Hitachi's 4 TB Hard Drives Take On The 3 TB Competition

4 TB: Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000 (HDS5C4040ALE360)

The new Deskstar 4K4000 offers 4 TB of capacity with a 5400 RPM spindle speed. It employs a SATA 6Gb/s interface and 32 MB cache, which is pretty much standard today. Like the prior xK3000 generation, the 4K5000 is based on a five-platter design, meaning that we shouldn't expect to see the lower power consumption. However, it does, in fact, demonstrate remarkable power attributes. The Deskstar 5K4000 requires the least power of all 3+ TB hard drives at idle and under common workloads. Unlike Seagate’s and Western Digital's 3 TB offerings, the Deskstar 5K4000 is designed for 24/7 operation.

Hitachi specifies an idle power requirement of 4.9 W, which is pretty impressive when you consider that this is a five-platter design. A media transfer rate of 161 MB/s is fairly nice as well, translating to a 131 MB/s net transfer rate, measured by h2benchw. Seagate’s 2 TB Barracuda LP is a faster option, though, thanks to its 5900 RPM spindle.

We like the fact that Hitachi is not trying to optimize its drives for I/O performance anymore. This is a discipline ruled by SSDs now, outperforming hard drives in each and every possible benchmark by up to 100x. Instead, Hitachi creates a typical high-capacity storage drive that delivers nice throughput and decent robustness.

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  • jsowoc
    Good review.

    Did you encounter any issues with testing drives this large (they need a GPT vs MBR, and booting from them also requires a specific setup)?
  • JOSHSKORN
    I'm curious, can you install Windows 7 x64 to these 4 TB drives and will the full drive be recognized? With the latest motherboards, of course.

    At that capacity, why bother with 5400 RPM?
  • Darkerson
    Nice review. I could use a few of those, but until they have more competition and the prices come down, I can wait.
  • blackbirden
    Ony thing i miss from the review is noice level, atleast a subjective one for all who uses them in a htpc or mediastation, do you have any comments on the noice?
  • kinggremlin
    Not sure if there is some sort of pricing glitch going on at Newegg right now, but the Hitachi 7K3000 is currently about $400 plus $7 shipping. That's doesn't sound like the value sweet spot this article mentions multiple times for the 3TB capacities. As also mentioned here, for drives this size, speed is not the be-all-end-all. The $300 Hitachi 5400RPM 4TB drive looks like a much better buy than $407 for a 7K3000.
  • Achoo22
    I'm pretty disappointed that there aren't multiple points of note regarding expected drive lifetimes, warranties, and return policies in this roundup.

    I have had an incredible failure rate with hard drives beginning around the time that the move to perpendicular recording became the norm. I am not alone in this regard. I'm pretty sure that the drive manufacturer's are aware of serious reliability issues, but their RMA policies are ridiculous. I would be willing to pay current market prices for a new drive if vendors stepped up their game with quality control and some appropriate policies addressing data security in the event that a drive is returned - the risk of granting someone else access to my banking, tax information, and whatever else was on the failed drive is generally not worth returning the drive. Vendors know this, and take advantage of it. Until the situation changes, or drives return to their previous rock-bottom sale prices, I will do everything in my power to avoid purchasing more hard drives.
  • I have one 3TB Hitachi and several (>20) 2 TBs mixed from Seagate and WD. I'm impressed with 3TB Hitachi drive, and also I'm very disappointed by Seagate which cut their warranties to 1 year. No more Seagate in my home NAS until they improve the offering. Sorry Seagate, I was a Seagate-only user until you screw up with 7200.11, take advantage of the flooding, rised the prices and cut the warranties.
  • Achoo22
    blackbirdenOny thing i miss from the review is noice level, atleast a subjective one for all who uses them in a htpc or mediastation, do you have any comments on the noice?

    There hasn't been a truly loud hard drive on the market for many years. It shouldn't be an issue.
  • outlw6669
    Achoo22There hasn't been a truly loud hard drive on the market for many years. It shouldn't be an issue.

    My Hitachi 2TB drives beg to differ.
    When they start chugging along, it sounds like a snow plow clearing a parking lot in my room :(
  • jacknoll
    If someone could clear up this thing for me:

    I see two parameters for each drive: The media transfer speed and the I/O performance. The first one sounds like the speed to read/write to the disk. AFAIK, it's the speed at which the drive actually reads/writes bits to/from the surface of the platter. In that case, what does the I/O performance mean? It sounds really similar to read/write, but reading these reviews, I get the feeling there's more to I/O.

    Thanks.
  • mapesdhs
    "... while hard drives safeguard our digital memories and databases."

    It doesn't feel like HD vendors are making products suitable for the safe-keeping of data when
    warranties are as little as a year. I'd rather the industry started leaning more towards reliability.
    As drive capacities increase, the consequences of a failure become more serious in terms of the
    amount of data lost (images, video, etc.)

    I was told by a movie studio guy a while ago that they were once supplied with a batch of ordinary
    consumer-type SATA drives by mistake; almost all of them were dead within a week. For Seagate
    (for example), get the models that end with NS if you want reliability, not AS (or try hunting for 15K
    SAS instead).


    Patrick/Aschim, a couple of typos/points:

    - Drive Surface Temperature (C): this should be Celsius, not Centigrade (the latter was
    formally dropped in 1948 to avoid confusion with a term found in Spanish and French for
    angular measurement).

    - IOMeter 2006.07.27 4K Random: should be 'Reads' instead of 'Reades'.

    Ian.
  • xtreme5
    oh my GOD! guys can could 2500k support 4tb or 3tb.
  • __-_-_-__
    100$ per TB. I paid half of that more then a year ago.
  • RCPG
    I would like to see a review of the performance of the new 1 TB VelociRaptor.
  • stingstang
    Let's go, tom's. Give us some fun numbers like how much money we would put down for electricity after a year of 24/7 ops with these hard drives, since they're supposed to be used as such.
    Also, review the new velociraptor!
  • thezooloomaster
    __-_-_-__100$ per TB. I paid half of that more then a year ago.


    There are two reasons for that. First of all this is a new product, so it doesn't have the best bang-for-buck value out there. If you want the cheapest $/GB HDD you probably need to look at 2TB drives. (I recently saw a 2TB external USB 3.0 drive selling for approx. 110$ ; externals are more expensive than internals)
    The second reason, and Tom's has mentioned this a few times on the website, is due to the flooding in Thailand last year that severely hindered the manufacture of HDDs, so supply was diminished. As far as I know, inflation in HDD prices will still take a few more months to subside.
  • nforce4max
    Well not bad but would like to have seen more though, I own three 2TB Hitachi 5400 rpm drives that I bought last September on the cheap. Performance wise they are pretty decent compared to crappy 1tb WD blue editions that I also have. As for benching well slap a os on them and see how they perform then. No where near as good as they had benched empty or with just some static data. As for evolution of performance it is sad to see decade old ide drives offer roughly 1/4 to 1/5 the performance of a modern 1tb sata2 drive. Back to Hitachi they run very cool and are built pretty solid but the newer ones (post flood) seam to not be as good as the old ones like all the other brands. To many doa and far to many slugs that make people want to chew the carpets.
  • aevm
    You keep mentioning that fourth gig, or the last gigabyte... That's TB, not GB.
  • jonyah
    Thanks for the review. I currently have a server with 4 2Tb Hitachis in it (no more space) and have been trying to decide if I just get an external sata tower to add more drives, or replace what I have. Swapping out a 2Tb drive for the 4Tb is starting to look like a promising solution. No need for another tower, savings on power usage and I can reuse my 2tb in another machine in the house, or just sell it off to help with the higher price of the 4tb.
  • madooo12
    RCPGI would like to see a review of the performance of the new 1 TB VelociRaptor.

    there is on anandtech

    not advertising or anything, just saying a review which is not here is availble there plus I'm not affiliated in any way with them
  • CaedenV
    jacknollIf someone could clear up this thing for me:I see two parameters for each drive: The media transfer speed and the I/O performance. The first one sounds like the speed to read/write to the disk. AFAIK, it's the speed at which the drive actually reads/writes bits to/from the surface of the platter. In that case, what does the I/O performance mean? It sounds really similar to read/write, but reading these reviews, I get the feeling there's more to I/O.Thanks.

    The MB/s rating is how fast a drive can read or write liner (in order) information to or from a drive. For people like me who use single purpose drives for video editing this is a very important number because I am either reading or writing information at one time in large liner chunks, and rarely reading and writing at the same time on the same device. Even then the Ramdom IO performance can impact me depending on what exactly I am doing.

    However, if you are using a single HDD in your system then it is very difficult to do anything in order because different programs are constantly requesting to read or write from different parts of the drive, so the sequential performance no longer matters. At this point throughput plummets because the drive has to constantly seek after reading or writing a block. Seek time being the major factor of HDD performance (note that SSDs only do ~160MB/s on sequential uncompressed loads), you see performance move from ~180MB/s sequential, down to ~50MB/s random I/O on many mechanical drives, or even 2-10MB/s on tasks like program loading.

    Both ratings are important, but are important for different workflows.
  • ewood
    mapesdhs"... while hard drives safeguard our digital memories and databases."It doesn't feel like HD vendors are making products suitable for the safe-keeping of data whenwarranties are as little as a year. I'd rather the industry started leaning more towards reliability.As drive capacities increase, the consequences of a failure become more serious in terms of theamount of data lost (images, video, etc.)I was told by a movie studio guy a while ago that they were once supplied with a batch of ordinaryconsumer-type SATA drives by mistake; almost all of them were dead within a week. For Seagate(for example), get the models that end with NS if you want reliability, not AS (or try hunting for 15KSAS instead).Patrick/Aschim, a couple of typos/points:- Drive Surface Temperature (C): this should be Celsius, not Centigrade (the latter wasformally dropped in 1948 to avoid confusion with a term found in Spanish and French forangular measurement).- IOMeter 2006.07.27 4K Random: should be 'Reads' instead of 'Reades'.Ian.


    it was actually renamed because the scale was redefined using the triple point of water,a value that can be found precisely and repeatably. for all practical purposes celsius and centigrade can be used interchangeably
  • bison88
    Seems like a pretty big drop in performance from the 3TB version, but at this point in time its capacity would probably be the bigger benefit compared to performance for other uses, especially if you have an SSD it'll help offload some data to the larger drive. Still waiting on some more competition in the 3-4TB capacities, doubt we'll see much for a little while yet, plenty of time for more optimized versions to hit the pipe line.
  • mpd
    Great article, gives a lot to think about, the money vs performance is more of a SSD aspect.

    I reckon the numbers on performance are a bit misleading and needs further explaination.

    "almost 200 MB/s sequential read performance, similar write speeds"

    I would expect most people reading this and grown an idea of the everyday read / write speed shown on their windows when they copy movies / games over, to be 200MB/s or close, where in reality often never reaching 130MB/s.

    Even if we go back to the "Data Transfer" rate graphs. Most of the drives listed are only about 140MB/s on AVERAGE going from 0GB - 3000GB.