SATA Hard Drives Run Riot: Maxtor, Hitachi, Western Digital 250 GB

Hitachi DeskStar 7K250 Aka HDS722525

We were already able to thoroughly test the 7K250 a few weeks ago. It just managed to edge out the competitors from Maxtor and Western Digital (both of which also boast 250 GB), making it the fastest UltraATA drive currently available. The question is, can it do the same thing with Serial ATA?

The prerequisites look good: 8 MB cache and 7,200 rpm have long since become standard, yet the claimed 8.5 ms average seek time does grab our attention. By comparison: the competition alleges 8.9 and 9.3 ms. Besides which the Hitachi has been on the market for a far shorter time, which is generally another indicator of good performance.

The drive electronics are located on the underside of the drive, where the attentive observer will note the lack of a classic DSRAM chip. The drive nonetheless has 8 MB of cache storage; this is integrated into a package with the ATA controller, however, which opens up the prospect of good interface bandwidth.

The signal line to the spindle motor remains unprotected; Maxtor's board has no loose components hanging about. Western Digital has even placed all of the components on the top surface of the board, so that the components are fundamentally better protected.

What is an HDS722525VLSA80? Hitachi provides the specifications of the 7K250 series on its website, which also contains a glossary of cryptic terms.