Hard drives able to hold 3 TB of data need to be considered carefully because they might not always work as expected. This round-up of four high-capacity disks compares products from Hitachi, Seagate, and Western Digital, then covers their caveats.
The latest 3.5” hard drives offer up to 3 TB of storage capacity. Western Digital was first with its Caviar Green WD30EZRS, and now Hitachi and Seagate have added competing products to their portfolios.
In this comparison, we put the Western Digital drive up against its 3 TB competitors: two drive from Hitachi (the Deskstar 5K3000 HDS5C3030ALA630 and Deskstar 7K3000 HDS723030ALA640), as well as Seagate's Barracuda XT ST33000651AS.
Sure, the 3 TB labels on the hard drives look impressive, but you have to exercise caution on many computers, which are incapable of recognizing and utilizing the drives properly. Making them run as intended often requires particular platform choices and a suitable operating system. And you can forget about using them as boot drives if you're not using a UEFI-equipped motherboard.
Despite those configuration-related hurdles (which we're going to have to collectively overcome at some point anyway if we want to see even larger disks), 3 TB drives still represent a very important pillar in storage environments, either at home or in enterprises. SSDs are superior in many ways, but they're definitely not in the position to displace conventional hard drives when it comes down to basic data storage. As a result of high capacity, low cost per gigabyte, and low power consumption per gigabyte, magnetic storage remains the only reasonable choice for backup, archiving, and user data.
Performance and Energy Saving
Our test candidates can be divided into two different camps. One is made up of the Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRS and the Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 HDS5C3030ALA630. Their moderate spindle speeds translate to low power consumption, moderate temperatures, and minimal noise.
The second group is made up of the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 and Seagate Barracuda ST33000651AS XT. Their 7200 RPM speeds promise more performance. Power saving is not the main focus for these products, which is immediately reflected in their somewhat-higher power consumption.