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Samsung SpinPoint V30
  July 25, 2001 Author: Eugene Ra  

Samsung SpinPoint V30 Available Capacities *
Model Number
30 GB
60 GB
* The benchmark scores presented in this review represent expected performance across the entire line.
Estimated Flagship Price: $140 MSRP (60 GB)
Evaluation unit provided by Samsung of America.


Samsung drives have always been warmly received within the community despite the lack of review timeliness. Until recently, SR didn't have any ties with Samsung of America; it was difficult to get our hands on review samples from the "seventh manufacturer." Fortunately, however, things have changed. These days, Samsung is quite willing to supply us with up-to-date samples of current-generation products. Here we'll take a look at Samsung's current 5400 RPM drive, the SpinPoint V30.

The V30 packs 30 gigabytes on a single platter, matching the density of Western Digital's WD600AB. A two-disc flagship design yields a 60 GB capacity. The manufacturer specifies seek time at a rather modest 9.0 milliseconds. The buffer size weighs in on the small site, a petit 512 kilobytes. A three-year warranty protects the drive.

Samsung's latest entry targets the huge entry-level OEM markets as well as do-it-yourselfers that seek a modestly priced upgrade. This pits the drive squarely against Seagate's U-series, Western Digital's WD600AB, and Maxtor's DiamondMax 80.

The V30 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.

WB99/Win2k Low-Level Measurements

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Click here to examine the STR graph for this drive

WinBench 99 measures the SpinPoint V30's access time at 14.4 milliseconds... interestingly, the exact same figure we culled from two of the drive's predecessors, the 20 GB/platter V20400 and the 10 GB/platter V10200. 14.4 ms is easily enough to lead the pack. Subtracting 5.6 milliseconds to account for the average rotational latency of a 5400 RPM drive yields a measured seek time of 8.8 milliseconds. The V30 thus beats its specs by 0.2 milliseconds. Not a lot, but certainly better than erring in the other direction as do many other drives.

The V30's outer-zone transfer rate comes in at 30.8 MB/sec, a figure that's pretty much in line with the 20 GB/platter competition. Note however that Western Digital's 30 GB/platter Caviar WD600AB bests the SpinPoint by over 4 MB/sec. An inner-zone rate of 17.9 MB/sec, again fairly average, completes the low-level look.

WB99/Win2k WinMarks

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Samsung's drive unfortunately turns in abysmal figures in the WinBench 99 Disk WinMarks, a measure that many still view as the most accurate assessment of hard disk performance. Its Business Disk WinMark 99 score of 5 MB/sec brings up the rear when compared to today's 5400 RPM drives, lagging category-leader Western Digital by over 30%. The margin widens in the High-End WinMark; here the SpinPoint trails the Caviar by nearly 40%.

IOMeter Performance

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The SpinPoint deftly turns the tables when it comes to our IOMeter suites. Its Workstation Index (a normalized average of light, medium, and heavly loadsof 144.03 ranks as the highest score yet recorded for a 5400 RPM drive. Here the Samsung leads IBM's Deskstar 40GV by about 5% and WD's Caviar WD600AB by a substantial 10%. The V30's scores in the File Server and Database indices are similarly impressive.


As is par for Samsung's drives, the V30 maintains an incredibly quiet seek profile despite its relatively swift accesses. Even when it's grinding away in IOMeter's access patterns, one must listen closely to the case to hear the drive seek. Idle noise is inaudible over our testbed's power supply. The drive runs slightly warm to the touch after extended heavy use.

Overall, the SpinPoint V30 continues Samsung's tradition of excellent access times resulting in great IOMeter scores. Coupled with its incredibly low noise levels, the V30 rivals 7200 RPM ATA drives as a premiere choice for entry-level home-based servers. For business/office use, however, the drive's low WinMarks are of some concern. Such applications may be better off with a drive like Western Digital's Caviar WD600AB, a drive that delivers record WinMark scores as well as respectable IOMeter numbers.

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