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

Conclusion
There is something we didnít mention yet in this article, mainly, warranties and reliability. In terms of the first point, itís three years except for Seagate which is five years. This doesnít mean that these hard drives are the most reliable, but this is a good point that some will find important.

It is still as difficult to obtain trustworthy after sales figures, all the more so given that amongst these four manufacturers, Samsung doesn't allow direct returns and you have to go through the retailer. For this reason, a retailerís figures wonít be correct as they necessarily look bad for Samsungís products. Thus for a large French distributer, figures for Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate and Western are respectively 1.1, 2.3, 1.2 and 1.2% over one year.

And our opinion on the results on this test? In terms of performance, itís difficult to choose. Hitachi leads in PC Mark, Samsung is ahead in copying files and Western has the better results in IOMeter. The Western Caviar SE16, however, is always well situated and is therefore the most consistent of these models. In addition, there is its high performance NCQ, which allows it to have an advantage in multiple simultaneous access.

As for the ecological aspects, the Hitachi models seem to heat up more than the average hard drive, while the Western is the best in this domain. For noise, Seagate is, as usual, in last place, because its 7200.10 is very noisy in access and acoustic management still isnít available. Samsungís T166 is the most discreet in rotation, and access is comparable to the Western Caviar SE16 and Hitachi T7K500 (even if we prefer the latter because sounds arenít as sharp).

We do find it unfortunate that acoustic management isnít more effective for Samsung in exchange for slower access time like with the competition. And actually, here this is more audible than for the Western and Hitachi drives as their access is almost entirely masked by the sound of rotation.


In the end, if we were to recommend a single product, it would be the Western Caviar SE16 (WD5000AAKS) just for its consistent result in tests. Just behind are the Samsung T166 and Hitachi T7K500, which are distinguishable by their respective sound levels in rotation and access without AAM. The 7200.10 from Seagate has the sole advantage of its five year warranty which isnít too convincing compared to its noise level.

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