Hitachi Deskstar E7K500 500 GB Hard Disk
By Ed Tittel
Hitachi is a leading storage company, whose Deskstar offerings have been on the market for some time. Although the E7K500 does not support perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR), its price per gigabyte comes out roughly the same as the Seagate 7200.10 drive of the same capacity: $0.248 for the Hitachi versus $0.22 for the Seagate. Throw in SATA 2 support, 16 MB of cache, and Native Command Queuing, and you've got a an entirely workable offering.
Hitachi sent us a special package of the E7K500 that let us show the drive's innards.
In terms of our own 3.5" Hard Drive Charts, the E7K500 is a middle-of-the-road performer. It does best on our Interface Performance and XP Startup metrics, but lags behind on most of the other metrics, except for price/performance and its low cost per gigabyte measurements. A maximum surface temperature of 52° C (125.6° F) indicates that the drive is best housed in close proximity to a fan, or inside a heat diffuser like the Zalman Hard Drive Cooler 2HC2 (though this latter situation will increase the cost per gigabyte by about $0.049).
Good numbers for XP Startup is probably a function of the drive's good cache performance, which works best when multiple streams of data are accessed simultaneously. Given this drive's relatively low cost per gigabyte and its high capacity, it's probably a good choice for the system drive on a mid-range desktop, as long as you take the steps necessary to keep the drive cool and well-ventilated. In my own test machine using the Zalman HD cooler, I observed no temperatures higher than 44° C/111° F, a considerable improvement over the unaided temperatures reported in the Tom's HD charts.