Introduction

Thanks for joining us in our latest edition of the weekly price guides. This week, we are going to take a look at storage media, hard drives and optical devices. We'll be taking a look at the SATA drives, both the 3.0Gbps and 1.5Gbps drives, PATA drives, and both Ultra 320 and SAS SCSI drives. We've mentioned this a few times recently - the RTPE has been updated and pages load much quicker now. If you tried our RTPE a month or two ago and found it to be too slow, give it another shot. Our goal is to be able to cater to all your hardware needs, bringing you all the unbiased information that you need to score yourself the best hardware deals on the Internet. We try to include all the reputable online vendors, none of which pay us to be listed here.

Now, we'll head on to what this price guide is really about: hard drives. We have had many requests from our readers to include laptop hard drives in our storage price guides and we are going to address this request officially, here and now. Previously, our pricing engine only tracked desktop hard drives. We are actually in the process of adding laptop hard drives to the RTPE, since a large number of people use laptops these days and they, too, can also use more hard drive capacity. Once the laptop hard drives are added into the RTPE, we will begin including them in our monthly storage guides.

We are hoping to get this project completed within the next two months or so. We kindly ask you please to bear with us and keep checking to see when they are in fact listed in our storage guides. For now, we offer the following advice. Most importantly, know what your laptop can support. Most laptops still use an IDE interface, although we are starting to see SATA laptop drives in a few high-end models now. Besides the interface, you also need to consider the heat output. Generally speaking, 4200 RPM drives run cooler than most 5400 RPM drives, and the 7200 RPM drives are definitely hotter than the slower RPM models. While a nice, large 7200 RPM laptop drive might sound enticing, 5400 RPM models might be a safer bet long-term.

Other than those warnings, the primary concern will be capacity. Laptop drives are definitely more expensive than desktop drives, with even the cheapest models costing over $1/GB. Assuming that you want to purchase a new drive because your current drive is too small, we would look at the 120 GB drives. Brand isn't a huge concern of ours, and Samsung and Western Digital win out as the cheapest options, followed by Fujitsu. Seagate costs quite a bit more, and we find it hard to justify the $0.41/GB premium that's being charged. For about the same cost per GB, the 80 and 100 GB drives are also something to consider. We would only purchase a 40 GB or 60 Gigabytes drive if you are replacing a crashed hard drive and you really don't need any more capacity.

We realize that the pricing tables below and on the following pages do not allow better sorting options like the RTPE does. The main thing that you will find in the RTPE is the cost per GB breakdown. It makes finding the best storage deals extremely easy. Now, let's head on over to the next page and have a look at the 3.0Gbps SATA hard drives.

SATA – 3.0Gbps
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  • rrcn - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    We have addressed this concern at the beginning of the article. =)

    quote:

    We have had many requests from our readers to include laptop hard drives in our storage price guides and we are going to address this request officially, here and now. Previously, our pricing engine only tracked desktop hard drives. We are actually in the process of adding laptop hard drives to the RTPE, since a large number of people use laptops these days and they, too, can also use more hard drive capacity. Once the laptop hard drives are added into the RTPE, we will begin including them in our monthly storage guides.

    We are hoping to get this project completed within the next two months or so. We kindly ask you please to bear with us and keep checking to see when they are in fact listed in our storage guides.
    Reply
  • SnoMunke - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    Hitachi has been producing SAS drives for awhile...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...
    Reply
  • rrcn - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the heads up. We'll be adding it shortly. =) Reply
  • Souka - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    Too bad they didn't mention the Samsung Spinpoint series.

    I was looking for a 250gb SATA to replace a old 100gb 2mb/cache IDE drive (giving to dad)... I checked out StorageReview.com and they had a VERY NICE round up of 250gb drives.


    After looking at the data, I choose the Samsung Spinpoint 250GB SATA2 w/8mb cache drive. The drive is fast, and the coolest and quietest option in the group.

    In this AT article they mentioned the Maxtor 250gb drive is a good bargain at 98$ shipped.... Well, I think the Samsung I bought for $97.99 shipped from NewEgg is a better deal.


    My $.02.

    Oh yeah, here's a link to the Storage Review review.... http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200601/250_1...">LINK
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    As was mentioned in the article, there are a LOT of good deals on hard drives. WD, Samsung, Maxtor, and Hitachi all offer 250GB SATA 3.0Gbps drives for around $100, and any of those are worthy of consideration. Personally, I like the WD 16MB SE models, but the others are good as well. The Samsung drives *are* the quietest on the market, but there really isn't a massive difference between many of the HDDs... except that Maxtors are generally louder on seek noise. (Gary Key described them to me as "bongo drums" not to long ago! :) ) Reply

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