Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 500GB HDD

As fast as it's big?

Review We've never done a review of a single hard disk before, but this Hitachi drive justifies the attention. It's the first 500GB disk drive to hit the shelves - Hitachi has got its drive to market ahead of the likes of Maxtor and Seagate, who have announced drives but not yet shipped them. Half a terabyte in a single drive. Blimey! writes Leo Waldock.

Hitachi Deskstar 7K500Hitachi hasn't been very subtle in the method that it's used to achieve the landmark figure but instead has ganged up five platters and ten heads to achieve the 500GB, which tells us that each platter has a 100GB capacity. That's a surprisingly low areal density when you consider that Samsung's new SP2504C gets its 250GB capacity from a two-platter/four-head design. Hitachi has form in this respect as it released the five-platter 75GXP back in the days when it sold hard drives under the IBM brand and more recently it used five platters in the 400GB 7K400.

The result is a drive that looks very conventional from the outside. Should you be interested in such minutiae it weighs in at 692g, compared to 618g for the Samsung SP2504C. Hitachi has released the 7K500 in both SATA and PATA forms and, as you'd expect, the two drives are fundamentally similar. They both have a rotational speed of 7200rpm but the PATA drive has 8MB of cache compared to 16MB for the SATA model, and nominally the SATA drive has a much faster interface as it's SATA-II and rated at 3GBps compared to ATA-133. We can argue about the figures all day long but we all know that a single drive doesn't stress a 100MBps interface so the benefit over ATA-133 is merely theoretical. The business of switching to a Gbps rating (bits instead of bytes) for SATA is frankly annoying as there are eight bits in a byte yet every manufacturer is using a multiple of ten so 150MBps became 1.5Gbps instead of 1.2Gbps.

The 7K500 is Hitachi's first SATA-II design and the big news with SATA-II isn't the faster interface but instead centres on NCQ (Native Command Queuing) and Staggered Spin-up Support, though some SATA-I drives also support NCQ. NCQ is a pre-fetch technology that requires a suitable chipset, such as Nvidia's nForce 4, to speed up data transfer in a bid to get round the limitations of the mechanical device that lies at the centre of your otherwise solid-stated PC. Staggered Spin-Up enables the computer to turn on the various drives sequentially at start up to give your power supply an easier time. These are SATA technologies so it's a surprise to see that Hitachi includes a legacy four-pin Molex power connector on the back of the drive.

Hitachi Deskstar 7K500

Take a close look at the power and data connector pins on a SATA drive and you'll see that they vary in length, so that the electrical connections are made in a specific order in order to protect the drive if you hot-plug it. By contrast, a legacy connector slams all four contacts into action simultaneously, increasing the chances of frying your hard drive circuitry unless you first shut the PC down.

Next page: Verdict

Other stories you might like

  • Carnival Cruises torpedoed by US states, agrees to pay $6m after waves of cyberattacks
    Now those are some phishing boats

    Carnival Cruise Lines will cough up more than $6 million to end two separate lawsuits filed by 46 states in the US after sensitive, personal information on customers and employees was accessed in a string of cyberattacks.

    A couple of years ago, as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold, the Miami-based biz revealed intruders had not only encrypted some of its data but also downloaded a collection of names and addresses; Social Security info, driver's license, and passport numbers; and health and payment information of thousands of people in almost every American state.

    It all started to go wrong more than a year prior, as the cruise line became aware of suspicious activity in May 2019. This apparently wasn't disclosed until 10 months later, in March 2020.

    Continue reading
  • India extends deadline for compliance with infosec logging rules by 90 days
    Helpfully announced extension on deadline day

    India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the local Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) have extended the deadline for compliance with the Cyber Security Directions introduced on April 28, which were due to take effect yesterday.

    The Directions require verbose logging of users' activities on VPNs and clouds, reporting of infosec incidents within six hours of detection - even for trivial things like unusual port scanning - exclusive use of Indian network time protocol servers, and many other burdensome requirements. The Directions were purported to improve the security of local organisations, and to give CERT-In information it could use to assess threats to India. Yet the Directions allowed incident reports to be sent by fax – good ol' fax – to CERT-In, which offered no evidence it operates or would build infrastructure capable of ingesting or analyzing the millions of incident reports it would be sent by compliant organizations.

    The Directions were roundly criticized by tech lobby groups that pointed out requirements such as compelling clouds to store logs of customers' activities was futile, since clouds don't log what goes on inside resources rented by their customers. VPN providers quit India and moved their servers offshore, citing the impossibility of storing user logs when their entire business model rests on not logging user activities. VPN operators going offshore means India's government is therefore less able to influence such outfits.

    Continue reading
  • Hangouts hangs up: Google chat app shuts this year
    How many messaging services does this web giant need? It's gotta be over 9,000

    Google is winding down its messaging app Hangouts before it officially shuts in November, the web giant announced on Monday.

    Users of the mobile app will see a pop-up asking them to move their conversations onto Google Chat, which is yet another one of its online services. It can be accessed via Gmail as well as its own standalone application. Next month, conversations in the web version of Hangouts will be ported over to Chat in Gmail. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022