A Quartet Of 500 GB HDDs Under $60

The Efficient: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B--500 GB

The Deskstar 7K1000.B is Hitachi’s second generation terabyte-class hard drive. While the initial Deskstar 7K1000 was the first hard drive to reach the terabyte capacity plateau, it has been replaced by the 7K1000.B, which achieves the same maximum capacity on three platters instead of five.

The initial 5-platter drive turned out to be very robust, according to Hitachi’s Uwe Kemmer, which is why the company is still selling it. Desktop users should go for the latest model, though. Not only is the 7K1000.B the much faster drive, but it is also noticeably more efficient, requiring less power while delivering its extra performance. We also used a Deskstar 7K1000.B to analyze the noise differences between full speed and low noise modes.

Great Performance, High Efficiency

We looked at a HDT721050360SLA360, which is the 500 GB version of the Deskstar 7K1000.B family. This is new as well: while the initial 7K1000 was only available at 1000 and 750 GB, the 7K1000.B is sold at various smaller capacity points as well. Our 500 GB test sample runs at the standard 7,200 RPM spindle speed, has a SATA/300 interface with Native Command Queuing, features a 16 MB cache memory, and stores its data on two platters.

This drive is the most efficient product in our roundup, as it required the least power when idle and for our two workloads. It also reaches much higher throughput than the other drives, resulting in benchmark results that are at least good. Access time and I/O performance are average, but we don’t feel this is an issue for a mainstream hard drive.