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Samsung's SV1604N Workhorse Hard Drive for the Home

If Time Is Not The Issue, 160 GB At 5,400 Rpm Will Do The Job

Ideally, the system hard drive of a standard PC should combine quick access times and high data transfer rates in order to decrease wait times. This in turn translates into downtime for the user. For that reason, speedy PC drives with 7,200 rpm have gained the most shares.

Still, there are some applications where the performance advantages of power drives are hardly necessary. These applications include back up of PVRs (Personal Video Recorders), multimedia centers with integrated hard drives (e.g., enclosures by Kiss or Microsoft's Xbox), online data storage for home use (where MP3 or movie database files are stored) or traditional hard drives for data backups.

In such cases, it really does not matter anymore if the hard drive takes an average of 16 instead of 12 milliseconds for data access or can only transfer a maximum of 50 MB/s through the bus and not 60 MB/s. Instead, other factors become more important: Loss of performance and heat dissipation, noise level, vibration and, of course, durability. The latter point is still difficult to monitor, as manufacturers rarely publish their return rates. Still, the other arguments are, no doubt, convincing, because in all areas drives with 5,400 rpm are superior to those with higher-rotation storage.

Within the popular 160 GB market segment, Samsung's SV1604N trounces the competition with its low price. But what about the hard drive's performance?

The sphere of influence for 5,400 hard drives: Media Centers, gaming consoles and file servers for home use.