The Bottom Line
Jun 17 2011 - Performance is typically one of the areas that suffers most for green classed hard drives. Hitachi's Deskstar 5K3000 seems to buck this trend by offering better performance than the competition in terms or reading and writing data to the drive. The downside is that it isn't as cool or quiet as the competition. It is still a good choice for those looking to add some extra storage space to a desktop for a great price for the 2TB model. Be warned that since it is a variable speed drive, it is also not suitable for use in RAID arrays.
- Large Storage Capacity
- Good Price Per Gigabyte
- Better Performance From A Green Class Drive
- Not Suited For RAID Usage
- Runs Warmer And Louder Than Some Other 2TB Green Drives
- 2TB (1.8TB Formatted) Storage Capacity
- 2.5-inch Internal Desktop Form Factor
- Variable Spin Rate
- 32MB Cache
- SATA III 6.0Gbps Interface
- 4.4W Read/Write Power Consumption
- Three Year Warranty
Guide Review - Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 2TB SATA Hard Drive
Jun 17 2011 - Hitachi's Deskstar lineup is one of the more confusing to try and navigate. For example, the 5K3000 series is actually their green series lineup that is designed for lower power consumption compared to their 7K3000 series which is focused on performance. It features drives in the 1.5TB, 2TB and 3TB sizes. The most cost effective of these three is the 2TB model which offers a very nice per per gigabyte thanks to $80 street pricing for OEM drives.
In order to achieve the lower power consumption with the improved heat and acoustics, the drive users a variable spin rate technology. Hitachi's version is called CoolSpin. While most desktop drives spin at 7200rpm, the Hitachi drive spins at a more sedate 5900rpm. When the drive isn't in heavy use, the rate will be lower and if it is being used frequently, it will ramp up to offer better performance. One of the big downside to using this style of drive is that it can't be used in a RAID setup as the drives need consistent speeds to offer the best overall performance and reliability.
Many higher capacity drives have opted to move to larger 64MB caches in order to improve their performance. Hitachi has decided to stick with the more traditional 32MB of cache but instead implements a SATA III or 6.0Gpbs drive interface. Now, mechanical based hard drives are still not quite up to the performance of the SATA III interface as they rarely can top a SATA II interface even in short bursts. Even in testing, burst speeds only achieved a maximum of 250MB/s which is below the 375MB/s limit of SATA II.
Performance from the drive in testing was actually quite surprising even with its power saving functions. While it can burst up to 250MB/s as mentioned above, the sustained averages where at 106MB/s. This is a good 8MB/s faster than the Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB I recently reviewed. This is still slower than what can be found in traditional 7200rpm drives but it is better than most green drives. The downside is that access times were a bit slower at roughly 2 to 3ms slower than the Western Digital. In addition to this, the drive did run a bit warmer and louder than the Western Digital drive. It still is better than any performance desktop drive but might not be the best choice for those looking at extremely quite computing.
Overall, the Hitachi Desktar 5K3000 is best suited as a secondary drive for data or backup purposes. While the performance is good, it will be slower if it is used as the primary or operating system drive. The large capacity also helps it as a data drive as it provides plenty of space for large digital media files. It may be useful for those looking at extremely quiet computing as it is more silent than standard desktop drives but still isn't quite as cool or quiet as the competition.