The Samsung Spinpoint F4EG 2TB (model HD204UI) enters the arena of 'Green' hard disks. Besides the Samsung F4 EcoGreen, other 'Green' disks in the market include Western Digital's Caviar Green series and Seagate's Barracuda Green series of hard drives. We test the hard disk and check whether it lives up to its 'Green' credentials.
Under heavy use, this hard disk barely felt warm to the touch.
Design and Specifications
The Samsung F4EG 2TB is a standard desktop HDD with a 3.5-inch form factor. The hard drive features the standard SATA power and data connectors.
It comes with 32MB of buffer size and a standard SATA 3Gb/s interface. The F4EG spins at 5400 RPM and offers 1863 GB of usable space after formatting. As per its specifications, this HDD's power usage 5.1W at idle, and an average of 6.3W during operation. Samsung offers a three-year warranty for this product. More details can be seen on this review's "Specifications" page or on Samsung's product page for the drive.
Under normal usage conditions, it was almost inaudible, like most normal hard drives. Even during heavy usage, the drive was relatively less audible compared to other drives. However the vibration felt while in operation could have been lower, given that Samsung positions this disk in the 'green' disk segment, and that drives in such a segment are a good candidate for HTPC use.
The F4EG 2TB has three platters and six heads, with each platter having a density of 667 GB. This is one platter less than its predecessor, the Samsung F3EG 2TB, as also most other 2TB disks in the market, whether positioned as 'Green' or regular, that generally have 4 platters.
We ran 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, 12 GB of Silicon Power DDR3 RAM in triple channel, Tagan BZ-1300W PSU and Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit edition. A RAMdisk drive was used for real-world file transfer tests.
While running synthetic tests, we measured a read speed average of 108.4 MB/s, and write speed average of 98.1 MB/s. Read and write access times averaged 15.75 ms and 11.9 ms (milliseconds) respectively. The drive notched up a HDD Score of 6855 in PC Mark 05.
Real world file write speeds stood at 147.7 MB/s for a single large file (6.83 GB), but fell to 26.7 MB/s when writing multiple smaller files (86,688 files totalling up to 3.25 GB). The speed seen while transferring the smaller files was expected as we used small files for a fairly intensive test. Real world read speeds were recorded at 103.2 MB/s for large files, and at 61.3MB/s for copying multiple smaller files.
Transferring a single big file (6.83 GB) from the first partition to a second on the same drive was done at 51.6 MB/s. Meanwhile, transferring multiple small files from the first partition to the second one was done at 15.54 MB/s. A positive to take from this test, was that under heavy use, the hard disk barely felt warm to the touch.
These performance numbers are slightly lower than the 7200 RPM drives. This is as expected for a hard disk positioned in the 'green' segment, spinning at 5400rpm.
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, Crystal DiskMark.
File Copy Test from AS SSD.
Read and Write Graphs from HD Tune Pro.
The HD Tune Pro write graph above shows the "dots" spread across the vertical area, instead of being bunched together in the way the dots are on the HD Tune graph for read speed. This means access time varied drastically during testing, which is a bit unusual. It may not significantly affect user experience while using the HDD, still, it is worth noting.
Read and Write, HD Tach RW Comparison Graph.
The above HD Tach RW graph is a comparison between the Samsung F4EG and the Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB hard drives. As can be seen from the graph, the average read speed values of both the drives are similar. But comparing the write speed average of the drives, the F4EG (91.1 MB/s) performs better than the Seagate Green drive (73.4 MB/s).
The Samsung F4EG hard drive is a useful advance in storage density. Although, the fact that the F4EG can store 2TB across three platters, doesn't really translate to a significant advantage for this drive over other 2TB 'green' hard disks that achieve the same with four platters. However, replacing multiple smaller drives with a single high capacity drive is still advantageous in many ways.
The power consumption statistics of the F4EG were not too different from other hard disks in the market, which is not entirely flattering of Samsung positioning this hard disk in the 'green' segment. The improvement in noise reduction and reduced heat dissipation, coupled with the drive performing to expected standards, are just about enough for us to recommend this drive. The final verdict? It's 'green' enough.
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