This test session has shown that there are different hard disks for everyone’s taste.
Do you want the fastest drive for a home computer? Take a Western Digital Caviar Black. This HDD is quite universal and looks good under server loads. It is actually free from serious downsides. Its high performance is accompanied with rather high power consumption, though. And some users may not like the clacking of its briskly heads.
Do you need the quietest and coolest drive? Consider the Western Digital Caviar Green. Its lower performance (by an average 20%) is made up for by lower power consumption and heat dissipation, and it is far superior to the 7200rpm models in terms of noisiness.
Do you need a drive for server loads but don’t want to pay for enterprise series models? The Western Digital Caviar Blue was the fastest in our server tests, outperforming its Black series counterpart even. Overall, it is as universal as the Caviar Black but its performance and power consumption are lower.
Do you need a truly universal drive that won’t demand special cooling? Choose between the Samsung SpinPoint F1 DT and the Seagate 7200.11. The latter is somewhat more economical and faster at sequential operations but has a number of flaws in its firmware starting with the risk of the drive not being identified after startup and ending with very poor writing of small data blocks. The Samsung has stable firmware and lower noise level but is slow at multithreaded reading.