We’ll write about each manufacturer so that we don’t forget anything.
Hitachi: the HDS721616PLA380 is the better of the two HDDs from this company. This is expectable. It is a single-platter drive with higher platter density. The HDDs had similar results in the synthetic IOMeter test and kept at the middle of the diagrams except for the Web Server pattern when the HDT722516DLA360 was first and the HDS721616PLA380 third. In WinBench 99 the HDS721616PLA380 is the overall leader whereas the HDT722516DLA360 is rather an outsider. In FC-Test these HDDs worked well with small files only. PCMark04 and 05 are not the tests you should judge a HDD by, yet the drives from Hitachi did well in them.
Maxtor: the two HDDs from this company have gone hand in hand through this review, but the 6V160E0 is surely the better of the two. It is in the multi-threaded tests that these HDDs showed their very best – they just met no competition there. In other tests these HDDs had average or good results, except for very poor performance in the IOMeter patterns.
Samsung: Samsung’s disks were close to each other and to the leading group in IOMeter, but then they split apart in the multi-threaded tests. The SP1614C had rather good results at reading, and the HD160JJ was at the bottom of the diagrams, but they changed places at writing. Both showed a good access time in WinBench 99, but didn’t do well in that benchmark afterwards.
These HDDs don’t have good results in FC-Test and in PCMark04/05, but the HD160JJ is somewhat better than the SP1614C.
Seagate: this manufacturer had more HDDs in this review than any other, but three out of its four drives are made on identical platters and differ only in firmware and in the amount of cache memory. And it is the small cache that played a bad trick with the ST3160211AS – it was obviously slower than its mates, let alone the other manufacturer’s HDDs, in most tests.
As opposed to it, the ST3160811AS with the “right” amount of cache memory was always competing for top places. The ST3160812AS had good results, too.
There is one downside, though. Seagate’s HDDs failed completely in the multi-threaded reading test. And the rather old ST3160827AS was the only one of them to show good results in the multi-threaded writing test (due to a stronger server-oriented optimization?)
Western Digital: the single HDD from this firm does well in IOMeter and in both versions of PCMark. In the rest of the tests this HDD was in the middle or bottom part of the diagram.
If we were asked to single out one HDD from those that have been tested here, we would point at the Hitachi HDS721616PLA380. This HDD combines good physical parameters with an ability to put them to good use. It has been among the leaders, or at least not much worse than the leaders, in most of our tests.
Soon we’ll publish a newer edition of the battle of 160GB where the Hitachi drives will be opposed by new models from Samsung, Seagate and Western Digital. That’s when we’ll make our final conclusion.