About a year ago we had the opportunity to review Samsung's SpinPoint V10200 through an evaluation unit supplied by Australian retailer Red Hill Technology. It proved to be an interesting performer, delivering the quietest operation we'd witnessed combined with the highest IOMeter scores we had seen from a 5400 RPM drive. Many readers wondered how a Samsung unit would perform when freed from the shackles of a 5400 RPM spindle speed.
A couple months ago Samsung of America expressed interest in supplying evaluation units of its latest drives to SR. As a result, we were able to bring you a look at the SpinPoint V20400, a drive that featured a more contemporary 20 GB/platter. Yet the unit that likely interests readers most is performance-oriented version, the 7200 RPM SpinPoint P20.
Though they've quietly been manufacturing hard disks for years, Samsung is a relatively new contestant in the 7200 RPM drive stakes. Folks may remember a press release from the company about a year and a half ago that outlined the "release" of a 7200 RPM drive that featured 10 GB/platter. Unfortunately, we couldn't find the drive anywhere and had to let it pass. The P20 represents Samsung's next generation, featuring 20 GB/platter. The flagship model (SP4004, reviewed here) features 2 platters yielding a top-line capacity of 40 gigabytes. Samsung specs the drive with a relatively modest 9 millisecond seek time. A standard 2-megabyte buffer rounds out the package.
High-end desktop machines and entry-level servers represent the P20's target market, placing it squarely against other entrants such as IBM's Deskstar 60GXP and Western Digital's WD800BB. A 3-year warranty protects the drive.
The P20 ships exclusively with an ATA-100 interface. Remember, since ATA drives have yet to break sequential transfer rates greater than even 45 MB/sec that ATA-66 (and in many cases, even ATA-33) interfaces will run a drive with optimal performance. Our testbed remains equipped with a Promise Ultra66 controller.