hard drive history

2000: sea change

Samsung SpinPoint SV2044

Photo: Red Hill.

2000 Drive of the Year

Samsung SpinPoint V1020

Samsung had come a long, long way since the horrid little black things the company used to make in 120MB days.

Samsung drives were always very reasonably priced, and had typically been rather better performers than you would expect, but in the early days reliability was an issue: Samsung's 120MB drives were dreadful. Not any more!

The V1020 series was Samsung's best effort yet. We sold more 10GB and 20GB V1020s than any other drive in 2000 — quite possibly more than all other drives combined. The model proved to be incredibly reliable. In 2002 I wrote here that "we have yet to see a single faulty V1020 — not one", and that happy pattern continued. This is a record very few other drives have managed, certainly none that we have sold in such volume (though the 1.7GB Deskstar 3 and one or two Seagates came close).

But the V1020s were not just reliable: they were as cheap as or cheaper than competing drives, they remained readily available nearly all year round during a time when major component shortages caused chaos throughout the storage industry, they ran so quiet that sometimes we found ourselves wondering if we had plugged the power cable in or not, and best of all, they were astonishingly fast for a 5400 RPM drive. There are numerous ways to measure hard drive performance, and no two ways will always agree, but the V1020s comfortably out-performed all comers on most benchmarks, and were just as good in real-life.

For us here at Red Hill, the 20.4GB SV2044D was particularly successful, as during the first half of 2000 it was almost alone in its market segment: IBM and Western digital drives of this size were all too often overpriced or out of stock, while Seagate's unlovely U8 range topped out at 17GB. Through the second half of the year, the 10GB and 20GB V1020s were our best-selling drives by a fair margin, and remained so until their eventual replacement by Samsung's own V2040 drives.

Illustration: 20GB Samsung Spinpoint SV2044

Data rate291 Mbit/secSpin rate5400 RPM
Seek time8.8msBuffer512k
Platter capacity10.2GBInterfaceATA-66
SV1022D10.2GB2 GMR heads****
SV1533D15.3GB3 GMR heads
SV2044D20.4GB4 GMR heads*****