We are going to digress from our tradition of comparing hard disk drives of the same capacity within a single review. Not long ago we wrote about 1-terabyte and then about 2-terabyte HDDs, so we already know HDDs of these capacities well enough. But as is often the case, soon after those reviews we came across a number of interesting products. They are too few, however, for us to write two independent reviews, but we do want to tell you about them. That’s why there are both 1- and 2-terabyte HDDs in this article.
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C: HDS721010CLA332, 1 TB
Our list of new and interesting HDDs begins with the latest generation of Hitachi’s products. We discussed one model from it in our recent roundup of 1TB drives, so what is so exciting about this one? The fact is Hitachi’s basic firmware for its latest generation of HDDs (both 7K1000.C and 7K2000 series) had proved to be rather poor but the company must be given credit for quickly releasing an update and the HDD in our last review had the improved firmware (version 39C) rather than the basic one (version 25C). Alas, the update was not blameless, either. Recently, we have got a sample with firmware 3EA which proves to be very different from the basic firmware. Thus, we will have the opportunity to see what effect firmware may have on an HDD’s performance and will also give the Deskstar 7K1000.C the chance to improve our opinion of it.
Samsung EcoGreen F3: HD203WI, 1 TB
Next goes Samsung’s 2TB drive with 32MB cache from the 5400RPM EcoGreen F3 series. This HDD is interesting for two reasons. First, it is the company’s first 4-platter HDD. It is an achievement, really. Samsung’s previous-generation HDDs used to be always inferior to their opponents in maximum capacity because they had no more than 3 platters whereas most of Samsung’s opponents could use a 4-platter design (and Hitachi had even inherited IBM’s secret knowledge of how to make 5-platter HDDs). Although not a big deal for most users, this inferiority was a serious marketing problem. But it’s not a problem anymore now that Samsung can make maximum-capacity HDDs. The HDD is a power-efficient model as yet, but we hope that 4-platter 7200RPM models from Samsung will follow soon.
Another interesting thing about this product is that the announcing press release came out much later than the HDD itself had hit the shops. Of course, this approach is better than the paper releases of some other computer firms, but an ideal timing of both the actual release and the announcement would be best.