With all the commotion surrounding solid-state drives (SSDs) nowadays, you’d be forgiven for thinking that good, old magnetic hard drives are all but dead.
Think again. Hitachi has released two hard disks with the unprecedented capacity of 4TB. The boffins at Hardware.Info tested them extensively, and concluded that they aren’t half bad at all.
If you’re looking for storage and your main concern is capacity rather than speed, HDDs are still the storage medium of choice.
They still offer a much better price per GB, and, more importantly, much more storage capacity than SSDs.
SSDs usually max out at 512GB, whereas HDDs offer up to 4TB now that Hitachi introduced the 5K4000 and the 7K4000, the former rotating at 5400rpm, and the latter at 7200rpm.
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When you need the storage for things like music, films, or back-ups, which don’t really have much use for the speed of an SSD, you’re much better off with an HDD. When it comes to configuring a new PC, a combination of SSD (as the primary drive, for the OS and applications) and HDD (for storage) is ideal.
The lab guys at Hardware.Info consider the new drives by Hitachi an evolution, but not necessarily a revolution.
IT’s a very welcome evolution, mind you, as the high data density makes the 7K4000 the fastest 7,200rpm drive they've ever tested, while the 5,400rpm 5K4000 almost achieves 7,200rpm-like performance.
The good news is that this performance and huge storage capacity do not come at a high price. They don't cost more than typical 2+ TB drives if you look at the price per GB.
The noise production is acceptable, even though it could have been lower. The idle power usage could have been lower as well, especially considering the high probability that disks like these will end up in a Home Server or NAS.
With respect to the use of these new HDDs in older NAS devices or older PCs, you should check first whether they are compatible. 3TB and 4TB disks don’t use MBR anymore, but have GPT partitions, which are not compatible with older hardware.