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Brian

Samsung Spinpoint F4 Review

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The Spinpoint F4 features a single 320GB capacity model, but that's 320GB on a single drive platter. That platter spins at 7200 RPM and feeds 16MB of drive cache. By using a single platter and a single drive head, the SpinPoint F4 benefits from both a greater platter density and a reduced number of moving parts. While it's hard to define a category that the F4 fits neatly into, there is something to be said for a blend of low-cost and performance.

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I find it interesting that they achieved to run a 640 GB platter at 7.2k rpm without 4k sectors. Using 4k they could almost reach 750 GB storage density (assuming a similar situation as recently with 2.5" 5.4k rpm drives). The density is borderline from being too dense, though, if I interpret the high maximum random access latency correctly.

Unfortunately, in every [iOMeter] discipline the Spinpoint F4 is at the back of the class. Single platter be damned, the implementation of Native Command Queueing starts slower than the rest and ends slower than the rest.

I wouldn't neccessarily attribute this to the implementation of NCQ, but rather to the worse mechanical base, i.e. average random access time. NCQ can only reorder so much - it doesn't help if the read/write head needs too long to actually get the work done.

Otherwise I agree: it's a very nice drive and certainly better than the usual bargain drives used in almost every office PC.

MrS

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MrSpadge' date='02 October 2010 - 06:44 AM' timestamp='1286016265' post='264500']

Otherwise I agree: it's a very nice drive and certainly better than the usual bargain drives used in almost every office PC.

MrS

Yeah, we struggled with this one some in the office, trying to figure out exactly the market it addresses, since we don't see a lot of single capacity 320GB drives rolling through ;) The F4 is the definition of moderate home users though, and in that role, it does just fine. Hard to argue with $40.

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Thanks for the review. This drive is pretty interesting and I am curious if it is really spinning a 640GB platter. Can you also give us some details about the exact WD models used in the comparison? There are several types of 500GB Caviar Blacks. As far as I know only the WD5001AALS-00E3A0 has a single 500GB platter, and older models have two smaller platters inside.

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Does anyone know if:

1) This model experiences the same silent write failures of its 1.5TB and 2TB cousins, the HD204UI HD155UI, if so, is Samsung releasing a firmware update for it like it did with the latter drives?

2) Is this drive RAID friendly? (TLER/CCTL command support). And for that matter, are the 1.5TB and 2TB versions RAID friendly?

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