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Seagate Momentus 5400.3 (ST9160821A): Closer Look

It is always a pleasure to succeed in something. Seagate cannot be considered a discoverer of the perpendicular recording technology that allows increasing the storage capacity of the hard disk drives and improving their performance, and Seagate was not the first one to put it to practical use. Despite this fact, Seagate can still be considered a pioneer in this field to some extent, because they were the first ones to introduce this promising innovation in 2.5-inch HDDs. We are talking about Momentus 5400.3 hard disk drive family here. And this event is of truly remarkable importance. The thing is that there will be other HDDs with perpendicular recording technology from other storage manufacturers, which will boast much more attractive characteristics than the traditional models. And this will be the case not only for 2.5” devices, but we will also see 3.5” HDDs, which you might be more interested in, I suppose.

Since the HDD storage capacity remains one of the most important criteria for the computer users at this time, the HDD makers started introducing the perpendicular recording technology in the most compact devices first, because the storage capacity of this type of devices is more critical (for the users) and the maximum profit from a single HDD sale in this field is generally higher (for the companies).

We managed to get our hands on the Seagate Momentus 5400.3 HDD with the biggest storage capacity of 160GB. And of course, we couldn’t help comparing this drive with the solutions from other companies boasting at least 100GB of storage space and featuring the same spindle rotation speed. We have tested some if them before, so you can check for example this article for details. You can see the technical specifications of all the HDDs that participated in our test session here .

The family of hard disk drives designed with principally new technology includes 6 models with the storage capacities of 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 and 160GB. As we see from this list, the available product range allows the users to make the best choice for their needs. The HDDs feature 5,400rpm spindle rotation speed and 8MB buffer. The average seek time equals 12.5ms, and the latency is 5.6ms. All HDDs support Ultra ATA/100 interface. Among the distinguishing features of these drives the manufacturer mentions the special highly robust design that ensures that the HDD will stand higher shock: up to 350Gs operational shock and up to 900Gs non-operational shock. Seagate stressed that despite the 5,400rpm spindle rotation speed the actual power consumption of the 5400.3 HDD models equals to that of the solutions with 4,200rpm spindle rotation speed. The performance of the new drives is also claimed to be 50% higher.

As for the price of this new drive it is not selling widely yet, but it is anticipated to appear in stores soon for about $400 in the beginning.

Testbed and Methods

For our today’s test session we used the following software:

  • WinBench 99 2.0;
  • FC-Test 1.0;
  • PCMark04;
  • Intel IOMeter 2003.02.15.

We assembled the following testbed:

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

The tests were performed with the “default” OS drivers. The drives were formatted for FAT32 and NTFS file systems as a single partition with the cluster of default size. In some cases, which will be specifically mentioned later in this article, we tested 32GB logical partitions, also formatted for FAT32 and NTFS systems with the default cluster.

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