Hard Drive Head-2-Head (Seagate Sata2 320GB vs. Western Digital Sata 2 320GB)

Admin - 2006-11-21 21:29:30 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: November 27, 2006
Seagate and Western Digital
Price: $119.99

Well it’s that time again. You have finally filled up all of your available space and instead of backing it up to a cd/dvd, you would rather buy a new harddrive. Now comes the decision as to just what hard drive to buy. Currently, the 4 most popular manufacturers to look into are Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, and Maxtor. In this review, we will be looking at a 320 Gig SATA2 16MB Cache drive from Seagate, and throwing it head to head against its counterpart from Western Digital. Now both of these drives are 320 Gig SATA2, and have 16MB cache, the only difference…..brand. We will be getting down and dirty to see if there is a performance difference between brands or if it is simply user preference. Seagate and Western Digital both being major suppliers of hard drives in the computer world, this is sure to be a close fight.

Closer Look
Upon receiving these two shiny new hard drives, I noticed the difference in packaging techniques used by each manufacturer. The Seagate comes sealed in an antistatic bag with the end of it folded and taped closed. The Western Digital drive, on the other hand, is in an antistatic bag with moisture gathering beads, and the bag is heat sealed on both ends, requiring you to cut the bag open.

Both methods are good, though I had the feeling that the Western Digital drive was a bit safer in the sealed environment along with the silicon beads. Looking at the drives themselves, they are pretty much identical. Labels with all pertinent information on the top of the drive, along with the standard SATA power and data hookups on the back.



Now these being SATA2 hard drives, they will operate either at SATA speeds (150Mb/s) or, if your motherboard supports it, at SATA2 speeds (300Mb/s). I will be testing these drives at FULL SATA2 speeds, which requires you to remove a jumper from the drive. It’s a small one, so you will need a fine set of tweezers or other grabbing device.

Installation is pretty easy. Screw the hard drive into an empty slot in your case, plug in the Power and Data cables, and away you go. I did all of the benchmarks for this drive with it on SATA2 mode, so I had to remove the jumper as well. Other than that, installation is a breeze.

Seagate Specifications

Capacity and Interface Reliability/Data Integrity Power Requirements

Western Digital Specifications

Performance Seek Times (Average) Transfer Rates: Shock: Acoustics: Temperature (Metric) Humidity Altitude (Metric) Vibration Warranty Warranty

Test Setup

Test Results

For testing these drives I used the OCC standard: HDTach, SisoftSandra, and Windows Load Times. Results are as follows:

HDTach Results

Sisoft Sandra Results

Windows Boot Time

As we can see from the graphs, the drives are nearly equal, though the Seagate takes a slight lead in several areas. It may not be much of a difference, but it’s still a difference. The Seagate is slower only in the Burst Speed test.

As we can see from the tests above, the Seagate wins in most of the tests. For the experienced or even novice computer techies, the Seagate would be a better choice. With a 5 year warranty, compared to the Western Digital’s 3 years, the Seagate comes in as slightly cheaper, though that may also depend on your supplier. But this, in my eyes, makes the Seagate a better overall drive. Longer warranty, cheaper, and slightly higher speeds give the Seagate an A+ in my books. So whether you are a gamer, performance nut, or an average user, this Seagate SATA2 16MB Cache drive is for you.