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 12 1 TB SATA-300 hard disk drive models from Seagate, Samsung and Western Digital. Is there a big performance difference among them? If so, which is the fastest 1 TB disk on the market? Check it out!

We tried to include on this review all 1 TB 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 12 drives included in our round-up. All rotate at 7,200 rpm, but “green” models may change its speed 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 1 TB models we tested have a real capacity of 931.51 GB (1,953,525,168 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 more expensive. On the column “market” we pointed out to which market each drive is targeted to, with “D” standing for “desktop,” “G” standing for “green” (hard drives typically consume between 8-10 W; “green” models consume practically half of this), “E” standing for “enterprise” (have a higher reliability rate and the manufacturer may provide extended warranty terms, like faster replacement in case of failure), “DVR” standing for “Digital Video Recording” (targeted to DVR systems like TiVO and digital cable converters that allow TV recording) and “VS” standing for “Video Surveilance” (where the drive is tested to support several continuous and simultaneous write requests without any glitch). For a fair comparison we should compare drives within the same category, but of course it is always interesting compare the performance of mainstream models targeted to end-users with the performance of these specialties hard drives.

Manufacturer Model Model # Buffer Market Price
Samsung EcoGreen F2 HD103SI 32 MB D, G USD 79.99
Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 32 MB D USD 89.99
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000333AS 32 MB D USD 89.99
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000340AS 32 MB D N/A
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 32 MB D USD 89.99
Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST31000340NS 16 MB E USD 159.99
Seagate Barracuda LP ST31000520AS 32 MB D, G USD 84.99
Seagate Pipeline HD Pro ST31000533CS 32 MB DVR USD 139.99
Seagate SV35.3 ST31000340SV 32 MB VS USD 129.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 32 MB D USD 99.99
Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 32 MB D, G USD 84.99
Western Digital RE3 WD1002FBYS 32 MB E USD 159.99

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 84.99 at is found at USD 119.99 at Best Buy). All prices were researched at on the day we published this review.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 (ST31000340AS) 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.

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.