Offering a gigabyte to pound ratio that’s quite staggering (working out around 67p at the time of writing), the Samsung Spinpoint F1 SATA2 drive is a 1TB hard disk drive that’s going to prove tempting to anyone with a PC jam-packed full of media files. To get so much into a tight price tag, the spin speed has been kept at 7,200rpm, but we found in our tests that Samsung’s drive was still capable of some impressive performance.
The drive itself comes with SATA connections only, supporting SATA-300, and it took a matter of a minute to get it installed on our test rig. We added it as a secondary hard drive and our Vista installation didn’t immediately recognise it. Again, though, a minute or so in Disk Management and we were ready to roll.
As you’d expect, the drive takes some time to do a full format and we got ours in place and NTFS-formatted as we put it to the test. HD Tach reported an impressive burst speed of 231.4MB/s, which sat very well against the 134.5MB/s of the 400GB Western Digital WD4000KD that was in the same machine.
Granted, the 16MB cache of the latter accounts for some of the difference, but not all. The Samsung’s random access time was slightly slower, at 13.8ms against 13.5ms for the Western Digital, but its average read speed of 95.7MB trounced the WD4000KD’s 54.1MB. CPU utilisation was lower too, at 2 percent against 3 percent for the Western Digital unit.
As an added bonus the SpinPoint is also very quiet. We had to get really close to our PC to be able to pick up the noise of it going about its business, and from the other side of the room we couldn’t hear it at all. This, combined with the large capacity and good performance, is naturally going to endear the drive to those looking to put together a sizeable RAID array, and when you consider that you could theoretically have 5TB of storage with change from £400, that’s pretty impressive.
There are, of course, drives with better performance on the market, and a 10,000rpm device will no doubt improve read speeds still further. But for your buck, it’s hard to find many alternatives to challenge the deal on offer here. Not only do you get a generous amount of storage for your money, but it also happens to be wrapped in a quiet, unassuming but well-performing package.
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