Samsung Spinpoint T Series: Successor to a Quiet Legacy

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Despite the long, detailed feature list, the only new features are the larger platter size and the poorly explained "bowl architecture". The rest are a summary of the standard features that make up most any hard drive.

The 133 GB platters are new only to Samsung's drives; this platter size is already widely in use, and several manufacturers are already using 160 GB platters in their largest drives. All T Series drives have three platters (apparently, "T" stands for "triple"), which means that the smaller capacity drives probably use lower capacity platters. Transfer rates probably scale with capacity; the 400 GB model is most likely the fastest of the bunch.

The bowl architecture is a bit of a mystery. A recent press release offers this explanation of the technology, but no other information could be found on Samsung's web site:

"Even looking just at the outer shape of the product the T133-Series moved from the traditional platter-type design to the bowl type design to improve shock & vibrational performance."

This confusing statement suggests a few things:

  • One, the technology is new to the T Series.
  • Two, it should be visible in the outer shape of the drive — the exterior is different from the P120 Series, but nothing about the drive's shape suggests a bowl.
  • Three, the technology is an alternative to a "platter-type" design — but that kind of change should not be visible externally.
  • Four, and most importantly, the design is intended to improve shock and vibration resistance.

Ultimately, if it's good for shock and vibration, it should be good for reliability, as a large proportion of hard drive failures can be traced to rough handling. Unfortunately, this does not show up in the reliability specifications, which rate the T Series identically to the P120 series. Reliability specifications are notoriously <ahem> unreliable, so it's unlikely that this means much. As usual, it is only the large OEMs and resellers that will have any idea what the failure rate is likely to be. The rest of us will have to trust that Samsung's engineers really have made an improvement here.

We see no signs of Samsung's "Bowl Architecture".

Nothing too special on this side.

The external appearance of the T Series is different from Samsung's past drives. The odd contours along the side edges have been filled in, and the drive is now fully rectangular. The distinctive shape remains only in a raised bump on the top panel of the drive.

The odd indentations in the sides have been filled in, giving the drive a less rounded profile. New on the left, old on the right.

The body is clearly different, but the circuit board is almost unchanged.

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