Definitive 2TB HD Roundup: WD, Seagate, Samsung - HotHardware

Definitive 2TB HD Roundup: WD, Seagate, Samsung

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Hard Disk Drives Roundup
Specifications and Features

General Purpose HDDs: Budget, low-power, cool, quiet:



Performance HDDs: Performance, enthusiast, multimedia professionals:



Enterprise HDDs:



A/V HDD: A/V applications (i.e., PVRs, DVRs), low-power, cool, quiet:


* Note: Except where noted, all Street Prices were taken from Newegg.com. Three of the HDDs were not available from Newegg: The Samsung EcoGreen F3 2TB Street Price was taken from excaliberpc.com; the Seagate Constellation ES 2TB and WD RE4-GP 2TB Street Prices were taken from provantage.com. All Street Prices are as of April 6, 2010.






There are a few tidbits of information that warrant some additional exploration. First up, is that all but one of these drives uses Ramp Loading technology to park its drive heads. When a drive that uses Ramp Loading powers down, the sliders that hold the read/write heads are moved off of the platters and safely stowed onto a ramp. The one exception to this is the 2TB Seagate Barracuda LP drive, which instead uses the older Contact Start-Stop (CSS) technology, which physically rests the read/write heads on the platters when the drive powers down. Allowing the heads to physically touch the platters can cause additional wear to the platters and presents a number of potential problems, such as stiction, where the head actually gets stuck to the platter. Not to say that the Barracuda LP will necessarily wear faster than any of the other drives or suffer from stiction, but it does bear noting that the Barracuda LP has the lowest rated load/unload cycles of the group at 50,000. All the other drives are rated at least at 300,000 load/unload cycles.

Speaking of load/unload cycles, both the 2TB WD RE4 and the 2TB WD RE4-GP enterprise drives have the highest-rated load/unload cycles at 600,000. As previously mentioned, these two drives--along with the 2TB Seagate Constellation ES enterprise drive--also have the highest-rated MTBF of 1,200,000 hours. It is in part these high-reliability ratings that make these particular drives good choices for use in servers and other enterprise applications. The Constellation ES drive that we looked at is a SATA 3Gb/Sec drive; but it is also available in a SAS 6Gb/Sec version (model number ST32000444SS, street price: $332) that also includes a 128-bit government-grade Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) option.

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Very interesting read.  I wish Hitachi didn't wimp out though!  I would love you guys to tackle putting these 2 TB drives in a RAID5 and how safe that is.  I see so many conflicting comments saying it is or isn't recommended.  I would love to add 4 of the 2TB Seagate drives to my NAS but still a little worried.  I read somewhere that WD states they don't recommend it.  Maybe someone from HH could address concern of mine.  Great read!

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The WD "RE" drives are "RAID Edition" and have some RAID specific features, and would work in any type of array.

While the other drives may not have any RAID specific features, they will all work in a RAID 5 array. As long as the individual drives are compatible with your NAS, they should work in a RAID configuration within it.

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Sup Marco, nice read.

That huge gap in the bang/buck chart between the 1TB and 2TB drives didn't shock me in the least.  One or two steps down from the largest size drive has been the best bet (if you get a current family drive) for as long as I can remember.  If I remember correctly, the 1.5TB drives actually have a slightly better price/TB then the 1TB drives right now.

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So, nobody's noticed that when it came to the bang/buck chart, somebody forgot to factor in the size difference for the 1TB, resulting in a score exactly double what it should be?

Now before anybody thinks I'm crazy and/or not paying attention, take a look at the math.  Comparing both the 1TB and 2TB Cavier blacks, the 2TB scores 1.6% higher on the performance part, and the 1TB scores 16.7% higher on the cost-per-gb part.  So one should expect the bang/buck should show the 1TB drive coming out on top by 14.8%, or at the very least, in the same ballpark, that much should be obvious.  Instead, the difference is off by 129% exactly what you get if you don't take the size difference into account.

The RE4-GP numbers seem a bit off from the other too, but that's not quite as interesting anyway.

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Great, thanks Marco

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Another helpful review, what surprised me the most was how there was not much performance gain on the Caviar Black when going from the 2TB with 4 platters to the 1TB with 2 platters. I though not having those extra 2 platters would really increase performance on the 1TB but they were fairly close to each other. For the money though I would just get the 2TB as the cost per GB was a few cents more and that 5 year warranty is hard to beat. Again take your pick of these drives and pair it with a SSD and you are set!!!!!!!!!! Yes Big Smile

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Thanks for the great 2TB HDD roundup.  I'm interested in getting a few of the 7200 RPM drives for a new QNAP or Synology NAS.

A few questions if you don't mind:

1.  It seems silly, but WD's Sep 2009 press release mentions that the RE4 2TB supports NCQ whereas the Caviar Black 2TB does not (see the section titled "Additional Features for WD RE4 2 TB Enterprise Hard Drives").  Is this correct??

2.  Are your benchmarks geared more towards single-user desktop usage?  In other words, could a multi-user NAS/fileserver scenario possibly exhibit drastically different rankings?

On the other hand, some say that the speed limitation of Gigabit Ethernet in the NAS scenario serves to bottleneck some of the raw performance differences among the 7200 RPM drives anyways...?

 

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Goog article.

However, I think what would make this comparison even more useful though would be to also include comparisons of power draw, noise and heat.

These are also critical decision factors now - in particular if being used for a Home Server (e.g. WHS) or in AV equipment.  This is what has contributed to the WD Green drives popularity for example.

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I felt that that was an excellent article, but would've liked to have seen some additional price/storage/performance comparisons involving some smaller drives, an SSD or two, and a raid setup.

Regardless, very informative, and something I will definitely be referring to as my 500GB drive is almost full.

 

Have you considered placing a commission linked link to Newegg for each of the drives? I know Hardocp has a deal with Newegg that all purchases made through one of their links is a 2.5% commission. If I'm going to spend the money anyone I wouldn't mind it benefiting HH.

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Great article, I love the charts comparing all the hard drives. The caviar black 1TB is pretty nice :D.

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