Definitive 2TB HD Roundup: WD, Seagate, Samsung

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Definitive 2TB HD Roundup: WD, Seagate, SamsungLately, it feels like the good, old, reliable hard disk drive (HDD) doesn't get any respect. When it comes to storage, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are getting all the attention these days--and it's no wonder, considering the speed, durability, low-power, and silent-running attributes of current solid state drives. But SSDs are also very expensive and offer relatively low-capacities when compared to traditional HDDs. The vast majority of systems that use some sort of fixed drive for storage----be they desktops, workstations, or servers--still use HDDs. And when it comes to maximum storage capacity in a 3.5-inch form factor, you simply can't get any higher these days than a 2TB HDD.

In this roundup we take a look at a total of nine 3.5-inch, SATA, 2TB hard drives, from Samsung, Seagate, and Western Digital....

Definitive 2TB HD Roundup: WD, Seagate, Samsung

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Oblio211 replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 1:30 PM

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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Marco C replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 1:44 PM

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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Oblio211 replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 2:34 PM

Great, thanks Marco

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la_guy_10 replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 6:00 PM

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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beq replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 8:03 PM

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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Melbourne replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 8:46 PM

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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sp12 replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 9:00 PM

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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rmora replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 12:31 AM

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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Inspector replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 12:43 AM

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

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RyuGTX replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 3:25 AM

Awww, nothing about temps  and noise? Temps isn't too big of a factor because they are usually pretty close. But noise is a pretty big factor for me.

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Bzzz replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 5:56 AM

And where is a comparison of access times?

Or why did no one strike Crystal DiskMark out because of obviously fake WD 7200rpm results?

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This is why I love Hot Hardware!

I love being able to see all of the specifications for each drive in its class, so we can easily compare which one to buy! When you look at the online stores, it starts to get confusing comparing and reading review, then you just get frustrated and forget about it. Also, you learn something new every day on Hot Hardware,...I had to look up the word stiction.  Fun word to add to my plethora of technical jargon:)

I have been in the market for another Hard Drive. I kept holding out for the 1TB drives to keep coming down in price, and then all of the sudden the 1.5GB ones started taking their place at almost a 15 dollar difference.  I we have just been looking at the online stores. I would never have known about these new drives with the 64MB caches. Now the question is do I go with two separate 1TB drives or wait a few months and get one of these beasts?

Hot Hardware seems to review things just when I need it. Plus it takes the guess work out. My upgrade schedule this year is GPU, HD's then MoBO/CPU. I have the WS GPU on the way, so this article is perfect timing. I do wish that they were able to get the Hitachi's instead of the Samsung. But my choice is usually between Seagate and Western Digital.

I have noticed that when it comes to hard drives, most people buy them when needed and get what ever is the largest capacity for the least amount at the time. I would have like to see some opinions on the reliability of the different drive manufacturers. Thanks to this this review I know now that I am going to go for the Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB. That one seem to fit my specific needs right now. I have filled up two 1TB drives pretty quickly. Soon I have to render over 2k frames at 1080i, which means double before editing, plus the final out. So I don't really want to have numerous drives when a couple of these could do the same job with less spaceBig Smile


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NewYorkDan replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 11:13 AM

rmora is 100% correct in that by not factoring in the capacity of the WD Caviar Black 1TB HDD, it becomes an unfair comparison in the bang-for-the-buck (BFtB) chart... Thanks for reminding me of this glaring and obvious math error... Boy do I have egg on my face! So thanks to rmora for pointing this out. My solution was to simply remove the WD Caviar Black 1TB HDD from the BFtB chart, thus making the BFtB chart purely a comparison of 2TB HDDs. The chart and text on the final page of the roundup have been updated. I also double-checked the math on the other comparisons and they are all correct, including the RE-GP that rmora found suspect.

As to some other questions that have popped up:

* I am double-checking the NCQ support of all the drives and I will update the information in the roundup if anything needs to be changed.

* I also plan to add info on which drives support RAID error handling (i.e., TLER, ERC, CCTL) once I hear back from the HDD vendors. All of the drives will work in RAID arrays, but drives that have built-in RAID error handling can make dealing with drive errors (i.e., bad sectors) much less of a headache.

* While the benchmarks are geared towards desktop-type usage, they should be scalable to more robust scenarios, such as NAS/fileserver usage. That said, the controllers in NAS devices (which tend to be much less robust that of an actual desktop or fileserver) as well as the limits of network connections will have significant impact on file-transfer performance as well.

* We would have loved to also delve into power consumption, noise, and thermals, but that was beyond the scope of this particular roundup. We will definitely give this consideration next time around, however.

* We chose to leave out vendor-reported access times, as we felt that our own benchmarks would provide a better overall sense of the performance of the drives.

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Hrm, you guys did a great job coming up with the three categories.  The charts were nice too.  Something tells me that my next drive will either be ssd or one of the Caviar Black drives.  Again, nice job here.

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Fanfoot replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 3:10 PM

Nice review.  Agree with others though that you should have included power and noise in your charts.  I don't necessarily want to see them effect the final ratings, but I want to know about them when I'm making my purchasing decisions.  For my main desktop drive I might just want the fastest drive available.  But when I'm putting four drives in a NAS case that is used mostly for backup I might factor in power consumption at a much higher level.  Thanks for the reviews regardless. 

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Kind of interesting to see WD so spreadout.  I'm definitely bookmarking this as I'm looking to build a gaming rig over the summer and this article will prove to be useful when I get the money for it.  Thanks HH.

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A quick update:

For those who are asking about power... While we didn't test for power consumption, we did include the manufacturer-reported Idle Power and Average Operating Power in the charts for all the drives.

I'm also in the process of trying to get the manufacturer-reported noise ratings for average idle, average performance seek, and average quiet seek... So far, the only #s that are available for all the drives are for average idle mode:

* Samsung EcoGreen F3 2TB: 26 dBA

* Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB: 25 dBA

* Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB: 28 dBA

* Seagate Constellation ES 2TB: 27 dBA

* WD AV-GP 2TB: 25 dBA

* WD Caviar Black 1TB: 28 dBA

* WD Caviar Black 2TB: 29 dBA

* WD Caviar Green 2TB: 24 dBA

* WD RE4 2TB: 29 dBA

* WD RE4-GP 2TB: 25 dBA

When/if I get all the #s, I will update the charts with the manufacturer-reported info as well.

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realneil replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 7:56 PM

Good review with lots of info. Thanks for taking the time to compile all of this information. Since SSD's are so expensive, I still rely on these kinds of drives for my data storage. This will help me when I choose the next one. Yes

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RyuGTX replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 11:28 PM

NewYorkDan:

A quick update:

For those who are asking about power... While we didn't test for power consumption, we did include the manufacturer-reported Idle Power and Average Operating Power in the charts for all the drives.

I'm also in the process of trying to get the manufacturer-reported noise ratings for average idle, average performance seek, and average quiet seek... So far, the only #s that are available for all the drives are for average idle mode:

* Samsung EcoGreen F3 2TB: 26 dBA

* Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB: 25 dBA

* Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB: 28 dBA

* Seagate Constellation ES 2TB: 27 dBA

* WD AV-GP 2TB: 25 dBA

* WD Caviar Black 1TB: 28 dBA

* WD Caviar Black 2TB: 29 dBA

* WD Caviar Green 2TB: 24 dBA

* WD RE4 2TB: 29 dBA

* WD RE4-GP 2TB: 25 dBA

When/if I get all the #s, I will update the charts with the manufacturer-reported info as well.

 

Since these are just the numbers that the manufacturers are spitting out, please don't go through all the trouble. I can look them up myself.Thank you though!!!

I was just hoping that HH would test this themselves because each manufacturer may test for noise in slightly different ways. I don't recall any sort of standard in the industry. At least with the HH, it would be testing each drive on the same platform. I would also know what was in the test setup. I can also inquire about the testing methods like ambient room noise and how far the equipment was placed from the test station.

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carpediem replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 8:50 AM

Nice review, but I was saddened that, like the WD site, it doesn't provide any clarification on why WD AV-GP exists.

The manufacturer's site says it is improved for PVR/DVR's and so on .. but looking on your tests, it doesn't seems to translate to none of them. The difference between WD AV-GP and WD Caviar Green mostly means percentages that could be easily considered in the error threshold of the testing procedure used.


Interesting how such product was considered "recommended" if (as far as I could tell from the article) it's increased price range could not be justified when compared to it's "twin" brother.

I would be happy if someone could provide further clarification without quoting marketing material found on WD site. :)

Thanks

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 5:36 PM

carpediem:

Nice review, but I was saddened that, like the WD site, it doesn't provide any clarification on why WD AV-GP exists.

The manufacturer's site says it is improved for PVR/DVR's and so on .. but looking on your tests, it doesn't seems to translate to none of them. The difference between WD AV-GP and WD Caviar Green mostly means percentages that could be easily considered in the error threshold of the testing procedure used.


Interesting how such product was considered "recommended" if (as far as I could tell from the article) it's increased price range could not be justified when compared to it's "twin" brother.

I would be happy if someone could provide further clarification without quoting marketing material found on WD site. :)

Thanks

 

Hope this helps answers your questions.

LINK

 

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realneil replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 6:22 PM

Good info in that link,...thanks!

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Update: I have confirmation from all of the HDD vendors that all of the HDDs in the roundup support NCQ, including both the 1TB and 2TB WD Caviar Black HDDs.

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Better late than never update... I have updated the specs charts on page 3 of the roundup to include RAID Error Handling and Acoustics info for all of the drives. This is all vendor-provided info, which I know isn't going to make everyone happy... But hopefully at least some will find this useful.

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realneil replied on Tue, Apr 27 2010 9:33 PM

Thanks for the information. I'm glad to have it and will use it too.

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