Elsewhere, the 7K1000 has all the features you would expect from a modern hard drive; spindle speed is 7,200rpm, the interface is 3Gbps SATA-II, and it supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ). The onboard data buffer is a whopping 32MB and it even has a legacy Molex power connector – something the Seagate doesn’t have – for those of us with ailing power supplies.
As with all hard drives, the 7K1000’s rated capacity isn’t actually the size you’ll get when you start using it and there are two reasons behind this. First, hard drive manufacturers choose to measure one terabyte as 1,000,000,000,000 or 1012 bytes whereas operating systems measure one terabyte as 1,099,511,627,776 or 240 bytes, so the physical space isn’t even there in the first instance. Quite how and why manufacturers get away with this is beyond us but, as it’s something they all do, we won’t hold it against Hitachi. Secondly, the process of formatting a drive for use in a computer uses up some of its capacity, so even more usable space is lost. The upshot of all this is that, after formatting the drive using Microsoft NTFS, the 7K1000 only gives you about 935GB of actual storage.
With a seek time double that of the fastest SATA hard drives, the 7K1000 isn’t going to be competing for any performance crowns in the hard drive world. However, the platter density does mean that sustained read and write speeds are very competitive and writing large files to and from the disk will be nice and speedy.
To test the drive’s speed, we hooked it up to our usual test bed which consists of an Intel 975XBX2 “Bad Axe” motherboard loaded with an Intel Core 2 Duo QX6800 quad core CPU coupled with 2GB of Corsair CMX1024-6400C3 running at 800MHz with latency settings of 3-4-3-9. The system hard drive is a 400GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.8. We added the formatted 7K1000 as a secondary drive then ran HDTune to determine the drive’s raw performance. For comparison I also did the same test using a Seagate 750GB Barracuda 7200.10 as it’s the closest competitor in terms of size.
Both drives show very similar performance characteristics with identical access times and very similar transfer rate curves. The only real difference comes from the extra platter that means the Hitachi can simply read or write more data at any one time.
Now, because the 7K1000 has such fast transfer speeds, we weren’t able to test drive to drive transfers, because our system drive would’ve been a bottleneck. Therefore I tested each drive within itself, i.e. copied files from partition to partition on the same drive. This test gives a good overall impression of the drive’s real world performance with transfer speeds, access times and latency all being given a good work out.
To prepare I partitioned each drive into three 200GB chunks and one partition that used up the rest of the available space. Then I copied a 4.3GB ISO (DVD image) file and a folder containing 1,302 files of varying sizes and types (totalling 627MB) to the first partition. I then timed how long it took to copy the ISO image from the first partition to the first partition, then the first partition to the second partition, then the second partition to the third partition, and so on. I then did the same with the folder of different files.
As would be expected both drives exhibited a pattern of declining performance as the transfers moved towards the inner portions of the disc (the third and fourth partitions) – just as in the HDTune results. However, once again the 7K1000 comfortably took and held the lead from the Seagate drive.
The Hitachi 7K1000 one terabyte hard drive is simply very impressive. Quiet operation, stellar performance, unmatched capacity, and a pretty reasonable price tag make this the best high-capacity hard drive available.