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Hitachi Deskstar 500GB SATA/300 7200RPM 16MB HDD Print
Written by Brook Moore   
Monday, 14 April 2008
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Hitachi Deskstar 500GB SATA/300 7200RPM 16MB HDD
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articles.jpgHitachi Deskstar 500GB SATA/300 7200RPM 16MB HDD

Large storage at a good price point? We find out if this Hitachi can get the job done without breaking the bank.

While Terabit appear to be all the rage, the GB/$ champion is still the 500GB hard drive. Coming in at just under 5GB/$1 it is hard to beat. was nice enough to send us one of their most popular models, the ; with this being the goto hard drive, we here at VL thought we would take a look at what a cost efficient drive gets you.


Capacity 500GB
Speed (RPM) 7,200
Cache 16MB
Interface SATA-II (300)
Seek Time 8.5mS
MTBF 1,000,000
Warranty 5 Yrs

Both drives are fairly comparable, with Seagate being slightly faster and having a greater MTBF, impressively, they both come with a 5 Yr warranty.

The came about the DeskStar lineup with their and IBM's merger, with the history behind the DeskStar (I know, I had to bring up the old stuff) I am sure IBM was not to sad to let Hitachi run with it. Obviously those issues are long gone as Hitachi has gained a stellar reputation with their iteration of the DeskStar.

uses a unique read-head sensor, Iridium-Manganese-Chromium (IrMnCr) which, according to their Data Sheet, gives them a reported 2x sensitivity increase in precision allowing for increased performance and data integrity in harsh environments such as large Disk arrays (SAN's). Not something I personally worry about, but who knows :)

Hitachi claims a 16MB buffer, however, both their “Feature Tool” program and SiSoft showed this as a 15MB buffer, interesting...

I have to mention here that there is, in fact, a gotcha on this drive. While most manufacturers ship their SATA-300 drives with a jumper set to SATA-150, I found no such jumper on the Hitachi DeskStar. I thought nothing of this and started the testing; something however, was major league wrong. The Hitachi DeskStar was getting stomped in the tests, and little investigation showed that the drive was in fact running as SATA-150.

While perplexed as to what the deal was, I started searching through Hitachi's data sheets, web site and what not with no answer to my issue. A quick Google search resulted in a few hits of other people noticing the same issue. It turns out that Hitachi does in fact ship their drives with them set to SATA-150; what they don't tell you, either within documentation sent with the hard drive or easily searchable on their website, is that their drives are auto-sensing for SATA-300. If you do not have a SATA chipset that supports auto-sensing, then you must manually change it using a bootable PC-DOS disk or CD. If you have an Hitachi SATA-300 capable drive, it might be a good idea to check if it is actually running at SATA-300; you can download the disk or CD image .

Needless to say, this is about the saddest form of setting a drive speed I have ever seen, a simple jumper is sufficient!!!

Inside the box we find, well, we find a hard drive (and some silicone packs to keep the moisture low).

Interesting to note, in the pictures above is the inclusion of the Molex power connector, have to say I have not seen a drive shipped in the last year that has included both the SATA and Molex power connectors. It's nice to see though, as choice is always a good thing.

Test System: Asus P5K3 Deluxe, 2GB Patriot PC3-15000, Intel E4500 Core 2 Duo, Asus X1650xt, Windows Vista Home Premium:

Boot Drive - Samsung SP2504C (250GB, 8MB buffer, 7200 RPM) SATA-II Drive

Secondary Drive – Hitachi DeskStar E7K500

Tertiary Drive – Seagate 7200.10


Time for the testing phase, all tests are run 3 times and results are then averaged (unless otherwise noted). VL’s testing suite includes the following:

SiSoft Sandra 2007 - Our standard synthetic benchmark suite, updated to version XII SP1. While it doesn't provide real-world information, it does give us a base.

DVD Shrink 3.2 - We ripped the War of the Worlds bonus feature off the disk at 100% and compressed the file from the hard drive to 70%. DVD Shrink is a common application used to backup your own DVD's from DVD-9 to DVD-5 size. This is a heavy test on the CPU / Memory / HD communication. Times are in minutes:seconds, and lower is better.

TMPGEnc 4.0 - We used the same clip from our DVD Shrink test, we however converted the VOB into a DVD compliant MPEG-2 file with a bitrate of 5000. Times are in minutes:seconds, and lower is better.

CDeX - We ripped 3 full CD's to .wav files on our tested hard drive, then we used CDeX to encode them to high bit-rate MP3's. Times are in minutes:seconds, and lower is better.

File Copy - We copy 1,646 files at 5.81GB worth of data varying from 10k to 4.3GB to and from the hard drives, first while dormant then while Avast is scanning said hard drive. Times are in minutes:seconds, and lower is better.

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