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Samsung Spinpoint M8 Review Discussion


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#1 Kevin OBrien

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 01:11 PM

The 1TB Samsung Spinpoint M8 offers a mainstream 9.5mm drive height with two 500GB platters, bringing high capacity notebook storage to the masses. Previously if you wanted a 1TB internal hard drive, the only option was to buy a bulky notebook that supported the larger 12.5mm drive sizes. With the Spinpoint M8, just about any machine can now have a beefy storage system ready to warehouse digital assets.

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#2 Brian

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:19 PM

For those interested, we're also benchmarking the WD Scorpio Blue 1TB in 9.5mm right now and hope to have that review up in the next week. The Samsung M8 does run about $20 cheaper though it looks like.

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#3 fallbreak

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 09:53 PM

For those interested, we're also benchmarking the WD Scorpio Blue 1TB in 9.5mm right now and hope to have that review up in the next week. The Samsung M8 does run about $20 cheaper though it looks like.


Nice. I have 3 of those Scorpios on hand right now. Made July 13th, 2011. I don't think I ever had such fresh drives in use ;-)
Is your sample a "B5N" (round label, bottom side) Example. Those seem to use more power.

#4 danwat1234

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 01:39 AM

Don't know who would buy the WD 1tb when the Samsung is $20 cheaper and a great performer.

#5 fallbreak

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:24 AM

Don't know who would buy the WD 1tb when the Samsung is $20 cheaper and a great performer.

It's for benchmarking. Don't worry - it's not paid out of my pocket ;-)

#6 Brian

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 05:44 PM

That is a good point though, Samsung is definitely kicking butt when it comes to price.

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#7 danwat1234

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:07 PM

Both the Samsung M8 and the WD 2-platter 1TB have been removed from Newegg, can't find it!
Good news is that m8 is here(http://bensbargains.net/deal/204983/) for $80 if you use coupon code "ICECREAM"

#8 code65536

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 09:07 AM

I'm a bit confused about the M8's sector size. SR's review (as well as every single review on the web) says that Samsung is using Advanced Format with these M8 drives. Additionally, Samsung's press release about the M8 prominently touted the use of AFT (which I suspect is where all the reviews got the info about AFT?). But...

1) There is no mention of Advanced Format on any of the M8 pages on Samsung's website.

2) There is no indication of Advanced Format on the drive sticker. (I've never met an AF drive that didn't plainly identify itself as such on the label, but maybe the M8 is bucking that convention?)

3) Acronis 2011 (which advertises itself to be AF-aware) apparently does not think that the M8 is AF because when I used it to clone my old drive to the M8, it created all three partitions with non-4K alignment.

So the available evidence would seem to suggest that the M8 is NOT Advanced Format. But, of course, that contradicts with Samsung's PR. So either Samsung's marketing/PR people made a mistake or I need to find another way to clone this drive...

Does anyone here have contacts with Samsung with whom they can get some clarification about this?

Edited by code65536, 13 August 2011 - 10:51 AM.

#9 TSullivan

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 10:45 PM

I will be back in the office Monday morning. I am almost certain the M8 reported 512/4k in the Intel RST control panel, which would indicate Advanced Format.

#10 oskarom

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 09:24 AM

Hi,

Well written and very informative review, thanks!

There is though one thing I found missing, noise levels, I realy need to find out how loud this drive is.

I'm especially interested in comparision between M8 500GB vs. M8 1TB models, single platter vs. dual platter.

I need a secondary drive in my laptop and I don't want to completely ruin my newly found silent world with SSD's :)


Regards
Oskar

#11 jtsn

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:44 AM

Is this drive affected by the load cycle problem?

Once I had the predecessor SpinPoint M7, which parked its heads every five seconds or so. It accumulated about 10'000 load cycles within a few days. Changing the APM setting had no effect on this model, so it was returned and replaced by Hitachi.

Does anybody know if Samsung fixed this on the SpinPoint M8?

#12 Brian

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 06:15 AM

We didn't see anything like that in our testing. Do you know if there's a specific way to trigger the issue or did it just exist or not on certain drives?

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#13 jtsn

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:31 PM

We didn't see anything like that in our testing. Do you know if there's a specific way to trigger the issue

Install the drive into a MacBook or install Linux on it. It occurs also with Windows in some scenarios, but I don't have a specific one. The green desktop drives from WD are also well known for this problem, they can be fixed by using WDIDLE3.EXE.

or did it just exist or not on certain drives?

It's a firmware issue. Most 2,5 inch drives on the market with automatic head parking suffer more or less from this problem, depending on how smart the firmware is. Obviously some vendors only test the Windows default install.

Most drives can be fixed either by tuning the APM settings of the drive or by using specific vendor tools. The M7 had none of these options and destroyed itself within weeks. Question is: Is the M8 different in this respect? Is it perhaps smart enough to detect such I/O patterns and keep its heads loaded?

#14 zzonbi

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 04:09 PM

M8 load/unload...

What is the life expectancy of the M8 HDD series?
About the 750GB model (another 2 platter), could it be reprogrammed to see the whole 1GB?

#15 Brian

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:45 AM

Unfortunately our M8 is undergoing long term stress testing in a NAS unit. We'll pull the data off though and see what's up.

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#16 danwat1234

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 08:32 PM

M8 load/unload...

What is the life expectancy of the M8 HDD series?
About the 750GB model (another 2 platter), could it be reprogrammed to see the whole 1GB?

I would assume the life expectancy is fine ... the way I see it, I never assume a drive will last that long, it's the warranty that protects me financially from hard drive failures and I make regular backups of my data so there's no loss there.

I don't think they'd make it that easy to access the remaining 250GB on the platter. First, you don't know if the magnetic stuff is on the platters for the remaining 250GB and second, it seems like the firmware running on the computer in the hard drive would have to be aware of the model # of drive that it is running on, and will act accordingly. Meaning, the 750GB version of the drive might not have a different firmware version than the 1TB version.

#17 zzonbi

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 07:00 PM

An opinion is better than no answer. Do you guys feel laptop hdds last less than desktop hdds (physically larger hdds)?

I couldn't find any mtbf/mttf/afr listed for m8, but they're specified for "600000 controlled ramp load/unload", which could mean only 2 years :-(

Compared to m7, the linear shock values dropped to 325g and 750g, from 400 and 900 (operating and non-operating), yet the media to host MB/s is barely higher...

#18 Brian

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 08:18 AM

Longevity of desktop vs laptop drives is probably pretty similar, though I'd hypothesize that desktop drives will always have the edge due to their sedentary lifestyle. The desktop drives have a performance benefit too, which is why you'll rarely see a 2.5" hard drive in a desktop.

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#19 jtsn

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 10:20 AM

I couldn't find any mtbf/mttf/afr listed for m8, but they're specified for "600000 controlled ramp load/unload", which could mean only 2 years :-(

Well, my M7 load-cycled about every five seconds or so and reached this limit within two months, not two years. The replacement Hitachi HTS545050B9A300 behaves fine, after setting the APM value to 254:

  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       115
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0012   068   068   000    Old_age   Always       -       14224
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       111
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       533

#20 zzonbi

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 09:33 PM

2 months, that's criminal... From newegg feedback the m7 seems among the most reliable 2.5 hdds, ahead of the Hitachi (many seem to break between 1 and 2 years only)

Then which is the most reliable 320-500MB platter 2.5 hdd? Is it M8, or maybe Hitachi Z5K500 with the ramp load turned off (if others don't allow this)?

#21 jtsn

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 04:15 AM

Longevity of desktop vs laptop drives is probably pretty similar, though I'd hypothesize that desktop drives will always have the edge due to their sedentary lifestyle. The desktop drives have a performance benefit too, which is why you'll rarely see a 2.5" hard drive in a desktop.

Depends on what 2,5" drive you select. With 10000+ rpm and low densities you get decent performance. :)

#22 zzonbi

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 07:28 PM

Faster performance requires physically smaller platters.
Whatever performance is decimated if you need to return it after 2 months. Not even worth considering, really... I hope it was only OS behaviour, seeing some HDTune health reports, this isn't always the case.
It seems there are 2 variants of M8 750, with different transfer rates. One is denoted 750MBB/Z4 (4 heads?).

Edited by zzonbi, 14 October 2011 - 07:41 PM.

#23 reliabilityman

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:03 AM

What is the life expectancy of the M8 HDD series?


About 6 weeks. ;-)

#24 reliabilityman

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:16 AM

I bought the Samsung M8 1 TB in August 2011, installed it in a macbook pro. After a few weeks I noticed that things were freezing for a few seconds, videos would stop and then continue, I was using disk utility to repair the file and folder count which was off by 1. It would fix this and give the all clear but the problems got worse and worse. eventually the SMART status read "failing". I copied off most of my data which took about 3 days to do as some files just would not read so I had to manually burrow down into folders and copy everything else. Certain files would copy very slow so I think parts of the drive had bad blocks which took ages to read - I dont know much about this, just guessing. Im not sure if it was failing from the start and just ran out of spare blocks to copy data from bad blocks to?

The drive lasted about 6 weeks

I had a look on newegg to see what people were saying about this drive and I was shocked to see how many bad reviews there were.

I sent the drive back to the online store for a refund. I deleted files off the drive and emptied the trash in the mac OS but I couldnt get any software that would allow me to format the drive and write zeros to it before sending it back.

Ive done a lot of reading about hard drives in the last few weeks and I might put an OWC ssd Mercury 6G into the laptop. Im currently looking for user reviews of the drive(not pro reviews where owc sent the drive to the reviewer)

It really is shocking to read the amount of failures and DOA cases of end users of drives in general on Newegg.

Have hard drive manufacturers dropped their QA and testing standards on drives before they leave the factory??

#25 Brian

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 09:23 AM

It's hard to tell if it's just the drive batch, bad shipping policies or something else. NE users, like most, are more apt to complain than compliment too, so keep that in mind.

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