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Reviewed by: Norman Tan [04.19.05]
Manufactured by: Hitachi, Maxtor, Seagate, Western Digital

NOTE: If you are curious about SATA-II, 3 Gb/s, and what that means for performance in various RAID configurations, please see our new article!


Windows XP Boot-up

To test these, we broke out the trusty old stopwatch. The time was measured from when the logo first appeared to when the mouse sopped showing the hourglass in Windows.






The Hitachi again proves to be a solid performer while the Seagate lags behind the rest.

Doom 3 Level Load Time

A fresh copy of Doom 3 was installed on each drive and a new game was created. The stop watch stopped when the player appeared on the screen and could move around.

The top three drives are neck and neck, but the Seagate yet again lags behind.

Well, that was certainly interesting wasn't it? Though the Seagate did extremely well in HDTach in terms of raw transfer speed, its high seek time really hurt it when it came to real world tests. In the tests that really mattered such as boot times, game loading times and the ability to handle loads, the Seagate was consistently slower than the others in this round-up. Having said that, it was also the largest drive in the round-up and as a storage drive, the Seagate would have made a lot of sense. Out of the large drives, it also had the longest warranty which is a plus.  

As for what you want your OS on, it really comes down to, would you rather have more space or more speed? The Hitachi really came out strong and did well enough to distance it from the rest of the 7200 rpm drives in this round-up. Given that it is priced similarily to the Raptor, it comes down to a choice between a large drive with good performance or a small drive with screaming performance.

Finally, we have the Maxtor. It wasn't particularily outstanding, but it wasn't completely bad either. If the Seagate is the fat porky kid who can't make it around the lap without huffing and puffing, then the Maxtor is the average kid who isn't the fastest, but is very consistent. In light of the performance of the Hitachi though, it makes it hard to recommend the Maxtor.

If you're wondering why the Seagate earned such a high score, well while performance wasn't the best, the 5 year warranty easily takes precedence. And even if it was one of the slower drives, it still performs well within the margin expected, especially considering the price.

  • Raptor: Insanely fast performance
  • Seagate, Raptor: Awesome 5 year warranties
  • Hitachi: Solid performance
  • Seagate: Awesome price per GB

  • Hitachi, Maxtor: Only 3 year warranty
  • Seagate: Slow seek times, slowest performance of the bunch
  • Raptor: Cost per GB considerably higher