Hitachi DeskStar 7K3000 3TB

Madana Prathap 2011-06-02
85 Very Good
Price: Rs 11,500

Full Review

The Hitachi DeskStar 7K3000 internal hard disk drive is an entry into the rarefied space of drives that offer 3 Terabyte storage capacity. Other brands in this space include Seagate and Western Digital. Apart from the obvious storage space benefit and the high price, we look at how this HDD performs and help you find out if it is time you got yourself a 3TB drive.

Design and Specifications
This drive uses five platters and ten heads to achieve the 3TB mark. Though it weighed a bit heavier, it looks like any other internal desktop drive from Hitachi, all the way down to the color shade of the metal covering. It is a standard desktop HDD, with a 3.5-inch form factor and SATA 6Gbps interface. It spins at 7200 RPM and has a 64MB buffer.

Power usage claimed is 6.8W at idle. While in use under normal conditions, it was barely audible, just like any HDD. While testing and in heavy usage, the drive was less audible than the Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB. Heat was in plentiful supply considering it has a number of platters, but again it ran less hot than the Seagate 3TB drive.

The Hitachi DeskStar 7K3000 3TB (HDS723030ALA640) provides 2794.52 GB of usable space, after formatting. Hitachi only offers a three-year warranty on their product, whereas you'd get a five-year warranty on Seagate's 3TB drive. More details can be seen on this review's "Specifications" page or on Hitachi's product page for the drive.

As explained earlier, drives with capacity higher than 2.2TB need to be initialized in a different way (GPT mode), unless intermediary software or hardware solutions are used. With current motherboards supporting EFI boot, this is not an issue anymore.

We run synthetic benchmarks and real world tests using the fastest PC components at hand, to remove most bottlenecks that hold back performance. The test-bed consisted of an Intel Core i7 965 processor, Intel DX58SO motherboard, AMD Radeon 5970 graphics card, Intel X25-M 80GB SSD, WD VelociRaptor 300GB HDD, 12 GB of Silicon Power DDR3 RAM in triple channel, Tagan BZ-1300W PSU and Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit edition. We used the latest WHQL signed drivers available at the time of testing. A RAMdisk drive was used for real-world file transfer tests, and a SATA-III adaptor to operate this drive at full capability.

Real world file read/write speeds stood at 118.8 MB/s for a single large file (6.42 GB), but fell to 86.1 MB/s as expected, when copying multiple smaller files (1287 files totaling up to 2.33 GB). Transferring files from the first partition to a second on the same drive was at a speed of 43.4 MB/s. Read and write access times averaged 15.8 ms and 6.06 ms (milli-seconds) respectively. The drive racked up a HDD Score of 9460 in PC Mark 05.

On average, we measured a synthetic read speed of 147.3 MB/s, and write speed of 132.9 MB/s. The actual speed numbers and access times noted above, are both ahead of Seagate's 3TB HDD by a tiny margin, so this Hitachi drive is a good performer. The Buffered Read speed however, did not go any higher than 249.5 MB/s and did not utilize the bandwidth available on SATA 6Gb/s - so I'd say this is yet another HDD that takes the SATA 6Gb/s name in vain.

Since we ran the drive in GPT mode at test time, not all benchmarks were compatible with (or recognized) 2.2TB+ capacity. Screenshots shown below are some of the benchmarks. Note that performance recorded by different synthetic benchmark tools can sharply differ and is normal.

Read and Write, HD Tach RW. The burst speed (249.5 MB/s) is conspicuous in not even breaching the speed possible in the older SATA 3Gb/s interface.

Read and Write, Crystal DiskMark.

Read and Write graphs, from HD Tune Pro.

Read and Write scores, File Copy tests from AS SSD Benchmark.

Bottom Line

The storage industry is willing to serve your ever-expanding data storage needs. Need to store lots of data in a single drive, and need that drive to be fast as well? This Hitachi drive is a viable choice and comes out ahead of Seagate's Barracuda XT 3TB. It is just a bit faster, less noisy and runs slightly cooler, thus reducing perceived uncertainty of drive lifespan. The lower price makes one feel less uncomfortable in recommending a new top-end product.

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