by eugene

Samsung SpinPoint P80 SP1614N


Samsung SpinPoint P80 Capacities
Model Number Capacity
SP0812N 80 GB
SP1213N 120 GB
SP1614N 160 GB
Lowest Real-Time Price:


Introduction

In the eyes of high-volume system integrators as well as those of hardware enthusiasts, Korean conglomerate Samsung has never been as popularly regarded as competitors such as Seagate, Maxtor, and Western Digital. This may partly be attributed to the continued momentum enjoyed by the latter; it's undeniable that Samsung's channel distribution, however, lags far behind. StorageReview has suffered from the problem as well- Samsung has only sporadically worked with us. As a result, SR's coverage of the firm's products has not been as comprehensive as those from other manufacturers.

Top of the driveSamsung has recently enjoyed extended goodwill from the enthusiast community by remaining the sole manufacturer to retain an across-the-board three-year warranty on all of its ATA drives even as competitors retreated to one-year protection on many models. These one year reductions by competitors do not necessarily imply a sudden fall in build quality; indeed, many enthusiasts fail to grasp the immediate accounting benefit through the decrease of paper liability that results independently of actual warranty claims. Samsung's exception nonetheless continues to stand out.

The SpinPoint P80 is the latest in Samsung's performance-oriented 7200 RPM drive line. Like other contemporary drives, the P80 incorporates 80 gigabytes per platter. Samsung joins Seagate in topping out with a two-platter, 160 GB design rather than setting its sights against the three-disk flagships offered by Hitachi, Maxtor, and WD. An 8.9 millisecond seek time and an eight-megabyte buffer round out the drive's vitals.

Samsung, like most other firms, ships the P80 exclusively with fluid dynamic bearing (FDB) motors. When contrasted with traditional ball bearing offerings, FDB motors deliver quieter idle operation as well as purportedly increasing shock resistance.

Back of the driveThe P80 is also available in slightly less pricey iterations equipped with a two- rather than an eight-megabyte buffer. Unlike many competing models, the two-megabyte versions also enjoy three-year warranty coverage.

With the P80, Samsung targets mid- to high-end desktop machines as well as light-duty servers that require moderate capacity combined with performance and quiet operation. In the following tests, the Samsung SpinPoint P80 will be compared against the following drives for the following reasons:

Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB Same-generation competing unit
Maxtor MaXLine Plus II ATA-133 Same-generation competing unit
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (PATA) Same-generation / same interface. The SATA 'Cuda features substantially better performance but has not been retested with current controller driver/bios and is thus invalid
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (SATA) Same-generation competing unit; we have not tested the parallel ATA version





Low-Level Results

For diagnostic purposes only, StorageReview measures the following low-level parameters:

Average Read Access Time- An average of 25,000 random accesses of a single sector each conducted through IPEAK SPT's AnalyzeDisk suite. The high sample size permits a much more accurate reading than most typical benchmarks deliver and provides an excellent figure with which one may contrast the claimed access time (claimed seek time + the drive spindle speed's average rotational latency) provided by manufacturers.

WB99 Disk/Read Transfer Rate - Begin- The sequential transfer rate attained by the outermost zones in the hard disk. The figure typically represents the highest sustained transfer rate a drive delivers.

WB99 Disk/Read Transfer Rate - End- The sequential transfer rate attained by the innermost zones in the hard disk. The figure typically represents the lowest sustained transfer rate a drive delivers.

For more information, please click here.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Service Time Graphs (in milliseconds)
Average Read Service Time
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 12.1|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 13.4|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 13.7|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 13.8|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 14.7|
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SP1614N Average Read Service Time

AnalyzeDisk places the SpinPoint P80's measured access time at 13.4 milliseconds. Subtracting 4.2 milliseconds to account for the average rotational latency of a 7200 RPM drive reveals a measured seek time of 9.2 milliseconds. Though such a score doesn't meet Samsung's claimed spec, we have witnessed far more egregious violations from most competitors.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Transfer Rate Graphs (in megabytes per second)
Transfer Rate - Begin
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 60.4|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 60.1|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 57.7|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 57.5|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 55.6|
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Transfer Rate - End
Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 36.2|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 34.3|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 33.4|
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Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 32.9|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 32.8|
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SP1614N Transfer Rate

Outer-zone transfer rates weigh in at about 57.2 MB/sec, typical for today's 80 GB/platter ATA units. Rates decay to an inner track rate of 33.4 MB/sec. The STR graph presented above is, to put it mildly, rather ugly. The regular depression evidenced in transfer rates is almost reminiscent of a background process accessing the drive at regular intervals. SR's testbed environment, however, aggressively eliminates such variation. These depressions have been corroborated by transfer rate graphs posted by other review sites- whatever causes this phenomenon is thus internal to the disk/firmware and (as far as we can tell) beyond the ability of the user to correct. That said, though they may appear disconcerting, the depressions are likely not something to fret over. It is unlikely that they significantly affect performance.





Single-User Performance

StorageReview uses the following tests to assess non-server use:

StorageReview.com Office DriveMark 2002- A capture of 30 minutes of actual computer productivity use that exactingly recreates a typical office-style multitasking environment. The applications include: Outlook XP, Word XP, Excel XP, PowerPoint XP, Calypso (a freeware e-mail client), SecureCRT v3.3 (a telnet/SSH client), CuteFTP Pro v1.0 (an FTP/SSH client), ICQ 2000b), Palm Hotsync 4.0, Gravity 2.3 (a Usenet/newsgroups client), PaintShop Pro v7.0, Media Player v8 for the occasional MP3, and Internet Explorer 6.0.

StorageReview.com High-End DriveMark 2002- A capture of VeriTest's Content Creation Winstone 2001 suite. Applications include Adobe Photoshop v5.5, Adobe Premiere v5.1, Macromedia Director v8.0, Macromedia Dreamweaver v3.0, Netscape Navigator v4.73, and Sonic Foundry Sound Forge v4.5. Unlike typical productivity applications, high-end audio- and video- editing programs are run in a more serial and less multitasked manner. The High-End DriveMark includes significantly more sequential transfers and write (as opposed to read) operations.

StorageReview.com Bootup DriveMark 2002- A capture of the rather unusual Windows XP bootup process. Windows XP's boot procedure involves significantly different access patterns and queue depths than those found in other disk accesses. This test recreates Windows XP's bootup from the initial bootstrap load all the way to initialization and loading of the following memory-resident utilities: Dimension4 (a time synchronizer), Norton Antivirus 2002 AutoProtect, Palm Hotsync v4.0, and ICQ 2000b.

StorageReview.com Gaming DriveMark 2002- A weighted average of the disk accesses featured in five popular PC games: Lionhead's Black & White v1.1, Valve's Half-Life: Counterstrike v1.3, Blizzard's Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction v1.09b, Maxis's The Sims: House Party v1.0, and Epic's Unreal Tournament v4.36. Games, of course, are not multitasked- all five titles were run in a serial fashion featuring approximately half an hour of play time per game.

For more information, please click here.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Desktop Performance Graphs (in I/Os per second)
SR Office DriveMark 2002
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 459|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 429|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 407|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 405|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 313|
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SR High-End DriveMark 2002
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 442|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 429|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 400|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 383|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 307|
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SR Bootup DriveMark 2002
Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 397|
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Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 389|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 373|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 370|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 259|
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SR Gaming DriveMark 2002
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 588|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 551|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 527|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 512|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 399|
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The SpinPoint P80 manages to top 400 I/Os per second in the StorageReview Office DriveMark 2002, placing it right in the thick of things with competitors. Samsung's contender compares well against the Maxtor MaXLine Plus II, trailing only Western Digital's Caviar WD2500JB and Hitachi's Deskstar 7K250.

Samsung chokes a bit, however, when it comes to the High-End DriveMark. While the P80 maintains a considerable lead over the anemic Barracuda 7200.7, Maxtor's drive joins Hitachi and WD in outpacing Samsung's offering.

The P80 climbs back into the thick of things in the Bootup DriveMark, a test that recreates the Windows XP bootup process and as a result generates higher-than-normal queue depths.

Finally, in the Gaming DriveMark, the Samsung again handily bests Seagate's drive while trailing the drives from Hitachi, WD, and Maxtor.





Multi-User Performance

StorageReview uses the following tests to assess server performance:

StorageReview.com File Server DriveMark 2002- A mix of synthetically-created reads and writes through IOMeter that attempts to model the heavily random access that a dedicated file server experiences. Individual tests are run under loads with 1 I/O, 4 I/Os, 16 I/Os, and 64 I/Os outstanding. The Server DriveMark is a convenient at-a-glance figure derived from the weighted average of results obtained from the four different loads.

StorageReview.com Web Server DriveMark 2002- A mix of synthetically-created reads through IOMeter that attempts to model the heavily random access that a dedicated web server experiences. Individual tests are run under loads with 1 I/O, 4 I/Os, 16 I/Os, and 64 I/Os outstanding. The Server DriveMark is a convenient at-a-glance figure derived from the weighted average of results obtained from the four different loads.

For more information click here.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Server Performance Graphs (in I/Os per second)
SR File Server DriveMark 2002
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 127|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 125|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 125|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 117|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 110|
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SR Web Server DriveMark 2002
Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 143|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 125|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 124|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 120|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 119|
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For use in a light-duty file server, the SpinPoint P80 performs just as well as Hitachi's Deskstar 7K250 and Western Digital's Caviar WD2500JB. However, though the P80 keeps up with the WD in the read-dominated Web Server DriveMark, it can't match the top-level performance delivered by the Hitachi.





Legacy Performance

eTesting Lab's WinBench 99 Disk WinMark tests are benchmarks that attempt to measure desktop performance through a rather dated recording of high-level applications. Despite their age, the Disk WinMarks are somewhat of an industry standard. The following results serve only as a reference; SR does not factor them into final judgments and recommends that readers do the same.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Legacy Performance Graphs (in megabytes per second)
ZD Business Disk WinMark 99
Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 16.3|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 16.0|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 14.7|
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Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 11.8|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 10.7|
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ZD High-End Disk WinMark 99
Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 45.0|
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Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 39.8|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 39.6|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 38.5|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 28.1|
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Note: Scores on top are better.
Heat and Noise
Idle Noise (in dB/A @ 18mm)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 39.9|
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Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 41.5|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 41.8|
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Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 42.3|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 44.7|
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Net Drive Temperature (in degrees celsius)
Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB ATA-133) - 18.9|
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Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (160 GB ATA-100) - 19.5|
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Western Digital Caviar WD2500JB (250 GB ATA-100) - 19.9|
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Maxtor MaXLine Plus II (250 GB ATA-133) - 20.1|
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Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 (250 GB SATA) - 20.6|
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When idle, the SpinPoint P80 operates at 42.3 dB/A from a distance of 18 millimeters. Technically speaking, it produces more sound pressure than all the competition save the non-FDB Caviar WD2500JB. Subjectively, however, most drives that fall below the 45 dB/A floor are virtually inaudible when installed in a system that features a power-supply and CPU fan. Seeks are quiet- its safe to say that the P80 will not significantly contribute to a system's noise profile.

With just two platters, the flagship P80 operates at a cool 18.9 degrees Celsius over ambient temperature. It should integrate well into virtually any system.





Reliability

The StorageReview.com Reliability Survey aims to amalgamate individual reader experiences with various hard disks into a comprehensive warehouse of information from which meaningful results may be extracted. A multiple-layer filter sifts through collected data, silently omitting questionable results or results from questionable participants. A proprietary analysis engine then processes the qualified dataset. SR presents results to readers through a percentile ranking system.

According to filtered and analyzed data collected from participating StorageReview.com readers, the Samsung SpinPoint P80 is more reliable than of the other drives in the survey that meet a certain minimum floor of participation.

According to filtered and analyzed data collected from participating StorageReview.com readers, a predecessor of the Samsung SpinPoint P80, the Samsung SpinPoint P40 , is more reliable than of the other drives in the survey that meet a certain minimum floor of participation.

Note that the percentages in bold above may change as more information continues to be collected and analyzed. For more information, to input your experience with these and/or other drives, and to view comprehensive results, please visit the SR Drive Reliability Survey.





Conclusion

With the SpinPoint P80, Samsung manages to close a competitive performance gap that in the past has been rather large. Decent performance combined with the firm's traditionally quiet and cool operation make the P80 a viable alternative to other "big name" drives as long as a user does not require the greater than 160 GB capacities that the competition provides.

  Review Discussion