Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB Review

Written by Harry Butler

October 6, 2009 | 09:16

Tags: #f #f3 #hard-disk #performance #review #spinpoint #tested

Companies: #samsung

Results Analysis

There’s only one way to say it – the Samsung Spinpoint F3 is the fastest hard disk drive we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing here at bit-tech, having ripped through our benchmarks like a butchers knife through wet loo roll.

Theoretical performance in HD-Tach is a sign of things to come, with a superb burst speed of 258.9MB/sec, Average read speed of 124.8MB/sec and average write speed of a titanic 96.7MB/sec! All three of these are bit-tech records for a hard disc drive, and perhaps most excitingly, are only the average performance across the drive; when accessing data stored towards the outside edge of the drive platters speeds are much higher, with write speeds peaking at over 120MB/s!

These awesome theoretical speeds translate directly into both our MP3 and ISO file patterns in FC-Test. With the MP3 test in particular the F3 is an absolute monster, writing the 1GB file pattern in less than 11 seconds, copying on the drive in an incredible 5.49 seconds and reading the file in an awesome 4 seconds flat!

Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB Review Results Analysis and Final Thoughts

ISO performance isn’t as impressive, presumably as the drive’s onboard 32MB cache is less able to get in on the 500MB ISO files as it is the smaller MP3 files, but the F3 still beats every other hard disk out there with blistering write, copy and read times, with a write time of just 16.5 seconds particularly awesome. Make no mistake, when dealing with sequential files the F3 is an absolute monster.

We’ve included IOMeter once more as its part of our standard suite of benchmarks and somewhat oddly considering its superb sequential speeds, the F3 has improved little over the F1 in this department. Random read speeds and latencies are almost identical to the F1 in every regard and random write speeds are actually a little down, while write latencies are actually up. Of course, IOmeter is a purely synthetic benchmark and the differences in everyday use will be utterly unnoticeable, but it’s still worth noting.

Finally we take a look at the F3’s real world performance and predictably it’s equally excellent as it’s theoretical and sequential showing. Booting Vista in just 54 seconds matches the performance of the similarly endowed (500GB platters, 7,200RPM) Western Digital 2TB Black, while Crysis level load times are also notably improved, with the F3 shaving two seconds off the F1’s time and again matching the 2TB Caviar Black.

However, it’s not a perfect showing from the F3. Under heavy load (such as our IOmeter random write test) the drive was clearly audible over the sizeable background hum of our labs, much more so than the 5,400RPM Samsung F2 we reviewed earlier this week. However, when idle or under general use the F3 is fairly quiet and very tolerable. While it’s certainly not what we’d call silent it is for the most part as un-intrusive as its predecessor and we'd argue quieter than the Western Digital for the most part.

Cost per GB

£/GB

  • Samsung EcoGreen F2 1.5TB
  • Samsung SpinPoint F1 1TB
  • Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
  • Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB
  • Seagate 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11
  • Seagate 1TB 7200.12
  • Western Digital 2TB Caviar Black
  • Seagate 250GB 7200.10
  • Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB
  • Corsair P256 256GB SSD
  • OCZ Vertex 120GB v1.3
    • 0.05
    • 0.05
    • 0.06
    • 0.06
    • 0.06
    • 0.07
    • 0.11
    • 0.12
    • 0.54
    • 2.05
    • 2.25
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
£/GB (less is better)
  • £/GB

Value and Final Thoughts

Once again Samsung has produced a simply superb hard disk drive, delivering fantastic sequential and real world performance and, to the undoubted chagrin of the completion, has done so for a bargain price. At just £54.95 the F3 is simply fantastic value and despite proving itself the fastest 1TB+ drive on the market is still £10 cheaper than Seagate’s competing 1TB 7200.12 and £15 cheaper than the Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black. 6p/GB and industry leading performance - you just can’t argue with that.

Samsung has produced a simply stunning drive in the form of the Spinpoint F3 – of that there can be no doubt. The dual platter 7,200RPM design has been optimised in a way that Samsung’s engineers should be commended for giving the F3 such a significant performance advantage over the competition, despite all three major manufacturers shipping drives that, on paper, are so similar.

The only reason the Samsung gets an eight for performance is because SSDs are still faster consumer products. While the market is different for performance storage versus performance mass storage, for those who can afford it we still recommend SSDs such as those from Crucial and OCZ for applications like boot drives.

In short the F3 is an awesome hard disk drive, and while an SSD will still give you a bigger boost in performance and response times, the F3 is very much the next best thing and at a fraction of the £/GB. Get One.

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  • Value
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Score Guide

Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB Review Results Analysis and Final Thoughts

Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB


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