Samsung F1 750GB & 1TB Drives: Fast... and Silent?

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June 10, 2008 by Mike Chin

Samsung F1_3D (Model HD753LJ)
750GB 7,200 RPM Desktop Hard Drive

Samsung F1_3D (Model HD103UJ)
1000GB 7,200 RPM Desktop Hard Drive
Sample Supplier
Market Price
US$110~160 and US$170~299

Samsung, along with Western Digital, has been the leader for quiet hard drives in recent years, so a new line from this brand is always greeted with some anticipation at SPCR. The F1 series hard drives have been available (at least in Canada and the US) for a few months. The newest of the company's 7200 rpm desktop hard drives, the F1 series boasts an industry-leading 334GB maximum capacity per platter, which promises very high performance. This was 33% higher areal density than its closest competitors when the line was first released. Now, WD has nearly caught up with a couple of new models in their SE16 Caviar line that offer 320GB per platter.

Many capacities are offered in the F1 line: 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB, 640GB, 750GB and a terabyte. It seem unlikely that 334GB platters are used in all models. As flagship drives, the 750GB and 1000GB models offer 32mb cache, compared to 16mb or 8mb for the smaller capacity drives. Both are said to be 3-platter drives, perhaps with the 750GB utilizing just a portion of one platter, although there's some question whether the 750GB models have three 250GB platters.

Despite repeated requests for samples of the new models, Samsung is no longer making samples available to reviewers in North America. Samsung Canada has not provided any HDD samples for about a year. Our F1 samples came by courtesy of Anitec Computers, a Vancouver Canada retailer and sponsor of SPCR. The 750GB came first, a couple of months ago, and then we waited for the terabyte model to include it in the same review. The latter has been in high demand, with short supply. One amazing thing about waiting: The price dropped dramatically over these few months, and even the terabyte model is now being sold by Anitec for just $175!

Samsung F1- 750GB/32mb cache model — New and improved?

The terabyte model looks identical except for the label.

Samsung F1 series hard drives
(from Samsung's product overview)
Max. 334GB Formatted Capacity per Disk Higher areal density means faster performance, all other things being equal. This is the highest for now, but this sector is constantly changing.
Improved recording stability over temperature with PMR Interesting claim for Perpendicular Magnetic Recording technology, which is quickly becoming standard.
Advanced dynamic Flying-On-Demand (FOD) control for best data integrity Here's what FOD is said to be: control technology ensures enhanced read/write sensitivity by dynamically lowering the fly-height in read or write mode while maintaining a consistent and higher fly-height across the disk in standard mode.
Intelligent compensation of external disturbance Hmmm... Like letting the answer machine get the phone when you're having dinner??
SATA Native Command Queuing Feature Fairly common these days, and not that useful for desktop PCs.
Staggerd Spin-up Support Nice for multiple HDD setups.
Improved performance with dual-ARM based firmware ??
Automatic Acoustic Management Feature, NoiseGuard™, SilentSeek™ Obviously, the proof of noise reduction features is in the listening and acoustic measurements in our review.

Early performance-oriented reviews of the 1000GB Samsung F1 gave it very high marks, with transfer rates surpassing every other desktop drive, including the famed 10,000 RPM Raptor drives from WD. (See review at The Tech Report) The question remains whether the 750GB model uses three 250GB platters (which means performance would be as good as most of the competition but not up to that of the 1,000GB F1) or three 334GB platters with portions disabled. Without direct access to technical people at Samsung, this is not an easy issue to settle. The only definitive way we know of is to compare the throughput of the 750GB and 1,000GB models. If the two drives measure the same (or very close) then it's safe to say they have the same areal density. If the 750GB drive is slower, then it would be using 250GB platters. This is why we waited for the 1TB model, to compare the performance of the two.


The specifications below are specific to models that we examined. Capacity, cache size, platter number, interface, and performance can vary from model to model. Don't assume they're the same in a given line. Acoustics and power dissipation also vary depending on the number of platters in the drive; smaller capacity drives tend to have fewer platters, and tend to produce less noise and use less power.

Specifications: Samsung F1 750 GB & 1000 GB hard drives
(from Samsung's product overview)
Disks / Heads
3 / 6
3 / 6
Interface SATA 3Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s
Spindle Rotation Speed
7,200 RPM
7,200 RPM
Data Transfer: Media to/from Buffer (Max) 175 MB/sec 175 MB/sec
Data Transfer: Buffer to/from Host (Max) 300 MB/sec 300 MB/sec
Average Seek
8.9 ms
8.9 ms
Average Latency
4.17 ms
4.17 ms
640 g
640 g
Power Requirements: Idle / Seek (avg.)
7.7 / 8.6 W
7.7 / 8.6 W
Acoustics: Idle / Seek
2.7 / 2.9 bels
2.7 / 2.9 bels

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