Half a Terabyte On Your Notebook

Record Throughput: Samsung Spinpoint H6 HM500LI, 500GB

Now let’s look at the brand new Samsung drive. The HM500LI is a new member of the Spinpoint M6 family, but it stores the same 500 GB as Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K500 on three platters. This makes this drive a great choice for portable storage applications, as well as compact notebook designs that require 2.5” SATA HDDs with 9.5 mm height. From our experience, it’s safe to say that the HM500LI should perform much better due to the increased data density. Let’s see if that’s the case.

Technical Details

The drives spin at 5,400 RPM and have 8MB of cache memory. Like Hitachi, Samsung offers only two versions of this product: 400 and 500GB. All smaller Spinpoint M6 drives are based on the same drive family, but they are based on a different storage density and per-platter capacity. Samsung uses a Serial ATA 3 Gb/s interface for the drive, as well.


Samsung also states an average access time of 12 ms, which translates into an effective access time of 19 ms. This is the slowest average access time we’ve yet measured in our test lab, and it has an impact on the PCMark Windows XP Startup benchmark.

However, the Spinpoint M6 HM500LI offers the fastest throughput we’ve ever measured for 2.5” hard drives: 76.5 MB/s is much faster than the 70 MB/s of its 320GB predecessor, and it’s faster than any of the competitors with the exception of flash-based SSDs. An almost 40 MB/s minimum transfer rate also is a new record for notebook hard drives. As a result, the HM500LI leads the file write benchmarks, and even dominated 7,200 RPM drives when it comes to throughput.

Another small downside is power consumption: the new HM500LI requires as much power as a 7,200 RPM drive, and clearly more power than Hitachi’s offerings.