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Roundup: twelve 1 TB hard drives!
by Marc Prieur
Published on September 21, 2010



After publishing our report on 2 TB drives, we’re throwing ourselves back into the breach with a selection of 1 TB drives! More common, these drives have been on the market since 2007, the first manufacturer to sell a drive at this capacity being Hitachi with the 7K1000. At the time the 7K1000 1 TB used no less than five 200 GB platters. Things have changed somewhat since then and the 1 TB drives in 2010 have three 333 GB or even two 500 GB platters.

The test
Here’s the list of drives tested:

- Samsung EcoGreen F3 (HD105SI)
- Samsung SpinPoint F3 (HD103SJ)
- Hitachi 7K1000.C (HDS721010CLA33)
- Seagate Barracuda LP (ST31000520AS)
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 (ST31000528A)
- Western Caviar Green (WD10EAVS)
- Western Caviar Green (WD10EADS)
- Western Caviar Green (WD10EARS, version 00Y5B1, made 12/2009)
- Western Caviar Green (WD10EARS, version 22Y5B1, made 05/2010)
- Western Caviar Blue (WD10EALS)
- Western Caviar Black (WD1001FALS)
- Western Caviar Black (WD1002FAEX)

Several of these drives have a 7200 rpm rotation speed: the SpinPoint F3, the 7K1000.C, the 7200.12 and both Caviar Blacks. The other models are 5400 rpm, or even 5900 rpm for the Seagate Barracuda LP. The Samsung, Hitachi and Seagate drives use 500 GB platters.

Note there are no fewer than seven Western Digital drives out of the 12 tested! Plus, we weren’t able to get our hands on the WD10EACS! A range that could do with some simplification perhaps.

No fewer than 4 drives in the Green range have beeen tested, with the official differences being in terms of cache and the use of 4 KB sectors. The WD10EAVS, WD10EADS and WD10EARS have 8, 32 and 64 MB of cache respectively, the WD10EARS being alone in using 4 KB sectors (see detailed explanation). Western has developed the bad habit of not making it easy to clearly distinguish between drives in terms of the number of platters used and here we had a nasty surprise when we discovered that though the WD10EAVS and WD10EARS use 500 GB platters, the WD10EADS tested uses 333 GB platters – this in spite of the fact that the WD20EADS has 500 GB platters… simple isn’t it?

During our test of 2 TB drives, we noticed that the WD20EARS four platter version performed very poorly on writes of small files while the more recent three platter version wasn’t as badly affected. This is why we tested a relatively old WD10EARS, made in December 2009, and another relatively recent one, made in May 2010. Both drives have 500 GB platters and the same 80.00A80 firmware, but as you’ll see later, their performance levels differ greatly.

Next come three 7200 rpm drives from Western, with first of all the WD10EALS and its 32 MB of cache. The Caviar Black range differs from this Caviar Blue with the use of a more powerful dual-core controller, with 32 MB of cache for the WD1001FALS and 64 MB of cache for the WD1002FAEX which also supports SATA 6 Gbits. Although the WD10EALS and the WD1002FAEX tested had two 500 GB platters, 333 GB platters are used for the WD1001FALS in spite of a recent manufacture date (May 2010).

The test protocol is the the same as the one used for the 2TB hard drive test. You can consult it here.


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