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Product survey: 5 SATA 500 GB HDD
by Marc Prieur
Published on August 22, 2007

The hard drives in pictures
Here are the hard drives in this test with the firmware reference in parenthesis:

- Hitachi E7K500 (K2AOAD1A)
- Hitachi T7K500 (V56OA7EA)
- Samsung T166 - HD501LJ (CR100-10)
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (3.AAK)
- Western Digital Caviar SE16 – WD5000AAKS (12.01C01)

Hitachi E7K500Hitachi T7K500
Samsung T166Seagate 7200.10
Western Caviar SE16

There is nothing particularly noteworthy on the front side.

Hitachi E7K500Hitachi T7K500
Samsung T166Seagate 7200.10
Western Caviar SE16

On the back, we can see that each brand uses a different controller. While Hitachi is true to Infineon and Seagate to Agere, Samsung and Western both go with Marvell, however, not the same model and we don’t know the exact differences.
Test protocol
We took numerous measurements in this test. First of all, we were interested in « synthetic » performances, or in other words, cache rates, sequential speed, and average access time. Next came application tests in the form of an application performance index based on PCMark05, a file server load type simulation via IOMeter, and finally the writing, reading and close (on the same partition) and far (on the partition that starts at 50% of the hard drive) copying a collection of files.

These consist of two big files for a total of 4.4 GB plus 2620 files amounting to 2 GB and finally 16046 files for a total of 733 MB. The source when reading or writing was a RAID of two 74 GB Raptors capable of assuring a rate of 110 MB /s in order to not be limited on this side. This test is of course interesting because while sequential rates give us an idea of performances when copying big files, things can be different with a series of smaller ones.

All measurements were taken with sound control deactivated. We took some measurements afterwards with this function (except for the Seagate because it isn’t available). The test machine was based on a P965 Express chipset mounted on an ASUSTeK P5B Deluxe motherboard and Serial ATA ports were configured to AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) in the bios in order to use NCQ.

Of course, in addition to performance measurements we took a look at the temperature after two hours of intensive use as well as power consumption. Finally, noise levels were evaluated via dBA measurements and we also give you an actual recording of each hard drive in various states.

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