Once Hitachi made the move to a 1TB Deskstar hard drive capacity, it didn't take long for this beast to capture the imaginations of enthusiasts worldwide. Hard drives are like speed records - the public likes nice, round numbers, and a full terabyte certainly fit the bill. Due to this, it wasn't long before both Seagate and Western Digital made the 1TB plunge, with their four-platter designs offering an improvement over the old school five-platter Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 1TB. By offering their Spinpoint F1 1TB in a three-platter format, Samsung has moved even further away from the very first 1TB model to walk the Earth.
Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB has all the features and high-end specifications than any enthusiast could want, including a 7200-RPM spindle speed, an average seek time of 8.9 ms, an average latency of 4.17 ms, a MTBF of 600,000 hours, and an SATA 3.0 Gb/s NCQ interface. The onboard cache has been upgraded to a full 32MB for the 750GB and 1TB Spinpoint F1 models, while the newest 640GB and lower capacities drop back to 16MB.
The standard 1TB capacity translated into five 200GB platters in the Hitachi drive, and four 250GB platters for the Seagate and Western Digital models. Samsung goes one better and incorporates three 334GB platters in the Spinpoint F1 1TB drive, giving this model the highest areal density in its class. This also translates into fewer heads, and the Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB features only six, compared to eight for the Seagate/WD and ten on the Hitachi.
Power usage specifications are also extremely good, with an 8.6W seek, 7.9W read/write, and 7.7W idle average power requirements, which are all a notable improvement compared to other performance 1TB drives. The maximum start current is only 2.4 amps, which compares to the 3.0 amps required of the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB drive. The three-platter design even translates into a slightly lighter drive, as it checks in at only 640 grams, as compared to 677-700 grams for the competing Seagate and Hitachi models.
The physical design of the Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB hard drive is standard, and the back plate includes Serial ATA power and data connectors, along with the jumper arrangement. The top of the drive housing is silver with the Samsung model number, basic specifications and serial number. Samsung also designed this with the performance user in mind, and ships it with the old school 1.5 Gb/s jumper disengaged.
The Spinpoint F1 drive also offers features such as Samsung-developed Perpendicular Recording (increased areal density). Automatic Acoustic Management, dual-ARM based firmware, NoiseGuard & SilentSeek (combining low acoustics and HDD performance), while meeting RoHS requirements. In terms of diagnostic software, there was growing pains with initial versions of Samsung ES-Tool/HUTIL programs, as these could (and did) report non-existent errors, but the latest version (HD103UJ ES-Tool - ver.2.11) seems to have cleared those up.