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Nathan Edwards Jun 24, 2008

Samsung HD103UJ Terabyte Drive

At A Glance

Pete Tong

Highest areal density ever = Fastest terabyte drive ever.

So Long

Slower random-access times, but not so you'd notice.

Performance scores are one thing, but we’re equally impressed by Samsung’s technical accomplishment in achieving the highest areal density to date on its new series of Spinpoint F1 drives. And at the top of the heap sits the HD103UJ, the company’s long-awaited drive that reaches an areal density of an astonishing 334GB per platter.

That’s right. The HD103UJ sports a three-platter array, much to the likely embarrassment of its competitors in the high-capacity storage arena. Hitachi’s first-to-the-market 7K1000 drive has five platters, while terabyte offerings from Western Digital and Seagate split the difference at four. What’s the benefit of this increased areal density? In a word: speed.

Samsung’s drive destroys all other terabyte models in many of the mission-critical benchmarks we run, including tests for average reads, writes, and real-world performance. HD Tach’s synthetic tests show the drive achieving read speeds of nearly 100MB/s, with write speeds swimming along at 84.4MB/s. On the real-world side, Hitachi’s Deskstar 7K1000 cruised to victory in three of our five PCMark05 tests: an XP startup simulation, application loading, and general use, but the HD103UJ’s excellent write capabilities—it’s 14MB/s faster than the Deskstar, as reported by HD Tach—helped it overtake the Deskstar by almost 300 points on the overall score.

The HD103UJ produced the slowest random access times of the three compared drives, but the effects of this and the drive’s slower burst speeds were never apparent during our real-world tests. Hands-down, this is the fastest terabyte drive we have tested.

Benchmarks
  Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000
Seagate 7200.11
Samsung HD103UJ
HD Tach Burst (MB/s)
205.8
195.5 204.5
HD Tach Rdm Access (ms) 12.8 12.6 13.7
HD Tach Avg Read (MB/s)
72.7 91.4
96.8
HD Tach Avg Write (MB/s)
70.1 79.7 84.4
PCMark05 Overall
7,764 7,323 8,014
Best scores are bolded. All benchmarks taken using HD Tach 3.0.1.0
THE VERDICT

Samsung HD103UJ Terabyte Drive

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