Samsung Spinpoint 2TB

This review is for the Samsung F4EG 2TB HD204UI drives, 5400RPM, 32MB of cache.

Samsung 2TB EcoGreen drive (HD204UI)UPDATE:  Those who have been asking about how to update the firmware for this drive, I wrote a tutorial here.

Hopefully you’ve read my blog about what to consider when it’s time to upgrade a hard drive.

When the time comes for the need to replace your hard drive, choosing the right drive is not always the easiest task.  For data storage, a higher-capacity drive is better, and a 2TB is always a good choice over the 1TB because you will always need more drive space.

For data storage, this Samsung 2TB drive receives my top recommendation.

I have used 2TB drives from various makers (Seagate, Western Digital, Hitachi) ranging from enterprise level, desktop drives, and green drives.  Of the green drives, this is probably my favorite for data storage.

Samsung 2TB HD204UII purchased this drive to populate a media server and home theater PC (HTPC).  In the past, I attempted to use external USB 2.0 drives for file storage but file copying became too slow and tedious, especially for HD content.  Because I have a toddler who has the same curiosity as me, I had to create backups of the DVDs, especially since we’ve already lost several blue-ray disks due to various “accidents.”

This drive spins at 5400 rpm, not the 5900 rpm like the Seagate or WD green drives.  However, even with a slower spin rate, I get faster data transfer speeds and IOps values.  This is probably due to its relatively fast seek time (average 8.8 ms on my tests).

I now have four of these drives in my HTPC, an additional four in a NAS box (media server), and two in my PC workstation (for photo and video editing) purely for data storage.  So far I am very impressed with them.  At a bargain price of less than 80 bucks a drive, it’s a great cost/GB value!

I tested a drive with NTFS formatting (default allocation unit size; 4K) with stock firmware.  The drive is hooked up to a native SATA II 3.0Gb/s controller on the motherboard of a Dell Precision 490 Workstation.  I ran some benchmarks using HD Tune Pro, and at first I could not believe the numbers. These 5400 drives are posting numbers like some of my 7200 drives!  I ran at least three runs for each value, and posted the average.

I ran a benchmark test on these drives using my workstation with the following specs:

Dell Precision 490, Quad-core Intel Xeon 5300, 4GB DDR2 fully buffered DIMM 667MHz ECC memory, Dual ATI FireGL V7200, WD Raptor 160 GB, WinXP Pro SP3

Samsung 2TB HD204UIHD Tune:

Average operational temp 27-32 degrees C

Average read 105.2 MB/s (Min and Max @ 59.7 and 147.2 MB/s, respectively)

Access time:  8.8 ms

Burst rate: 180.9 MB/s

HD Tach:

Average write  98.4 MB/s (Min/Max @ 60.2/149.7 MB/s, respectively)

Access time: 14.1ms

Burst rate: 148.6 MB/s

As you can see, the data transfer from these benchmark values is quite fast, given that it is a 5400rpm drive.

N ext, I put 4 drives in a RAID 10 configuration.  The average read speed is over 175 MB/sec over the entire RAID volume.

I have no complaints with the noise.  I tried this drive on a StarTech external HDD dock, which is an external drive mount, and it runs relatively quiet.  Because I run the StarTech through eSATA, I get similar benchmark results as when they are connected through native SATA.

I am very impressed with these Samsung drives, happy I purchased them, and very happy I got them for such a deal.

Highly recommended.

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About Ask Conrad
I am a University Professor. A Neuroscientist by trade, and a technophile/geek on the side. My work and research is heavily dependent on computers and state-of-the-art technology. I like Jazz and Bossa Nova. I play the piano, guitar, and ukulele.

3 Responses to Samsung Spinpoint 2TB

  1. Pingback: Upgrading a Hard Drive « Ask Conrad

  2. Pingback: Samsung F4 firmware update – functional link « Ask Conrad

  3. It is actually a great and helpful piece of info.
    I am happy that you simply shared this useful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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