Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: With all the numbers in, let's take a high level view of performance. After running a total of 28 tests on each drive, the one that stood out from the pack was Seagate's 3TB Barracuda XT. It led the group in about half of the tests, and usually trailed the top spot by a small margin in the other half. But the Hitachi drive was no slouch either. We saw the Deskstar outperform Seagate's drive in most of the PCMark 7 tests,while offering the fastest access time during the HDTune benchmark. On the other hand, both Western Digital drives gave a solid showing throughout, trailing the competition by a small margin, despite having the lowest prices.
Using September 2011 street prices, we calculated a cost-per-GB for each of the hard drives in this article utilizing their formatted capacity in gigabytes. The results show a tight grouping, as the cost-per-GB for the drives ranges from $0.05-per-GB for the WD Caviar Green, up to $0.07-per-GB for the Hitachi Deskstar and Seagate Barracuda XT drives. It's not a surprise that the more expensive drives own a performance advantage over less expensive models. But for budget conscious consumers, the $25 to $30 cost savings offered by Western Digital's models might be worth the performance sacrifice, especially when purchasing multiple drives.
As we explained earlier, Seagate's Barracuda XT offers consumers the best performance currently from a 3TB hard drive. It didn't land a clean sweep of all tests, but the drive owned the top spot the majority of the time. Of course, the tables are turned when considering cost. Yes, Western Digital's Caviar Green was usually the slowest drive in our tests, but it was also the most affordable at only $149. That's a $30 savings over both the Barracuda XT and Deskstar 3TB drives. Ultimately, it's up to consumers to decide if the performance edge offered by Seagate's drive is worth the price premium. We tend to lean towards performance results when making a recommendation with such a relatively small price difference. In this case, it's rather clear which drive delivers the goods. And with a 5 year warranty, where the competition only offers 3 years, we highly recommend Seagate's Barracuda XT 3TB hard drive for your next storage upgrade.