WD Raptor vs 400GB Samsung - Speed vs Size

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Product(s): Samsung 400gb HD400LJ HDD
Provided By:
 Samsung Canada
Price: ~$160 CDN (Pricegrabber.ca)

Product(s): Western Digital 150gb Raptor WD1500ADFD HDD
Provided By:Memory Express
Price: ~$339.95 CDN (Memoryexpress.com)

Introduction:

Now your probably already wondering, why we are reviewing a 150gig Western Digital Raptor against the 400gig Samsung Drive? We realize they are not technically in the same class seeing as the Raptor is a 10k rpm drive, while the Samsung is a 7200 rpm drive, but we thought it would be an interesting comparision to see the diferences between the two.

Before we even start we know a couple things, the Samsung drive offers more space for a lower price (Lower Gigabytes per Dollar), and the Raptor is going to win in the speed category, but our goal is to find out how these drives compare to each other, and if your looking for a drive for your next hdd upgrade, which of these drives will suit your needs.

So lets get this review started

Test System Specs:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+
  • Asus A8V Deluxe
  • 2 x 120 gig Western Digital (8 MB Cache) in RAID 0 (Promise PDC20378 Raid Controller)
  • 2 x 250 gig Maxtor (16 MB Cache) in RAID 0 (VIA VT8237 Raid Controller)
  • 4 x 512 mb Kingston Memory
  • ATI Radeon x850 XT
  • Enermax 465 Watt PS

Please note that the Asus A8V board does not support SATAII.  The Samsung HD400LJ is SATA II so I had to use the jumper settings to cap them at SATA I specifications. The Raptor only supports SATA I.  Both these drives with the jumpers in place were detected immediately with no detection problems at all.

For all my benchmarks I have attached the drives on the VIA VT8237 SATA Controller

Samsung Initial Thoughts

Ok, after pulling this hdd out of the box it looks *surprise* like pretty much any other hdd on the market today. From the specs of this drive it looks pretty average, and it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against a faster drive like the WD Raptor.

Western Digital Raptor Initial Thoughts

After pulling this hdd out of the box it looked pretty much like every hard drive out there, its got some little groves on the side, but you'll pretty much never see them again once you get it into the case. This drive is EXACTLY the same as the Raptor X 150 Drive (which comes with a see-through top cover), the only difference is the price for the Raptor X 150 drive is $50 dollars more expensive than this drive, thanks to the fancy window on the top.


Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA W/NCQ and 16MB Cache Specifications

Physical Specifications
Formatted Capacity: 150,039 MB
Capacity: 150 GB
Interface: SATA 150 MB/s
Actuator Type: Rotary Voice Coil
Number of Heads (Physical): 4
Number of Platters: 2
Bytes Per Sector: 512
User Sectors Per Drive: 293,046,768
Servo Type: Embedded

Performance Specifications
Rotational Speed: 10,000 RPM (nominal)
Buffer Size: 16 MB
Average Latency: 2.99 ms (nominal)
Contact Start/Stop Cycles: 20,000 minimum

 

raptor2.jpg
raptor1.jpg



Seek Times
Read Seek Time: 4.6 ms
Write Seek Time: 5.2 ms (average)
Track-To-Track Seek Time: 0.4 ms (average)
Full Stroke Seek: 10.2 ms (average)

Transfer Rates
Buffer To Host (Serial ATA): 1.5 Gb/s (Max)
Buffer To Disk: 72 MB/s (Sustained)



Environmental Specifications
Shock
Operating Shock (Read): 65G, 2 ms
Non-operating Shock: 250G, 2 ms

Acoustics
Idle Mode: 39 dBA (average)
Seek Mode 0: 46 dBA (average)
Temperature (English)
Operating: 41° F to 131° F
Non-operating: -40° F to 149° F
Temperature (Metric)
Operating: 5° C to 55° C
Non-operating: -40° C to 65° C

Humidity
Operating: 5-95% RH non-condensing
Non-operating: 5-95% RH non-condensing

Altitude (English)
Operating: -1,000 feet to 10,000 feet
Non-operating: -1,000 feet to 40,000 feet
Altitude (Metric)
Operating: -305M to 3,050M
Non-operating: -305M to 12,200M

Vibration
Operating
Linear: 10-300 Hz, 3.0G (0 to peak)
Random: 10-300 Hz, 0.008 g² / Hz
Non-operating
Low Frequency: 10-300 Hz, 0.195 inches (double amplitude)
High Frequency: 300-500 Hz, 5.0G (0 to peak)

Physical Dimensions
Height: 26.1 mm (Max)
Length: 147 mm (Max)
Width: 101.6 mm
Weight: 0.822 kg (+/- .082 kg)

Warranty
5-year warranty


Samsung 400gb HD400LJ 8MB Cache Specifications

sam.jpg

Drive Configuration
Interface: Serial ATA II 3.0 Gbps
Buffer DRAM Size: 16 Mbytes
Bytes per Sector: 512

Performance Specifications
Read Seek Time (Typical)
Track to Track: 0.8 ms
Average: 8.9 ms
Full Stroke: 18 ms
Average Latency: 4.17 ms
Rotational Speed: 7,200 rpm
Data Transfer Rate
Media to/from Buffer (max.): 400/1000 Mbits/sec
Buffer to/from Host (max.): 100 MB/sec
Drive Ready Time (typical): 10 sec

Reliability Specification
Non-Recoverable Read Error: 1 sector in 1014 bits
MTBF: 600,000 POH
Start/Stop Cycles (Ambient): 50,000
Component Design Life: 5 years

Acoustics
Idle: 2.7 Bel
Randon Read/Write: 2.9 Bel

Power Requirements
Voltage: +5V±5%,+12V±10%
Spin up Current (max.): 0.8/2.0 A
Read/Write On-Track (typ.): 10.0 W
Seek (typ.): 10.5 W
Idle (typ.): 8.4 W
Standby (typ.): 1.3 (0.6 with DIPM) W
Sleep (typ.): 1.3 (0.6 with DIPM) W

Physical Dimensions
Height: 26.1 mm
Length: 147.0 mm
Depth 101.6 mm
Weight: 651 g

Warranty
3-year warranty


 

 

HD Tach 3.0.1.0

For this test I have tested both drive in our review against each other, but I also added in a Raid 0 array into the test for "informational" purposes. The RAID 0 array I tested both the drives against consists of 2 Maxtor 250gig drives (6V250F0) with a 16MB Cache.

As we can see from the summary of the tests, the RAID 0 array wins hands down for Average read and Burst speed, but the interesting thing is how close the Raptor drive was to it. Another thing to note is how close the Samsung drive was behind the Raptor drive.

I have also included all the detailed HD Tach benchmarks below.

hdtach.jpg
Random Access Time - Lower is Better
Average Read and Burst Rate Speeds - Higher is Better

 

This is the Read speed test for the Samsung drive.

samsung.jpg
Red: Samsung 400GB

 

This is the HD Tach read test for the Raptor drive.

raptor.jpg
Red: WD Raptor 150GB

 

This is Both the Samsung and WD Raptor drive against each other in the same graph.

vs.jpg
Red: WD Raptor 150GB
Blue: Samsung 400GB

 

These next two graphs are putting both the Samsung and the WD Raptor Drive against a RAID 0 array. I have just added these graphs for "Informational" purposes, and it is definately interesting to see the difference in performace between them.

raptorraid.jpg
Red: Maxtor 2 x 250GB RAID 0 Array
Blue: WD Raptor 150GB

 

samraid.jpg
Blue: Maxtor 2 x 250GB RAID 0 Array
Red: Samsung 400GB

 

 


File Copy Test Benchmarks:

For this test I created a 4.5GB WinRAR file on each drive. I then copied the file and created a copy of the 4.5GB file on the drive and recorded the times. As you can see in the summary there is about a 12% difference between the drives.

filecopy.jpg
File Copy Test: Lower is Better

 

SiSoftware Sandra 2007 Benchmarks:

For this test I didn't go too indepth, but just did a quick test on both drives. The results are pretty much the same as advertised, as you can see the WD Raptor drive's Full Stroke Access and Random Access tests is where it really shines.

sisoft.jpg
Drive Index - Higher is Better
Full Stroke Access and Random Access - Lower is Better


PCMark 2005 Benchmarks:

These real-world simulated tests really show the difference between these two drives. The WD Raptor drive really excels at these tests. I think these results show how a drive like this WD Raptor 150GB can really improve overall windows performance, however the Samsung drive put up decent numbers too, especially for a drive in the sub-$200 CDN dollar drive.

newmark.jpg
All Results are in MB/s

 

Battlefield 2 Benchmarks:

Doing "Real-World" gaming tests on a hard drive is a little tougher than something like a new video card or ram. Most of todays games do not access the hard drive much, so it has minimal effects on gameplay. However on a game like BF2, a faster hard drive will effect load times. As you can see between the two drives, the difference isn't very huge, however in all tests the WD Raptor did win in all 3 maps I tested.

bf2.jpg
All load times in seconds


Western Digital 150gb Raptor Final Thoughts:

This is a very nice drive, and without a doubt is a welcome addition to any system. The price on this drive is definately a drawback for most people, but for a single drive system such as a SFF pc, it's one of the best out there. If you have the money and can pick up two of these drives to put in a RAID 0 array, your going to have a very, very fast 300gb array which for most users is ample storage and will give your system quite a performance increase. This drive isn't really aimed at the value consumer, but for the high-end user, its definately a consideration when building that new pc, or doing a little bit of an upgrade. Its also noteworthy that Western Digital includes a 5-year warrenty with this drive, which is amazing since most other companies offer only 3.

If you were to ask any gamer for their dream system specs, 9 out of 10 would include a 10k Raptor drive, and these benchmarks show why.

 

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
10/10
Performance:
10/10
Software Pack:
n/a
Stability:
10/10
Features:
10/10
Value:
8/10
Total Score 9.6

 

Samsung 400gb HD400LJ Final Thoughts:

After playing with this drive for a couple weeks, I can't really think of anything negative to say about it. This drive is pretty much what I expected when I opened the box. It doesn't really blow other drives out of the water performance-wise or anything, it seems to rank pretty close with most 7200 RPM drives on the market today. I was impressed however, at how quiet this drive is, and overall I would definately slap this drive in my own personal system. In the end, this drive does everything well, and if your in the market for a large hdd, this one is worth considering. The only think I can think that would make this drive better is a bigger cache (16mb), which Samsung also offers on a different model of the same capacity (HD401LJ).

Looking back at all the benchmarks it was outperformed in all categories by the WD Raptor 150GB, however, in all reality these two drives are not technically in the same class. I was however impressed at how well it performed, and for ~$160.00 CDN this drive is a great deal, and is perfect for storing large amounts of data on. Its also worth noting that this drive is half of the price as the WD Raptor drive, so if your motherboard supports RAID, picking up two of these drives and slapping them into a RAID 0 array would make for a very nice array of 800gigs for about the same price as a single WD Raptor drive.

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
10/10
Performance:
9/10
Software Pack:
n/a
Stability:
10/10
Features:
9/10
Value:
9/10
Total Score 9.4

 

Final Conclusion:

After almost 3 weeks of testing these drives, the final scores I awarded were very close to each other. Both of these drives would be very welcome in my own personal system, and they both serve their purposes very well.

In the end the benchmarks showed the WD Raptor drive ahead in all categories. This really isn't surprising as its a 10k rpm drive, while the Samsung is 7200rpm, however the price also reflects that, as the WD Raptor drive is twice the price of the Samsung drive. The Samsung drive is also a great drive, and with 400gigs of storage, its a great addition to any system. At ~$160 CDN this drive is a very good deal, and for the budget conscious system its a great choice.

I'd like to thank Samsung Canada for allowing us to review the HD400LJ drive. Also I'd like to thank Memory Express for allowing us to review the WD Raptor Drive. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.