Deskstar 7K250 (2x80GB RAID 0) Hard Drive Review
Hitachi GST has been producing hard drives since January, 2003 (Hitachi and IBM's storage businesses came together more than a year ago and Hitachi GST is the result of that). In addition to offering the Hitachi Deskstar line of Hard Drives, Hitachi GST also offers a wide variety of hard drives for the 1", 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" market segments. Today we will be reviewing Hitachi’s 7K250 line of Deskstar hard drives but with a small twist. This review will combine two 80GB versions of the SATA type hard drive into a RAID 0 performance system.
The 7K250 line of hard drives come in either SATA or IDE interfaces. Hitachi kindly supplied us with two Hitachi (HDS722580VLSA80) 7K250 SATA hard drives. The 7K250 we are reviewing today is based on SATA technology and spins along at 7200RPM with 8MB of cache for faster performance. One of the nice claims is that this drive has an average seek time of 8.5ms.
SATA is the newest hard drive interface that has several benefits, including a cable using a tubular design smaller than the ribbon EIDE cables. This promotes better airflow through the computer, always a consideration for modders. In theory, SATA utilizes fewer CPU cycles, making for greater efficiency. In any case, SATA is generally acknowledged as able to move information faster than EIDE-based systems. All new motherboards have SATA.
The Hitachi Deskstar 7K250s arrived in two boxes. Each drive was inside its own box full of Styrofoam fittings customized to hold the hard drive. The hard drives come in anti-static bags. Along with the hard drive, Hitachi supplied a SATA cable and a 4-pin to SATA power connector.
The hard drive looks physically pretty much the same as any other hard drive. The rear of the drive has the SATA connector and two options for power. You can use the SATA power connector or, if your power supply does not have any connectors, you can use a 4-pin MOLEX connector. This gives you best of both worlds. However, you probably won’t need to use the MOLEX connection because Hitachi supplies the 4-pin to SATA connector in the package, enabling you to connect through the SATA connector.
The bottom of the hard drive is where you see some of the internal workings. First off, you see the Marvell chip that converts the drive’s Parallel IDE signals into SATA signals for your motherboard, which means it is not a native SATA drive but a bridged solution. Other chips visible are those from IBM and Infineon.
Let’s get on to testing!
Testing consisted of running both Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 80GB drives in RAID 0 in our AMD Athlon 64 test system via the VIA VT8237 chipset present on the MSI K8T-Neo FIS2R.
Above: Random Access Time: 13.8ms, Read Burst Speed: 132.3MB/s
For the HD Tach benchmark, please note the real CPU Utilization is around 10 percent-ish. The 22.8% you see is not a real number because I had some programs running in the background. Around 10% of CPU Utilization is still a tad high but that is because the motherboard's SATA connections are software based.
Quick Bench is a good benchmark tool for the hard drive because it is a utility to get the average sequential read/write speeds as well as the average CPU load. Here we see the Hitachi's gain a Sequential read speed of 83.37 MB/s and a Sequential write speed of 73.96 MB/s. Please note that no two systems are the same and you may get better results than me or not.
I have had the 2x80GB RAID 0 Hitachi Deskstar 7K250’s for several months and have found that they are very reliable drives. The drives run quiet and are warm. While writing and reading, they generally produce sounds and sound levels typical for hard drives, though I discovered one exception. The 7K250 is very quiet when shutting down the computer. My old IDE Maxtor would make a thump sound when shutting off, but the Hitachi's only whine down.
Overall the Hitachi Deskstar 7K250’s are really nice performers and so far are very reliable drives. And “RAID 0” really sounds cool on a performance system. With that, the 2x80GB Hitachi Deskstar 7K250’s will power our AMD Athlon 64 system from now on. I have no hesitation in recommending them.
Pros and Cons
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