Through its unique five-platter assembly, Hitachi Global Storage is the first manufacturer to hit the prestigious one-terabyte mark with the remarkable Deskstar 7K1000. How does it stack up? Join StorageReview as we pit Hitachi’s giant against the best that the SATA interface has to offer.
Through perpendicular magnetic recording techniques, Hitachi crams 200 gigabytes of data across each of the 7200 RPM Deskstar 7K1000’s five platters to achieve the drive’s heralded capacity. Also unique in the 7K1000 is an impressive 32-megabyte buffer, one at least double the size found in virtually every other drive. An 8.5 millisecond seek time rounds out the vitals.
Hitachi boasts of an array of low-power modes that reduce the drive’s power draw when idle, in turn translating into a cooler running and thus longer-lasting disc. In addition, a traditionally notebook-oriented ramp load/unload design that parks heads well away from platters increases shock resistance and reliability, The firm backs the drive with a three-year warranty.
The following charts compare the Deskstar 7K1000 with the drives outlined below. Over the past few months we have received some questions about reviews of drives such as Seagate’s 750 GB Barracuda 7200.10 and WD’s 500 GB Caviar SE16. Note that such drives are mechanically identical to units that the firms orient towards the enterprise, differing only in qualification trials, warranty, and error-recovery procedures. Our looks at enterprise-oriented SATA drives from Seagate, Maxtor, and WD in two articles (the 500 GB enterprise drive roundup and the stand-alone Barracuda ES review) in effect represent the performance one may expect from their consumer counterparts. As a result, they also make great drives against which the 7K1000, a drive aimed at both the enterprise and demanding consumer, may be contrasted. We also throw WD’s 150-gigabyte Raptor, a perennial favorite among the performance-obsessed crowd, into the comparison:
Hitachi Deskstar T7K500 (500 GB)
Predecessor of the review drive
Maxtor MaXLine Pro (500 GB)
Previous-generation competing unit (mechanically identical to the DiamondMax 11)
Seagate Barracuda ES (750 GB)
Current-generation competing unit (mechanically identical to the Barracuda 7200.10)
Western Digital RE2 (500 GB)
Previous-generation competing unit (mechanically identical to the 500 GB Caviar SE16)
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD (150 GB)
High-perfomance enterprise-/enthusiast- oriented 10K RPM SATA unit
For diagnostic purposes only, StorageReview measures the following low-level parameters:
Average Read Access Time– An average of 25,000 random read 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.
Average Write Access Time– An average of 25,000 random write 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. Due to differences in read and write head technology, seeks involving writes generally take more time than read accesses.
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.
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Hitachi’s monster turns in a measured random access time of 13.0 milliseconds (ms), matching its predecessor. Subtracting 4.2 ms from the 7K1000’s score of 13.0 ms yields a measured average seek time of 8.8 ms, about 0.3 off of the company’s standard 8.5 ms spec.
Outer-zone rates on the 7K1000 hit 86.9 MB/sec, a figure that trails the Raptor WD1500ADFD by less than 2 MB/sec thanks to the Deskstar’s state-of-the-art areal density. With this terabyte drive, we hit yet another limitation in WinBench 99 — the program can not seamlessly measure STR across such a large drive. As a result, we divide the drive into two equal partitions (part one,part two). Rates decay to 46.4 MB/sec and also top the 7200 RPM field, though not by the same margins that the Deskstar enjoys towards the outer edge.
It is important to remember that access time and transfer rate measurements are mostly diagnostic in nature and not really measurements of “performance” per se. Assessing these two specs is quite similar to running a processor “benchmark” that confirms “yes, this processor really runs at 2.4 GHz and really does feature a 400 MHz FSB.” Many additional factors combine to yield aggregate high-level hard disk performance above and beyond these two easily measured yet largely irrelevant metrics. In the end, drives, like all other PC components, should be evaluated via application-level performance. Over the next few pages, this is exactly what we will do. Read on!
StorageReview uses the following tests to assess non-server use:
StorageReview.com Office DriveMark 2006– A capture of VeriTest’s Business Winstone 2004 suite. Applications include Microsoft’s Office XP (Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, and Project), Internet Explorer 6.0, Symantec Antivirus 2002 and Winzip 9.0 executed in a lightly-multitasked manner.
StorageReview.com High-End DriveMark 2006– A capture of VeriTest’s Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004 suite. Applications include Adobe Photoshop v7.01, Adobe Premiere v6.5, Macromedia Director MX v9.0, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX v6.1, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9.0, Newtek Lightwave 3D 7.5b, and Steinberg Wavelab 4.0f run in a lightly-multitasked manner.
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A StorageReview Office DriveMark of 917 IOps grants the Deskstar 7K1000 an improvement of 11% over the T7K500. The drive rests atop the 7200 RPM field and lags only the Raptor when it comes to the entire SATA field.
The 7K1000 again builds substantially upon the mark of its predecessor and this time around manages to sneak past WD’s Raptor to snatch the top slot by a slim 2% margin.
Three decidedly different entertainment titles cover gaming performance in StorageReview’s test suite.
FarCry, a first-person shooter, remains infamous for its lengthy map loads when switching levels.
The Sims 2, though often referred to as a “people simulator,” is in its heart a strategy game and spends considerable time accessing the disk when loading houses and lots.
Finally, World of Warcraft represents the testbed’s role-playing entry; it issues disk accesses when switching continents/dungeons as well as when loading new textures into RAM on the fly.
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Our FarCry trace places WD’s Raptor and Hitachi’s latest Deskstar in a class of their own, but it is the latter that again lays claim to the number one slot with its 877 IOps, besting the WD1500ADFD by a margin of 3%.
Playback of a trace from The Sims 2 yields a more even distribution of today’s top SATA drives… and once again, Hitachi’s bemenoth claws its way past the Raptor by 5% and places at the top of the heap with 962 IOps.
Finally, when it comes to World of Warcraft disc access, the Deskstar 7K1000 completes its sweep against the Raptor in our three entertainment titles, topping the 10K RPM drive by 4%.
Unlike single-user machines (whether a desktop or workstation), servers undergo highly random, non-localized access. StorageReview simulates these multi-user loads using IOMeter. The IOMeter File Server pattern balances a majority of reads and minority of writes spanning requests of varying sizes.
IOMeter also facilitates user-configurable load levels by maintaining queue levels (outstanding I/Os) of a specified depth. Our tests start with the File Server pattern with a depth of 1 and double continuously until depth reaches 128 outstanding I/Os.
Drives with any sort of command queuing abilities will always be tested with such features enabled. Unlike single-user patterns, multi-user loads always benefit when requests are reordered for more efficient retrieval.
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The Deskstar 7K1000 enjoys improvements of up to 13% over the T7K500 as concurrency hits higher levels in our IOMeter-facilitated multi-user disc access simulation. Even so, however, the resulting IOps figures place the 7K1000 in the middle of the pack; it is slightly peppier than Seagate’s Barracuda ES but lags significantly behind the Western Digital RE2.
Noise and Power Measurements
Idle Noise– The sound pressure emitted from a drive measured at a distance of 3 millimeters. The close-field measurement allows for increased resolution between drive sound pressures and eliminates interactions from outside environmental noise. Note that while the measurement is an A-weighted decibel score that weighs frequencies in proportion to human ear sensitivity, a low score does not necessarily predict whether or not a drive will exhibit a high-pitch whine that some may find intrusive. Conversely, a high score does not necessarily indicate that the drive exhibits an intrusive noise profile.
Operating Power Dissipation– The power consumed by a drive, measured both while idle and when performing fully random seeks. In the relatively closed environment of a computer case, power dissipation correlates highly with drive temperature. The greater a drive’s power draw, the more significant its effect on the chassis’ internal temperature.
Startup (Peak) Power Dissipation– The maximum power dissipated by a drive upon initial spin-up. This figure is relevant when a system features a large number of drives. Though most controllers feature logic that can stagger the spin-up of individual drives, peak power dissipation may nonetheless be of concern in very large arrays or in cases where a staggered start is not feasible. Generally speaking, drives hit peak power draw at different times on the 5V and 12V rails. The 12V peak usually occurs in the midst of initial spin-up. The 5V rail, however, usually hits maximum upon actuator initialization.
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With a 43.5 dB/A objectively-measured noise floor, the Deskstar 7K1000 does not break any records when it comes to idle noise. Subjectively speaking, the drive’s overall noise envelope is indeed higher than today’s average FDB motor-based drive; however, no frequencies stand out. As a result, what noise the drive does produce would likely fade from notice in typical use.
Under a full seek, the drive’s actuator chatter is noticeable, perhaps slightly louder than perhaps slightly louder than the Barracuda’s and Raptor’s output but not overly heavy in any way.
At idle, the 7K1000 consumes a respectable 7.9 watts and as a result runs cooler than all save Hitachi’s own T7K500. Under load, however, the Deskstar occasionally peaks at 14.2 watts, a figure higher than most of the competition.
Deskstar drives have traditionally been quite frugal when it comes to spin-up power draw. The 7K1000 is no exception, dissipating nearly 10 watts less than the competition and 13 less than the relatively greedy Barracuda ES.
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
According to filtered and analyzed data collected from participating StorageReview.com readers, a predecessor of the
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000, the
Hitachi Deskstar 7K500
, 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.
Perhaps partly due to its huge capacity and partly due to Hitachi’s tradition of wringing the last bit of performance out of its ATA and SATA drives, the Deskstar 7K1000 displaces WD’s Raptor WD1500ADFD as the fastest drive around when it comes to single-user performance.
Also of note is the drive’s low idle power dissipation. Though its sheer performance makes it an OS/apps marvel, the monstrously-huge 7K1000 could also serve as a backup drive (internal or, mounted in a suitable enclosure, external) that spends most of its time idle. For such applications, low power consumption when idle contributes to cooler environments conducive to component longevity.
The biggest story, of course, remains the drive’s enviable capacity. When considered along with the drive’s leading performance, the 7K1000 stands overall as the drive to beat. At the time of this writing, however, it also weighs in at over twice the cost of the 150 GB Raptor. Those seeking bleeding-edge performance without the huge price tag should continue to turn to WD’s demon. Users lusting after the Raptor’s speed but balking at the 10K RPM drive’s relatively low capacity should have a new drive in their crosshairs.