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Testing Participants

Hitachi Travelstar 5K500: HTS545050KTA300, 500GB

  

Hitachi achieved the storage capacity of 500 gigabytes by installing three 167GB platters into the 5K500, so this drive is just a little ahead of its opponents in terms of recording density. Unfortunately, this solution increased the height of the product by 3 millimeters. It just will not fit into quite a lot of notebooks and external racks. The solution itself is not new. We have already seen three-platter 2.5-inch drives with an increased height of the case. Those were Fujitsu’s models with a spindle rotation speed of 4200rpm. Well, it is quite natural for Hitachi to know that two platters is a conventional but not maximum parameter as this company has mastered the 5-platter design so well in the sector of 3.5-inch models.

The 5K500 has inherited all its technologies from the predecessors. The only innovation is Rotational Vibration Safeguard technology which had been limited to the company’s 3.5-inch drives before. To remind you, the point of this technology is in minimizing vibrations affecting the read/write heads by utilizing velocity sensors. This improves the positioning accuracy of the heads above the necessary track.

It will be interesting to see what performance this record-capacity drive can deliver.

Samsung SpinPoint M6S: HM320JI, 320GB

  

This newcomer is from Samsung’s new SpinPoint M6S series which features 160GB platters just as in the other brands’ products. It is in this series that Samsung has also announced a 500GB model. Like the Hitachi 5K500, it is based on three platters but Samsung claims it to have the standard (9.5mm) height and fit any notebook. It would be interesting to see how they achieved that, but we haven’t got that drive yet. We will test the dual-platter 320GB model instead.

Of course, the new series has inherited all the technologies found in the M5S series and added some more: the higher recording density made it necessary to lower the read/write head closer to the platter surface and control its flight more accurately. As a result, the traditional TMR heads have acquired temperature-based flight control called Fly on Demand.

The 320GB Toshiba MKxx52GSX and Western Digital WD3200BEVT models that we discussed in the previous article are going to take part in this test session, too.

The following table shows the specifications and firmware versions of the hard disk drives:


Click to enlarge

Take note that the Western Digital Scorpio is equipped with 16 megabytes of cache memory. The other HDDs come with an 8MB cache.

 
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