Hitachi 7K400 400GB Deskstar Hard Drive

Review: ExtremeTech checks out the largest desktop hard drive on the market today. The 400GB Deskstar is roomy, fast, and a marvel of modern engineering. It's not a breakthrough, though-just a new spin on existing tech.

Before we launch into the specs and features of the new Hitachi 400GB hard drive, we need to point out a few things. Hitachi is not targeting this hard drive for your normal PC desktop. Its really aimed at an emerging application category known as "near-line backup."

Another area of interest is media storage applications, like those used in DVRs (digital video recorders). As HDTV becomes more prevalent, were starting to see HD-DVRs. At 8.7GB per hour, HDTV can eat up drive space at an alarming rate. Even a 400GB drive will only hold about 45 hours of HDTV content (depending on compression).

Still, the idea of a 400GB drive is an intriguing one, and this one is built and has specs like a desktop drive. What does a 400GB hard drive look like? Despite having five platters and ten heads, it pretty much looks like any 7,200RPM desktop drive.

What immediately jumps out at you is the similarity between these two drives. The areal density is roughly the same. The 7K400 gets its massive capacity not by some breakthrough in platter density, but by adding platters and heads. Its still an 80GB per platter drive. So our guess is that the performance of the two drives should be roughly similar.

We received a Serial ATA version of the drive, which uses the Marvell 88i8030 parallel ATA-to-SATA bridge chip. As weve seen in past reviews, although this isnt "native" SATA, the bridge solution can offer impressive performance.


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