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Samsung SpinPoint V10200 SV2044D
  August 28, 2000 Author: Eugene Ra  
Evaluation unit provided by Red Hill Technology


Introduction

As we've reviewed hard drives over the past two years, we've cited six major manufacturers in the consumer hard disk world: Seagate, IBM, Quantum, Fujitsu, Maxtor, and Western Digital. The former four present both ATA and SCSI offerings while the latter two specialize in ATA units. A seventh company, however, has been quietly supplying OEMs such as HP with their unassuming drives... enter Samsung.

It's quite difficult to find Samsung drives for sale through the usual outlets. Even Fujitsu seems to enjoy better distribution here in the US. Even so, we've watched as Samsung has announced drives with specs matching offerings from the big boys. We jumped at the chance to take a look at one when Tony Wilson over at Red Hill Technology down in Australia offered to send a sample.

The SpinPoint V10200, reviewed here, is a 5400 RPM offering from the Korean manufacturer. It features 10.2 gigs per platter in assemblies of up to 2 disks, yielding flagship capacity of just 20.4 GB. The specified seek time is the most intriguing... at 8.5 milliseconds, the lowest ever for a 5400 RPM ATA unit. A 512k buffer, a tad on the small size these days, rounds out the package.

We must admit that we approached testing with just a bit of skepticism. Would this unit from a company that no one pays attention to be able to keep up with offerings from the big boys? Let's turn now to the figures and find out where the Samsung stands!


WB99/Win2k Low-Level Measurements

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Click here to examine the STR graph for this drive

The low-level scores turned in by the Samsung are about what one would expect for a 5400 RPM 10.2 GB/platter drive. Outer zone transfer rates clock in at 24.6 MB/sec, right in line with speeds exhibited by competitors (only Maxtor's DiamondMax 60 is significantly swifter in STR). The recorded access time was 14.4 milliseconds, indicating a seek time closer to 9 milliseconds rather than the advertised 8.5 ms speed.


WB99/Win2k WinMarks

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When it comes to ZD's WinBench 99, 15 GB/platter units from Maxtor and Western Digital dominate. WinMark scores from both units are quite similar; for the purposes of this comparison, we'll reference WD's Caviar 450AA. Unfortunately, the SpinPoint turns in WinMark scores far short of the WD. In the Business Disk WinMark 99, the Samsung turns in a score of just 4.7 MB/sec, lagging a full 30% behind the Caviar. The margin presented in the High-End Disk WinMark is even greater... here the margin is 36%.

We should take a moment to note that offerings from Maxtor and Western Digital are always tremendous WinMark overachievers. When comparing the SpinPoint to, say, the Quantum Fireball lct10, scores are much closer. Here we find the Samsung lagging the Quantum by margins of 4% and 11% respectively in the Business and High-End tests.

Let's examine how the drive fares in IOMeter.


IOMeter Performance

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To our surprise, Samsung's drive exhibits great strength in IOMeter. It turns in an IOMeter Workstation index score (a normalized average of Light, Medium, and Heavy loads) of 141.15. Such a score exceeds our current leaderboard champ, the Quantum Fireball lct10, by a margin of nearly 6%. This may not sound like much, but this clocks the SpinPoint at a speed 14% faster than the same WD450AA that thrashes it in WB99 tests. In fact, its score is within spitting distance (less than 2%) of the popular 7200 RPM Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 40. Not bad at all!


Conclusion

For a drive that does so well in IOMeter, the Samsung is a remarkably silent drive when it comes to seeks and idle noise. These days, it seems we're praising the acoustics of many drives, so let's take this a step further... the SpinPoint is just as quiet, if not quieter, than the Fireball lct15 and even the fluid-bearing-equipped Fujitsu MPF-AH. The Samsung, along with these other two units (which don't post nearly the same lofty IOMeter scores) form a class of their own when it comes to "silent drives." As one would expect, this 5400 RPM disk also creates little heat... it can be integrated in even cramped cases.

The StorageReview.com Safe Buy Award



Simply put, this designation means we'd purchase this product without regret. Sure, there may be a slightly better, slightly faster, and/or slightly less-expensive model from a competitor, but you can't go wrong with this particular unit. This award is applicable, of course, to all units at the top of their class, but also applies to units that, though not quite best-of-class, provide a strong showing nonetheless.In conclusion, we must admit that the Samsung SpinPoint V10200 pleasantly surprises us. This spunky drive turns in IOMeter scores just shy of many 7200 RPM units in a package that's just about the quietest and coolest around. A potential caveat is capacity... the drive is available in a maximum size of just 20 gigs. If you need more bulk storage, drives from other manufacturers would better fit your need. The other drawback is availability. The SpinPoint is very difficult to find, and it's more than likely that your favorite retailer doesn't carry it. If they do, however, and you're looking for a fast yet inexpensive and quiet drive, this Samsung drive is your ticket.

Samsung SpinPoint V10200 - SV2044D (20.4 GB)
Estimated Price: $110
Also Available: SV1533D (15.3 GB); SB1022D (10.2 GB)
Specifications
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