Three New Desktop Hard Drives For 2010

Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000

So far, there's only one member in the Deskstar 7K2000 family: a 2TB model (common sense, perhaps, but notable since there are actually three versions of the 7K1000 family spanning 160GB-1TB). As mentioned earlier, it utilizes a five-platter design, so each platter stores 400GB, as opposed to 500GB with other manufacturers.

This 7K2000 comes with a 32MB memory buffer, which is pretty standard for premium desktop hard drives today. The 7,200 RPM spindle speed and SATA 3 Gb/s interface aren’t particularly special either. Don't expect mainstream hard drives with 6 Gb/s interfaces until later this year. However, the accelerated interface bandwidth won’t have a noticeable impact on everyday performance anyway, because the drive’s slower throughput when reading from or writing to the physical platters defines actual transfer rate performance. All the faster interface can do is accelerate access to the 32MB buffer. We found that the new Deskstar 7K2000 is fast, but it’s not as fast as the two competitors. The 128 MB/s maximum and 99 MB/s average read throughput are both beaten by our Samsung and Seagate samples.

Hitachi does well in the access time test, where it offers a 14.3ms average access time for reads and a low 5.9ms result for writes. It outperforms the two competitors in all four I/O performance tests. Although none of these drives can compete with flash-based SSDs, which deliver at least hundreds of I/O operations per second, Hitachi still delivers superior I/O numbers in the database, file server, Web server, and workstation runs, with typically 140 or more I/O operations per second. There are a few drives that deliver higher I/O numbers, such as WD’s 10,000 RPM VelociRaptor and some of the latest 1TB and 2TB Caviar Black and RAID Edition drives.

Due to its five-platter design, the Deskstar 7K2000 is at an inherent disadvantage and simply cannot compete in power consumption or efficiency metrics, but it still does well enough in power-per-gigabyte. The pleasant surprise is that this drive is relatively quiet, despite the five-platter design. We measured a low 44.6 dB(A) during database I/O operation—only two other drives are quieter—and 41 dB(A) in idle. This is a great result considering the drive's high complexity and abundance of moving parts.