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  Harddisk Roundup, Heat, Noise and Performance 
  Oct 01, 2002, 07:30am EDT 

Harddisk Applications

By: Sander Sassen

There are roughly two categories that harddisk manufacturers design their products for. The first category is the general purpose PC that’ll be used in offices and at home. The criteria for harddisks used in these PCs usually are low noise and heat production. Simply because they’ll feature in PCs that are used throughout the day for all sorts of office applications. A good example is an office PC, where somebody will be working at throughout the day; low noise is an important factor there. Low noise and heat production are usually more important than raw performance as normal office applications aren’t that taxing on a PC’s harddisk anyway. In these kinds of PCs we’ll often find 5400-rpm harddisks with a storage capacity ranging from 20 to 80Gb. In this test we’ll therefore look at the following 5400-rpm harddisks with a capacity of either 40 or 80Gb:

Harddisks 5400-rpm, 40 and 80GB:
Seagate ST340810A - 5400-rpm - 40GB
Maxtor D540X 4D - 5400-rpm - 40GB
Samsung SV4012H - 5400-rpm - 40GB
Western Digital WD400AB - 5400-rpm - 40GB
Seagate ST380020A - 5400-rpm - 80GB
Maxtor D540X 4D - 5400-rpm - 80GB
Samsung SV8004H - 5400-rpm - 80GB
Western Digital WD800AB - 5400-rpm - 80GB

The second category is the performance PC, which normally uses harddisks with 7200-rpm spindle speeds. These harddisks are naturally perfectly capable of functioning in a general purpose or office PC too but are generally too costly, or a bit overkill, for mundane office applications such as word processing or sending emails. Only when the office or home PC is used for heavier applications such as 3D modeling, CAD/CAM or hosts a large database of clients we’ll start to see the benefits of using a 7200-rpm harddisk. With these harddisks low noise and heat production are still important criteria but performance is generally more important. From our tests we’ve seen there’s a whole range of different approaches to manufacturing 7200-rpm harddisks, some manufacturers aspire to produce the absolute fastest harddisk whereas others focus on producing the most silent 7200-rpm harddisk. In our roundup we’ve looked at the following 7200-rpm disks ranging in capacity from 80- to 120Gb.

Harddisk 7200-rpm, 80 and 120GB:
Seagate ST380021A - 7200-rpm - 80GB
Maxtor D740X - 7200-rpm - 80GB
Samsung SP8004H - 7200-rpm - 80GB
Western Digital WD800BB - 7200-rpm - 80GB
Western Digital WD800JB - 7200-rpm - 80GB
IBM 120GXP - 7200-rpm - 80GB
Western Digital WD1200BB - 7200-rpm - 120GB
Western Digital WD1200JB - 7200-rpm - 120GB
IBM 120GXP - 7200-rpm - 120GB

1. Introduction
2. Noise Production
3. Heat Production
4. Harddisk Applications
5. Testing and Methodology
6. Test Results, HDtach
7. Test Results, PCmark2002
8. Test Results, Sandra 2002
9. Test Results, Noise Production
10. Test Results, Heat Production
11. Conclusion

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