinpoint F2 EcoGreen (EG) is Samsung’s second-generation Spinpoint drive, and it follows the launch of the Spinpoint F1, which still is a fast desktop drive featuring up to 1 TB of capacity. Samsung decided to launch the EcoGreen version of its Spinpoint F2 drives first.

The drives run at a reduced 5,400 RPM spindle speed to offer maximum power savings and deliver high capacities per watt. We received a 500 GB sample, which is interesting for system builders since it is a single-platter drive and, thus, should offer low power consumption.


The HD502HI stores its 500 GB on a single platter, weighs only 470 g, and has a 16 MB data cache. The 1 TB version is available with 16 MB cache or 32 MB cache (the HD102SI and HD103SI each weigh 610 g). The HD153UI (16 MB) and the HD154UI (32 MB), which comprise the 1.5 TB offerings, weigh in at 670 g. All the drives offer SATA/300 with native command queuing (NCQ) and support power-management features, which enable the drives to switch into lower-power idle states.

All of the drives can operate at temperatures of zero to 60 degrees Celsius and come with a three-year warranty. We found it nice that Samsung even specifies the drive ready time, which is 8, 11, or 13 seconds depending on capacity, but it doesn’t talk about mean time between failure (MTBF) results.

Power and Performance

The specified idle power of the 500 GB version is 3.9 W, while we measured 3.1 W after 10 minutes of drive inactivity. A direct result of the low power consumption, spindle speed, and rotating mass is the lower surface temperature of only 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit), which is the lowest result measured for any high-capacity hard drive in this review.

Throughput was also great: a 113 MB/s maximum and 86 MB/s average are superb for 5,400 RPM drives. The speed results represent about a 30% increase over the Spinpoint F1 EcoGreen. The downside is access time. At 17.7 ms, it's not very spectacular.