Like most new drives coming out, the Hitachi 7K250 has an 8MB buffer in the SATA and larger PATA models. The small PATA drives make due with a 2MB buffer. While that has recently been trumped by Toshiba's 2.5" laptop drives carrying 16MB, as well as Maxtor's enterprise MaxLine III, that isnít necessarily a negative, depending on the application and the caching algorithm internal to the drive. I'm fairly certain the only reason that drives moved to a standard 8MB cache is due to it not costing anything more to add in than the previous 2MB. Memory is cheap, while marketing advantages are not. Looking further into the specs, a three year warranty comes with drives that carry the 8MB cache, and one year for the 2MB ones. Since that is the only differentiating feature between them, this again shoves the bigger buffered drives into more of a "premium" segment. Hitachi also sells a larger 7K400 drive, which boasts five platters to the 7K250's three, as well as "native command queuing." It is a native SATA drive, but other than these two features, identical to the 7K250.
Hitachi claims an 8.5ms seek time for the drive, as well as 7200rpm spindle speed. While the latter is standard for this product class, it still stands behind the 10000 rpm Raptor from Western Digital. As for the seek time, most of the 7K250ís competitors claim 8.9 - 9.3ms. Seek time is the mean amount of time required for the head to shift from one track to another. In applications where data is uncorrelated, such as database searches, this is a useful benchmark. For other tasks, such as video encoding where data is usually sequential, it doesnít really matter.
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