Although none of the new drives managed to stand out above the competition, they all come with significant advantages over their predecessors or mature drives.
The best news can be found on the performance side. All drives deliver at least 50 MB/s under all circumstances, and all drives also exceed 100 MB/s peak performance, which is particularly nice, because most of them were designed to be low on power consumption in the first place. None of the new drives were able to significantly reduce the power consumption level we’ve seen with the Caviar Green and Spinpoint F2 EcoGreen, but this is simply because there already were significant improvements over previous drives, which required 10 W and more.
Hitachi Deskstar E7K1000: The Endurance Drive
Hitachi’s 1.2 million-hour MTBF drive comes with a five-year warranty and superior performance in many benchmarks, thanks to its 7,200 RPM spindle speed. It is limited to 1 TB capacity, but it is the only drive with a five-year factory warranty. However, the drive is not very power efficient compared to its competitors.
Samsung Spinpoint F2 EcoGreen (EG): Power Savers
When compared at the same capacities or platter count, the F2 EcoGreen drives require the least power on average, with few exceptions. Performance is at an average level, but it’s still plenty fast.
Seagate: Balanced Results at 5,900 RPM
The new Seagate Barracuda LP offers the highest throughput of all our low-power drives, but it couldn’t beat the overall performance of the Western Digital RE4 drive nor the power consumption levels of the Samsung Spinpoint F2 EcoGreen. Still, Seagate offers the best combination of performance and power consumption, as it outperforms Samsung and roughly matches WD in terms of power.
Western Digital RE4: The Power-Saving Application Drive
This is the first power-saving hard drive on which we would actually recommend installing an operating system and applications. Thanks to quick access times and unexpectedly high I/O performance, the RE4 RAID Edition drive delivered very respectable application performance, timely throughput, and low power consumption numbers. The RE4 is only available at 2 TB, which requires four platters. For this reason, it just couldn’t win the power consumption segment. Also, you should expect the drive to be more expensive than the others.