Despite all our focus on SSDs and performance storage, you can’t beat a nice big hard disk drive on which store your collection of recorded TV, MP3s and demotivationals (NSFW). In fact, while we love to get excited about the benefits of the latest tech (and SSDs do carry many), we realise that there are still advantages for the humble hard disk.
Cost per gigabyte is one area where hard disk drives look to have a safe lead for a long while to come, and for those looking for the sweet spot of price, capacity and performance there are plenty of options from all three of the big hard disk drive manufacturers. Today we’re looking at Samsung and it’s EcoGreen F2 1.5TB hard disk, a higher capacity follow up to the ever popular Spinpoint F1.
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However, those who think the F2 is simply a larger version of the F1 are sadly mistaken. The drive carries the ominous “EcoGreen,” sub-title in a similar way to how Western Digital branded it’s ponderous 2TB Caviar Green,. Despite sharing a casing and similar branding to the speedy F1, this is an entirely different drive.
The major differences lie in the platter array and spindle motor speed. While the F2 keeps the triple-platter design of the F1, the platter size has been upped to a huge 500GB instead of the 334GB platters of the F1 – an impressive 50 per cent improvement in areal density. However, the spindle speed has dropped from the F1’s 7,200rpm to a much slower 5,200rpm, a change identical to that made by Western Digital for its first 500GB platter drives.
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As we saw with the 2TB Caviar Green though, the extra platter density wasn’t enough to counteract the drop in spindle speed, leaving that particular drive a long way behind competing 1TB+ hard disks when it came to performance. Unless Samsung has done something special, we fear the same may be the case with the F2 as while it shares the same 32MB cache as the F1, this will unlikely be enough to make up for the slower spindle speed.
We do appreciate that disks such as this aren't designed for lightning-fast strorage, but rather as a quiet data-bank. However, we still don't want to wait for ages when searching our large library of HD movies and RAW photos - we want quietness and speed, or at least a decent balance of the two.
This isn’t the first 1.5TB hard disk drive we’ve looked at. Way back in January we reviewed the Seagate 1.5TB 7200.11, a drive that used four 375GB platters rather than the F2's three 500GB platters to reach the 1.5TB capacity only with a faster spindle speed of 7200rpm. At the time, this drive sold for over £100, but has since dropped in price significantly to around £85, roughly £10 more than the F2, which retails for around the £73. Does the £10 saving mean compromising on performance with the F2? Let’s fire up the benchmarks and find out.