Articles: Storage

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Having taken over IBM’s storage media business, the Japan-headquartered Hitachi Ltd. is running and developing it most successfully.

Miniature hard disk drives of the Microdrive series the company continues to produce are quite competitive against flash memory cards. Of course, the small-size hard disk drives are slower and less reliable and consume more power, but they also have a smaller price, the capacity being equal. Price is the guiding shopping factor for many users, after all.

We now have an opportunity to check out the real operational characteristics of two Microdrive devices from the retail net, plugging them into the best card-reader that has ever entered our test lab.

Hitachi Microdrive 3K4



Let me remind you that the miniature hard disk drive series from Hitachi consists of two models, of 2 and 4GB capacities. Their spindle rotation speed is 3600rpm; the size of the cache buffer is 128KB. The average typical read seek time is 12msec. The manufacturer claims a burst data-transfer rate of 4.3-7.2MB/s. The drives support the CF+ interface (compatible with ATA and PCMCIA). The devices can stand an operational shock of 200G for 2ms and a non-operational shock of 2000G (for 1ms). The dimensions of the Microdrives are 5x42.8x36.4mm; the weight is 16g.

The average retail price of the 2GB model is $210; of the 4GB model - $355.

Testbed and Methods

Two test programs were used:

  • FC Test version 1.0;
  • AIDA32 version 3.95.

The testbed was configured as follows:

  • Albatron PX865PE Pro mainboard;
  • Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU;
  • IBM DTLA-307015 HDD, 15GB;
  • RADEON 7000 32MB graphics card;
  • 256MB DDR SDRAM;
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4.

I tested the drives using an ImageMate USB 2.0 card-reader from SanDisk. The 2GB model was formatted in FAT16, the 4GB model – in FAT32; the cluster size was left default.

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