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Home » Storage
500 GB Hard Disk Drive Round-Up
Author: Gabriel Torres 137,149 views
Type: Reviews Last Updated: October 10, 2008
Page: 1 of 10
Introduction

When buying a hard disk drive most users are only concerned with the drive’s capacity. Should you also care about performance? We compared the performance of ten 500 GB SATA-300 hard disk drive models from Seagate, Samsung, Western Digital and Hitachi. Is there a big performance difference among them? Is it worthwhile to pay a little bit more and get a drive with a bigger buffer? If so, which is the fastest 500 GB drive on the market? Check it out!

We tried to include on this review all 500 GB hard disk drives we could find on the US market. In the table below you can see a comparison between the main specs for all ten drives included in our round-up. Nine of them rotate at 7,200 rpm – the exception is Western Digital Caviar GP, which is a “green” hard disk drive with rotational speed varying between 5,400 rpm and 7,200 rpm depending on the usage in order to save energy. All drives included in our round-up use a SATA power connector.

All 500 GB models we tested have a real capacity of 465.76 GB (976,773,168 sectors). As you may be aware, the capacity advertised by hard disk drive manufacturers isn’t the real drive capacity. Read our Hard Disk Drives Capacity Limits tutorial for further information on this subject.

Keep in mind that some of the drives included in our review are not primarily targeted to the end-user market and thus are a little bit more expensive. Seagate SV35.3 is targeted to digital video surveillance systems while Seagate ES.2, Western Digital RE.2 and RE.3 drives are targeted to the enterprise market. But it will be interesting to see how these drives that in theory have a higher reliability and transfer rate compare to mainstream units.

Manufacturers are using three different buffer sizes for 500 GB hard disk drives: 8 MB, 16 MB and 32 MB. It will be very interesting to compare drives with different buffer sizes to see if this feature really impacts performance.

Manufacturer

Model

Model #

Buffer

Price

Hitachi

Deskstar P7K500

HDP725050GLA360

16 MB

USD 59.99 *

Samsung

Spinpoint F1 DT

HD502IJ

16 MB

USD 74.00 ^

Seagate

Barracuda 7200.11

ST3500320AS

32 MB

USD 69.99 *

Seagate

Barracuda ES.2

ST3500320NS

32 MB

USD 89.99 *

Seagate

SV35.3

ST3500320SV

32 MB

USD 89.99 *

Western Digital

Caviar GP

WD5000AACS

16 MB

USD 64.99 *

Western Digital

Caviar SE

WD5000AAJS

8 MB

USD 64.99 *

Western Digital

Caviar SE16

WD5000AAKS

16 MB

USD 69.99 *

Western Digital

RE2

WD5001ABYS

16 MB

USD 94.90 ^

Western Digital

RE3

WD5002ABYS

16 MB

USD 86.00 ^

*Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

^Researched at ZipZoomfly.com on the day we published this review.

As for prices, we always try to research them on the same online store on the day we publish the review for a better comparison, as prices can vary wildly (for example, the same Caviar GP that is sold by USD 64.99 at Newegg.com is found at USD 123.99 at Best Buy, practically the double), but sometimes the store we decide to use for comparison doesn’t carry all models we included in our round-up.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 and Seagate Barracuda ES.2 came with a SATA-150/SATA-300 jumper. This jumper must be removed in order for the drive to work at SATA-300, otherwise it will work as a SATA-150 device. Of course we removed this jumper. For more information on this subject, read our Everything You Need to Know About Serial ATA tutorial.

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