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Conclusion

Concluding such a long rundup, I have to recall each hard disk drive with its particular highs and lows.

The two drives from Hitachi can be discussed as one because they have very similar results in every test. The Hitachi team did well in the server patterns but failed in the multithreaded tests. According to Futuremark, the Hitachi drives are ideal as hard disks for a workstation. They have been superb in every version of PCMark (thanks to their high Average Positioning Speed). In FC-Test the Hitachi team is only inferior to the Samsung SpinPoint F1, which means a lot. These HDDs are also good in our homemade test of defragmentation speed (thanks to the high APS again) but the overall impression is somewhat spoiled by the power consumption tests. 16 watts is quite a lot.

The Samsung SpinPoint F1 features high recording density, low power consumption and superb performance in the desktop-oriented tests. It has very good results in PCMark and excellent results in FC-Test and in the defragmentation test. On the other hand, it was hopeless in the server patterns. Hopefully, the server version of this drive, the SpinPoint F1 RAID, is going to be faster in the server-oriented applications. A peculiar feature of this drive is that it prefers controllers with high bandwidth. If you buy it, you should provide a fast SATA controller to reveal this drive’s potential (SATA-300 controllers integrated into mainboards will do).

The Seagate drives seem to have server roots. It looks like the developer wrote server-oriented firmware into both of them. As a result, the Barracuda 7200.11 and Barracuda ES.2 have no problems in multithreaded tests and even win at multithreaded reading. They also feel good in the Database pattern and in the File-Server and Web-Server patterns. They failed in the PCMark tests, though. The Barracudas were not brilliant in FC-Test, either, although were quite fast at reading large files. They were also slow in our defragmentation test. So, I am waiting for Seagate’s programmers to write new firmware.

Western Digital’s Caviar GP is the most ambiguous product in this review. On one hand, the manufacturer’s claim of low power consumption of this product is true. On the other hand, we can see the tradeoff just too clearly. The reduction of the spindle rotation speed to 5400rpm made it virtually impossible for this HDD to compete with the alternative products in terms of performance. Well, the Caviar GP should be given credit for challenging the other drives in some tests. It was fast in the multithreaded tests and competed with the Seagate drives in PCMark. It was quite good in FC-Test, too. In fact, this HDD can be quite a fine hard disk for a home PC because it is quiet and consumes little power. Still, I wish Western Digital added a 7200rpm model into the Caviar GP series. On my part, I promise to benchmark its performance without bias as soon as it arrives.

So, these are the highs and lows of the tested drives but the most important point about them is the price factor. The price of a 1-terabyte drive has lowered by a half since the moment they hit the market – all thanks to the competition. With four manufacturers elbowing each other aside in this market sector, we are up to more price cuts!

 
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