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Faceoff at One Terabyte: Seagate's ES.2 and WD's GreenPower


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#1 Eugene

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 02:42 PM

Leveraging a unique five-platter design, Hitachi Global Storage managed to bring the formidable Deskstar 7K1000 to the market well before competing designs. For several months now, Hitachi's beast has combined the best capacity and performance one could get on the SATA interface. Now, however, competitors Seagate and Western Digital have commenced shipment of their first terabyte units... and each manufacturer's take is a bit different from that of Hitachi's.

The Review

#2 AmenophisIII

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 09:21 PM

thanks eugene!

would be very nice to have (more) details about ncq/non ncq performance of the seagate drive (because it was discussed in the forums lately, that those are responsible for the nice multiuser performance of the 7200.11/es2 drives http://forums.storag...howtopic=26006)

... and of course id like to see a samsung f1 review soon :)

Edited by AmenophisIII, 30 September 2007 - 09:23 PM.

AmenophisIII

#3 continuum

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 01:08 AM

A Samsung F1 review would require the drive actually existing in channels. :P

#4 Guest_888_*

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 08:16 AM

Now it is a really interesting review offering surprises in every sub-test comparison graph...

Looks like today's HDD production and marketing is starting to move into new (in fact old but already almost forgotten) directions - every manufacturer has found its own special way with their 1TB drives:
* Hitachi = for performance fans (home gaming, processing and benchmarking users);
* Seagate = for server needs (high-load enterprise users);
* WD = for ergonomy "quiet&cool" lovers (home multimedia and consumer electronics users, but also for low-load storage).
* Samsung = for budget lovers... hehe thanks to Samsung we have so nice HDD prices today!

But the thing I like most with the review here... That's personally I'm very happy to see 5400rpm 3.5" drives come-back! But not those ancient ball-bearing and power-hungry 5400rpm 3.5" ones we remember from some years ago - instead of we can get now the latest technology and best firmwares in conjunction with 5400rpm! And really I love those results for WD10EACS - very impressive cool and quiet "big" drive! And also this low rpm probably makes the drive more reliable too - it must be just so! You know today we have a lot of home and semi-professional storage solutions around (local file sharing, multimedia sharing servers, external drives, etc.) - all these really do not need to be top-speedy, instead of just cool running and quiet running are more essential factors. So, these 5400rpm WD drives are just ideal for pretty wide use today... and not at home only I think - also some professional storages very need such economical low-rpm drives - backup and other low-duty storage solutions containing hundreds or thousands of drives - there this energy-economy makes really sense. And there's no need to run these drives 7200rpm or higher... Khmm, do you remember we discussed about that 3.5" 5400rpm drive marketing on SR forums here just some months ago, too!

Anyway, it's surprising to see even with this low-rpm (and so having noticeably lower STR and longer seek time) the 1TB WD drive still outperforms the new 7200rpm 1TB Seagate in most of real life tests here! That's the real magic of drive's firmware! Of course I understand Seagate has put efforts on multi-user performance now but... what the hell did the Seagate's firmware engineers thought when constructing the previous 750GB top-capacity drive. As we can look at the comparison graphs in the review here this drive is mostly the bottom one in all kind of tests not giving any advantages for home user neither for server user!

However one another thing I can't understand is why the real results in startup power consumption are so inverted - the fastest drive (Hitachi) has very intelligent really low start-up current and at the same time WD's GreenPower isn't no more anything "Green" in this particular performance having one of the highest power use! Anyway, it was already well known fact that Seagate drives are traditionally the most power-hungry ones at start-up but now the new 1TB Seagate makes another surprise in it being just less hungry!

And we can find more another interesting observations in the very good review here... Thanks Eugene!

#5 Olaf van der Spek

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 09:14 AM

Does WD have any plans to release a normal-performance 1 tbyte drive? Cool & Quiet is nice, but I don't think everyone likes to trade in performance like this.

Edited by Olaf van der Spek, 01 October 2007 - 09:15 AM.

#6 Guest_888_*

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 09:52 AM

Does WD have any plans to release a normal-performance 1 tbyte drive? Cool & Quiet is nice, but I don't think everyone likes to trade in performance like this.

Hitachi fills this marketing segment already in best possible way. I think it's hardly probable that proposed WD's 1TB performance drive can be any better than the current 1TB Hitachi is (although there are some probabilities because of 250 vs 200 platters used).

Anyway here's the results of one small local questionary about what home computer people prefer primarily to get from HDDs. Don't take it very seriously (it wasn't very high-populated questionary) but still some clear tendencies are noticeable:

33% Reliability & Stability
32% Quiet & Low vibrations
19% Speed & Performance
6% Longer warranty & Lower price
2% Cool-running
8% No preferences or subjective decisions

Surprisingly high percentage is preferring just low-noise operations. At the same time cool-running is less a concern for most. It may be a bit controversial but probably because of there was only one answer (primary preference) possible to choose from...

#7 Mickey

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 11:40 AM

Does WD have any plans to release a normal-performance 1 tbyte drive? Cool & Quiet is nice, but I don't think everyone likes to trade in performance like this.

That does bring up an interesting point. With this review, we're seeing the various HDD makers attacking different targets. Will we see each of them try to fill all the various niches at the same time so there is full competition in all markets? Or will they focus on particular areas?

#8 DigitalFreak

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 01:49 PM

Good review. However, I don't think any valid comparisons can be made between the WD GP and the Seagate ES.2 architectures until a 7200.11 1TB drive gets reviewed. It's pretty obvious that the ES.2 is not meant for desktop usage.

#9 continuum

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 02:00 PM

Good review. However, I don't think any valid comparisons can be made between the WD GP and the Seagate ES.2 architectures until a 7200.11 1TB drive gets reviewed. It's pretty obvious that the ES.2 is not meant for desktop usage.

that may be true, but there's also the recent history to consider-- even desktop-marketed Seagate drives have performed pretty poorly vs. their desktop-marketed counterparts. You do raise a valid point, tho.

Does WD have any plans to release a normal-performance 1 tbyte drive? Cool & Quiet is nice, but I don't think everyone likes to trade in performance like this.

I'm wondering this myself As for 200GB vs. 250GB platters, the WD GP 1TB is definitely a 4x250GB drive-- WD doesn't have any current production 5-platter designs and doesn't seem likely to change.

#10 StoX

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 05:03 PM

Awesome review. Top marks!

Now, I only want a similar one including the Samsung SpinPoint F1 1000GB 32MB SATA II (HD103UJ).

Thanks!

#11 rustybx

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 05:39 PM

My RAID array had two 7k500 failures (out of five drives) in the past two years. Both were replaced under warranty but the experience has led me to value reliability higher than performance. With the longer waranty and lower ERR I think I'm going for the ES.2.

#12 Telstar The Sorcerer

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 09:15 PM

Good review. However, I don't think any valid comparisons can be made between the WD GP and the Seagate ES.2 architectures until a 7200.11 1TB drive gets reviewed. It's pretty obvious that the ES.2 is not meant for desktop usage.


Exactly my thoughts. The 7200.11 should have a firmware optimized for desktop use instead of multiuser applications.

Please add review it soon :)

BTW, the SR application suite should be definitely updated with newer program versions. Nobody still uses photoshop 7 ;)

For me the GP made the day for the HTPC i'm building.

My RAID array had two 7k500 failures (out of five drives) in the past two years. Both were replaced under warranty but the experience has led me to value reliability higher than performance. With the longer waranty and lower ERR I think I'm going for the ES.2.


The MTBF doesn't mean anything in the real world. But the 5y warranty is great, expecially considering the excellent Seagate policy (i.e. direct return from anywhere in the world).
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#13 yehuda

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:44 AM

Does WD have any plans to release a normal-performance 1 tbyte drive? Cool & Quiet is nice, but I don't think everyone likes to trade in performance like this.


I wonder if they could release a firmware tuning utility for the GP drive that would allow the user to switch between 5400rpm and 7200rpm operation modes.

#14 Guest_888_*

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 07:54 AM

The 7200.11 should have a firmware optimized for desktop use instead of multiuser applications.

That would be nice if it would be so... but... remember that 7200.8 vs NL35.1 had almost similar poor single-user performance, so were also 7200.9 vs NL35.2 and 7200.10 vs ES.1

I wonder if they could release a firmware tuning utility for the GP drive that would allow the user to switch between 5400rpm and 7200rpm operation modes.

It's technically almost impossible. It needs changing of heads (sliders) too. Yes there are some methods for changing slider's angle but... don't know...

Edited by 888, 02 October 2007 - 07:56 AM.

#15 Loomy

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 09:55 AM

Does WD have any plans to release a normal-performance 1 tbyte drive? Cool & Quiet is nice, but I don't think everyone likes to trade in performance like this.


No, they will never release another type of hard drive... :blink: ;)

The GP page says that they are putting GP tech into all their drives. This drive is supposed to be a SE16, no? So it is safe to assume that eventually, say when the sequel to the RE2 comes along, its version of IntelliPower will be 7200rpm and tweaked for performance!

#16 whiic

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 10:04 AM

DigitalFreak: "I don't think any valid comparisons can be made between the WD GP and the Seagate ES.2 architectures until a 7200.11 1TB drive gets reviewed. It's pretty obvious that the ES.2 is not meant for desktop usage."

Telstar: "Exactly my thoughts. The 7200.11 should have a firmware optimized for desktop use instead of multiuser applications."

You have the right to remain optimistic but I have bad feeling that at best, 7200.11 would just suck slightly less. It'd still suck. But miracles do happen...

Telstar: "But the 5y warranty is great"

Matter of opinion. HDD will be obsolete by the end of 5 year warranty. Some people would consider it obsolete even at 3 years. And even if it was not obsolete, that now-so-expensive 1000-gigger will be dirt cheap between 3 and 5 years (which is what extended warranty applies to).

Telstar: "expecially considering the excellent Seagate policy (i.e. direct return from anywhere in the world)."

Some people like, some people don't. In some countries retailers take care of warranty replacements (by forwarding it to importer who forwards it to manufacturer). I don't think I know a single Finnish person who has actually him/herself shipped a HDD abroad to another country to be replaced by manufacturer. But I don't know that many people and I don't present such a question to random bystanders.

Sure, I think it's possible to ship a HDD from Finland to whatever country, properly packed at consumers cost and probably receive a replacement (return shipping payed by manufacturer) but if you can have free shipping to both directions, then...

Of course things don't work like this in every country.

Why can't we ever talk about Seagates without fixating on warranty that has very little value after 3rd year? Is it really that there has been nothing else positive about Seagates lately?

Olaf: "Does WD have any plans to release a normal-performance 1 tbyte drive? Cool & Quiet is nice, but I don't think everyone likes to trade in performance like this."

I seriously hope not... at least not using the same model code, like they usually do when they reduce number of platters. Someone in SPCR thread got a sample of WD10EACS which run hotter than Samsung HD501LJs and vibrate only slightly less. Considering that Samsungs tend to vibrate most of all brands, this is real bad and would probably mean 7200rpm spindle speed.

Quoting user Firetech from SPCR: "I've got one WD10EACS sitting here in my storage box with three 501LJ's and all seems well.
Transfer rates are higher with the WD but burst speed and access time is marginally slower.
Noise wise it's not too bad (I'd even say there's slightly more vibration from the Samsungs) but 4 drives running in a small Dell server does create bit of resonance....
The WD does run a fair bit hotter than the Samsungs but that's a trait I noticed with my Seagate perpendicular HDD too and can also be partially blamed on position in the case"


Noticeable vibration, faster STR, noticeably warmer... all support my suspicion that some "WD10EACS" should indeed be called "WD10AAKS". Sure, it may be a bad sample or a proto, but bad samples don't typically perform better.
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7 TB of storage: 1x 1TB 1st gen GP, 1x 1TB 2nd gen GP, 1x 2TB 3rd gen GP, 1x 7200rpm F1, 2x 5400rpm F2 EcoGreen

#17 Mickey

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:07 AM

I wonder if they could release a firmware tuning utility for the GP drive that would allow the user to switch between 5400rpm and 7200rpm operation modes.

It's technically almost impossible. It needs changing of heads (sliders) too. Yes there are some methods for changing slider's angle but... don't know...

I could maybe see someone doing this for a couple preset speeds, since the motor and heads both need to be tuned for a specific spin speed. However, they will not be optimized for both speeds; it's usually an either/or, so it comes down to whether the design compromises are acceptable, with decreased reliability the biggest risk. The clock speed of the drive would also be problematic; I don't know if there's a way to write two clock speeds or the drive would have to be smart enough to interpolate two speeds based on one set of clock tracks.

It'd be an interesting science project, though. :)

#18 Guest_888_*

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:32 AM

...some "WD10EACS" should indeed be called "WD10AAKS"...

WD10EAKS then..

E is an abbreviation for 000 (replacing just one thousand in WD's previous/current capacity indication which is presented by 100MB steps, moving it to 100GB steps now and in future for drives equal 1TB or larger). So, 10E stands for 10000A

#19 continuum

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 11:52 AM

Now if Samsung will hurry up...

#20 Telstar The Sorcerer

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 01:26 PM

Matter of opinion. HDD will be obsolete by the end of 5 year warranty. Some people would consider it obsolete even at 3 years. And even if it was not obsolete, that now-so-expensive 1000-gigger will be dirt cheap between 3 and 5 years (which is what extended warranty applies to).

Telstar: "expecially considering the excellent Seagate policy (i.e. direct return from anywhere in the world)."

Some people like, some people don't. In some countries retailers take care of warranty replacements (by forwarding it to importer who forwards it to manufacturer). I don't think I know a single Finnish person who has actually him/herself shipped a HDD abroad to another country to be replaced by manufacturer. But I don't know that many people and I don't present such a question to random bystanders.

Sure, I think it's possible to ship a HDD from Finland to whatever country, properly packed at consumers cost and probably receive a replacement (return shipping payed by manufacturer) but if you can have free shipping to both directions, then...

Of course things don't work like this in every country.

Why can't we ever talk about Seagates without fixating on warranty that has very little value after 3rd year? Is it really that there has been nothing else positive about Seagates lately?


It is.
When my cheetah got poof after 4 years and half of service without any warning sign!
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#21 Loomy

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 10:27 PM

With all the confusion surrounding the GreenPower features, I was glad to see SR straighten things out. Thank the press for clarifying everything for us.... or wait a second:

The main feature in WD's GreenPower portfolio is the dynamic adjustment of the drive's spindle speed. It can run at speeds between 5,400 RPM and 7,200 RPM to save energy whenever high performance isn't needed.

http://www.tomshardw...r_gp/page8.html


Whoops? Another classic review from toms hardware!!

#22 Guest_888_*

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 09:09 AM

With all the confusion surrounding the GreenPower features, I was glad to see SR straighten things out. Thank the press for clarifying everything for us.... or wait a second:

The main feature in WD's GreenPower portfolio is the dynamic adjustment of the drive's spindle speed. It can run at speeds between 5,400 RPM and 7,200 RPM to save energy whenever high performance isn't needed.

http://www.tomshardw...r_gp/page8.html
Whoops? Another classic review from toms hardware!!

Yeah... But fortunately this time they got generally similar-trending test results like here in SR review. Sad they did not say anything about noise though.

BTW, one interesting side-remark found from their text:

Seagate's first 7200.11 sample had to be sent back because of faulty firmware

whatever this may mean...

#23 Interlink

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 07:42 AM

It is easy to measure the spindle speed of a HDD.
I mounted a headset microphone on top of my WD10EACS's case and evaluated the FFT spectrum with AudioAnalyzer.

The maximum at 90Hz represents the spindle speed (5400rpm).
The second FFT spectrum was recorded on top of a HD501LJ. Max at 120Hz.
90Hz * 60rpm/Hz = 5400rpm
120Hz * 60rpm/Hz = 7200rpm

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Edited by Interlink, 25 October 2007 - 07:45 AM.

#24 StoX

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 12:28 PM

It is easy to measure the spindle speed of a HDD.
I mounted a headset microphone on top of my WD10EACS's case and evaluated the FFT spectrum with AudioAnalyzer.

The maximum at 90Hz represents the spindle speed (5400rpm).
The second FFT spectrum was recorded on top of a HD501LJ. Max at 120Hz.
90Hz * 60rpm/Hz = 5400rpm
120Hz * 60rpm/Hz = 7200rpm


Conclusion? The 1TB Western Digital is 5400 rpm sometimes? All the time? WD says that the drive changes between 5400 and 7200 rpm depending on the load. That is the essence of GreenPower technology, they say. I am lost. Thanks.

Edited by StoX, 25 October 2007 - 12:30 PM.

#25 Interlink

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 01:43 PM

It's at 5400rpm all the time. A spinup / spindown between 5400rpm and 7200rpm would be audible and become noticeable "at work".
The samples were taken with w2k + AudioAnalyzer running from the WD10EACS, which should be enough to keep the HDD at full speed ahead.
Those who want to know it all are invited to take a longer audio sample.

BTW: The amount of rotational energy to spin up from 5400rpm to 7200rpm ist about 80 percent of the amount to spin up from 0rpm to 5400rpm.
(7200^2 - 5400^2) / 5400^2 = 0,778

IMO a HDD spinning up between 5400rpm and 7200rpm would become inaccessible for some seconds.



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