Samsung EcoGreen F4 & Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB Hard Drives

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DRIVE COMPARISON TABLE

Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
5,400 ~ 5,900 RPM DESKTOP DRIVES
Samsung EcoGreen F2 500GB HD502HI
February 2009
firmware 1AG01114
8
Idle
12
3.2 W
Seek (AAM)
15
5.3 W
Seek
16
6.1 W
Seagate Pipeline HD .2 1TB ST31000424CS
April 2009
firmware SC13
7
Idle
12
4.3 W
Seek
16
7.3 W
WD Caviar Green 1.5TB WD15EADS
November 2009
firmware 01.00A01
9
Idle
13
4.5 W (2.8 W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
14
5.8 W
Seek
Seagate Pipeline HD .2 500GB ST3500414CS
March 2009
firmware SC13
8
Idle
13
2.7 W
Seek
14
6.7 W
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADS
February 2009
firmware 01.00A01
7
Idle
13
6.4 W (4.0W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
6.5 W
Seek
13~14
6.5 W
Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB HD204UI
August 2010
firmware 1AQ10001
7
Idle
13
4.0 W
Seek
15
5.6 W
Seagate Pipeline HD 500GB ST3500321CS
July 2008
firmware SC14
6
Idle
14
4.1 W
Seek
15
6.9 W
Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB ST32000542AS
June 2009
firmware CC32
6
Idle
14
4.7W
Seek
17
7.9W
Samsung EcoGreen F3 2TB HD203WI
May 2010
firmware 1AN10003
7
Idle
15~16
4.7 W
Seek (AAM)
17~18
6.1W
Seek
18~19
6.9 W
7,200 RPM DESKTOP DRIVES
Seagate Pipeline HD Pro 1TB ST31000533CS
September 2008
firmware SC15
4
Idle
15
7.1 W
Seek
16
10.1 W
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB ST32000651AS
May 2010
firmware CC13
7~8
Idle
17
7.0 W
Seek
18~19
7.9 W
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB ST31500341AS
October 2008
firmware SD17
4
Idle
17
8.8 W
Seek
19
10.7 W
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB ST3500418AS
September 2009
firmware CC37
8
Idle [muffled]
18
[16]
4.7 W
Seek [muffled]
19~20
[18]
7.9W
WD Caviar Black 1TB WD1001FALS
July 2008
firmware 05.00K05
4
Idle
21
8.5 W
Seek (AAM)
10.9 W
Seek
25
11.0 W
10,000 RPM DESKTOP DRIVES
WD VelociRaptor 300GB WD3000GLFS
May 2008
firmware 03.03V01
8
(w/o frame)
Idle
15
8.2 W
Seek (AAM)
20
12.2 W
Seek
22
12.2 W

AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recordings start with 5 to 10 seconds of ambient noise, then 10 second segments of the drive in the following states: idle, seek with AAM enabled (if applicable), and seek with AAM disabled.

Comparatives:

CONCLUSIONS

Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB

The newest EcoGreen is a huge improvement noise-wise over the disappointing F3. Measuring only 13 dBA and 15 dBA at one meter when idle and seeking, respectively, the acoustics of the 2TB F4 at last brings EcoGreen parity with Caviar Green. When it comes to power consumption, the 2TB F4 is actually superior to the 2TB Green, using almost 1W less when seeking, and it idles using the same amount of energy as the WD with its heads parked. (It should be noted however that the 2TB WD Green we are comparing it to is an older 4-platter model. Newer WD GP revisions have been shipping recently with three 667GB platters, which probably brings power down. We'll be checking on this soon.)

From a performance standpoint, like most "green" models, the F4 is relatively slow compared to 7200 RPM drives. Boot and loading times are a step behind, and when copying small files it can only beat 2.5" variants. Copying large files is the one area in which it excels, its one saving grace. We wouldn't employ it as a boot drive to hold an operating system and applications for daily use, but it is almost perfect for media storage. Retailing for between US$100 and US$110, it is also extremely affordable.

Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB

The latest member of the iconic Seagate Barracuda family is not a very quiet drive, but its acoustic character is adequate in quality. It will be clearly audible in most systems, but it sounds quite soft and isn't irritating except when seeking. Its overall noise level is about the same as the Barracuda 7200.11/7200.12, but Seagate did make huge strives in bringing down the level of vibration. In this regard, it is comparable to 5400 RPM models from Samsung and WD — this can make a huge difference in real world acoustics, especially in cases with mechanically poor drive cages and/or if multiple drives are present. Power consumption has also been reduced significantly.

Of course the main advantage of a 7200 RPM drive is speed, and the XT definitely has that. It performed very well in our test suite, beaten only by a SSD in application and file copy performance, and coming in third behind a SSD and Seagate's hybrid Momentus XT in boot and loading times. However, it wasn't that much faster than a 1TB Barracuda 7200.11, so its US$200 price-tag seems inflated, perhaps due to its SATA 6Gbps controller. Unless you require high capacity for applications and games, you would probably be better off with a budget SSD coupled with a large 5400 RPM HDD; such a combination can be purchased for a comparable amount.

Many thanks to Seagate and Samsung respectively for the EcoGreen F4 2TB and Barracuda XT 2TB samples.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Seagate Momentus XT: The Best of Both Worlds?
Samsung 2TB EcoGreen F3 Hard Drive
Western Digital Green 1.5TB vs. Seagate 7200.12 500GB
More 500GB notebook drives: Seagate 7200.4 & Hitachi 5K500.B
5900rpm Seagate Hard Drives: Barracuda LP, Pipeline HD .2
Samsung F2 EcoGreen HD502HI: Silent 500GB 3.5" HDD

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