Samsung’s SP1604N is a 160 GB ATA/133 hard drive, with a 2 MB buffer and rotating at 7,200 rpm, being part of Spinpoint P80 series. In this series you will also find models with 60 GB, 80 GB and 120 GB capacities, both ATA/133 and Serial ATA interfaces. Also, there is a version of the reviewed SP1604N with 8 MB buffer, called SP1614N, which should achieve a better performance.

Samsung SP1604NFigure 1: Samsung SP1604N, 160 GB, ATA/133 and 7,200 rpm hard disk drive.

Samsung SP1604NFigure 2: Other side of Samsung SP1604N hard disk drive.

This hard disk drive is controlled by Marvell 88i6522 chip, while its 2 MB buffer is done by ESMT M12L16161A-5T memory chip. The other chip that you see in Figure 3 is an ATMEL AT49F1024 flash memory, used to store the drive’s firmware.

Samsung SP1604NFigure 3: Detail of the controller chip (Marvell) and of the SDRAM memory used as buffer (ESMT).

The real capacity of this hard drive is of 149.05 GB, since all manufacturers assume that 1 GB is 1 billion bytes, while 1 GB is in fact 1,073,741,824 bytes (2^30).

A very important detail is that your system may not recognize the drive’s full capacity, since several computers aren’t updated to recognize hard drives above 127 GB, which is the BIOS limit. There are several options if your computer doesn’t recognize the drive’s full capacity, like upgrading your motherboard BIOS or updating Windows by running Big Driver Enabler software (you can also use Samsung’s own software, called EnableBigLba).

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.