“Eureka!” he screamed out, his teeth shining through his beard.
“Gentlemen, you may congratulate me and we may congratulate each other. The problem is solved.”
”You have found a way up?”
”I venture to think so… We can at least all reach the summit,” said he.
“When we are up I may be able to show you that the resources
of an inventive mind are not yet exhausted.”
The Lost Word by Arthur Conan Doyle
They were supposed to be dead. They were a legend, an object of devotion among the initiated and a fright for the youth. The species of ten-headed colossi seemed to be doomed by Evolution itself, but they are back now!
I think this thing could only have come from the Japanese with their Godzilla and gigantic war robots. We all knew the Hitachi engineers had got hold of all the intellectual property of IBM’s disk department but none of us could ever imagine that they were going to wipe dust off the last-century drafts. The top model of the 75GXP series was the last member of the glorious breed because the production of five-platter giants was found unprofitable back in 2000. And now, four years since, we see them under the Hitachi banner. Let’s have a closer look?
I think the reasons for what has happened are rooted in the ambitions of Hitachi Global Storage that wants to be the leader on the hard disk drive market, in the slowdown of the data density growth during the last two years, and in the availability of IBM’s projects. These three components like charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter combined to make the explosion-ready Deskstar 7K400. Is it as deadly as gunpowder? Yes it is, for the competitors! Even transitioning to platters of a much higher capacity, they won’t have a drive with a larger storage space than Hitachi has now. It means Hitachi has really become a long-time leader in this parameter.
Using the same platters as in the Deskstar 7K250, Hitachi achieved the record-breaking capacity of 400 gigabytes. By the way, the problems with the data density growth have impelled other manufacturers to increase the number of platters per drive, too. For example, Seagate has mastered three-platter configurations which had been missing in the company’s product range since ancient times. But does the 7K400 differ from its predecessor in the number of platters alone? No. They also equipped the drive with new electronics that supports the UltraDMA/133 protocol. Thus, Hitachi became the third company – after Maxtor and Samsung – to embrace the innovation of the late Quantum. The redesigned electronics will also probably show some changes in the firmware, I guess. Besides that, realizing quite clearly the market prospects of the product, Hitachi equipped it with a unique – at least at the moment – feature that I will discuss at length in the next section. Right now let’s learn the characteristics of the 7K400 better.
By the way, talking about the market prospects, Hitachi intends the new drive for use in digital video-recorders and digital video processing devices in the first place. Next go various data storage and backup devices, high-performance workstations, gaming computers (a devout gamer will surely find how to use up all these 400 gigabytes), and home multimedia centers.
The low-level characteristics coincide with those of the Deskstar 7K250 (you can refer to our article called Hitachi Deskstar 7K250: Vancouver 3 HDD Review for details), with two minor exceptions: 271KB of buffer memory is now allotted for the firmware (against 254KB in the previous model) and the linear read/write speed is now higher by 100KB/s. Again, these are just minor changes. The declared average seek time hasn’t got worse despite the heavier actuator, but I am going to check this in practice soon. The power consumption has quite expectedly got higher.
But not catastrophically so: 13 watts against the 7K250’s 10 watts. Like with the previous model, the Serial ATA version has a bigger appetite on the +5V line, but the overall consumption is moderate: less than that of the voracious Barracudas on the +12V and a little higher than that of the competitors on the +5V.