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.

  • 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)?
    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.