Hitachi 7K400 400GB Hard Drive

Storage
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July 8, 2005 by Devon Cooke

Product
Hitachi Deskstar 7K400 HDS724040KLSA80: 400GB, 7200 RPM Hard drive
Manufacturer
Hitachi Global Storage Technology
Market Price
US$250

Hard drive technology has stabilized over the past couple of years, with gains in performance and storage coming incrementally rather than exponentially. As a result, Hitachi's 400GB Deskstar, released over a year ago, still provides more storage than most of its competitor's maximum capacity drives. Seagate's recently introduced 3-platter Barracuda 7200.8 is the only other 400GB drive, and even this is bettered by Hitachi's top-of-the-line 500GB model.

In part, Hitachi's advantage is a result of its willingness or ability to make a drive with five platters; the areal density of 80GB/disc in the 7K400 is actually lower than that of many of its competitors, which has gone up to as high as 133GB/disc. However, given the inability or unwillingness of other manufacturers to produce drives with as many platters, Hitachi is still one of only two choices for drives of this capacity.

The key question for SPCR, of course, is whether the additional capacity can be had without paying an acoustic price. The five platter design of the 7K400 does not bode well for the acoustic properties of the drive, although only a thorough test will tell for sure. A key point of comparison will be how this drive performs compared to the lower capacity 7K250 that we reviewed not long ago.

OVERVIEW

Unlike some of the other drive samples we've received, the 7K400 showed up in a large retail box. The box was extremely large, almost the size of a shoebox, and had no markings to identify the model other than the generic Deskstar name and logo. Presumably, some kind of sticker is used to identify the drive when used in a retail setting.


Hitachi shipped us the sample in a large retail box.

The reason for the size of the box is protection: The drive is positioned in the center of the box surrounded by almost two inches of free space on all sides. Two large plastic "ends" are used to ensure that the drive stays in position away from the walls of the box. Short of shipping the drive wrapped in a wool duvet, this is probably as good as shock-resistant packing gets.


The drive is well protected by an anti-static bag and large shock resistant "ends".

HITACHI GLOBAL STORAGE TECHNOLOGY 7K400 (from Hitachi's web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
400 GB of capacity with either Serial or Parallel ATA interface
This drive is all about capacity.
Rotational Vibration Safeguard
Designed to compensate for seek time lost to drive vibration.
ATA-7 Streaming Feature Set
An alternate transfer mode that trades accuracy for performance in time-critical applications such as video streaming.
Robust mechanical enhancements
This vague description actually covers several features, which will be described later.
Latching SATA connector Improves the security of the standard SATA connector.

SPECIFICATIONS

The specifications given are specific to models that we examined. The 400GB model is the only capacity available in the 7K400 line, although PATA and SATA variations are available. This makes it quite easy to interpret the specifications: There are no models of with a different number of platters or heads to confuse the acoustic or power ratings.

HDD Model
Hitachi 7K400 HDS724040KLSA80
Capacity
400 GB
Cache
8 MB
Platters
5
Rotation Speed
7,200 RPM
Form Factor
3.5"
Interface
SATA
Average Seek
8.5 ms
Start/Stop cycles (at 40°C)
50,000
Operating Temperature
5 - 55°C
Power Consumption
9.6W (Idle)
Acoustics
3.1 Bels (Idle)



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