hard drive history

2000: sea change

Samsung SpinPoint SV2042

Photo: Red Hill.

2001 Drive of the Year

Samsung SpinPoint V2040

A great double for Samsung: the excellent SamsungSpinPoint V1020 was our 2000 Drive of the Year selection.

From about the turn of the century onwards, we came to rely on Samsung for mainstream bread and butter drives much as we used to rely on Seagate drives back in the middle nineties, and the Spinpoints came to account for a similar proportion of our sales mix (roughly two-thirds).

Just like the V1020, the Samsung V2040 was quiet, cheap, and fast. Best of all it maintained Samsung's spotless reliability record. We sold many, many hundreds of Samsung drives around this time, and not one had an in-service failure. This was an incredible record. Where it was normal to regard a drive model with an average failure rate of a handful per hundred units as good to excellent, our Samsungs just didn't fail at all for several years. At the time, I wrote "We could have four or five go faulty tommorow and they would still be the most reliable drive we have ever sold."

(A few years later on we finally saw some fail in service, but still just a tiny handful, and even those usually failed gracefully, developing one or two bad sectors and giving us time to get the data off safely before replacing the drive.)

When the V2040 was introduced in the closing months of 2000, Samsung claimed a 9.0ms seek time for it, slightly up on the outstanding 8.5ms nominal seek of the V1020. As so often in recent times, we wondered if this meant that the manufacturer had joined the growing trend to lower-performance hard drives. Not completely: on the testbench, the V2040 was a tiny bit slower than its smaller and older brother, but the difference was unnoticeable in practice. Not quite the outstanding performer that the V1020 was, it was still superior to just about anything else in a 5400 RPM drive. As we had come to expect from Samsung drives by this time, the V2040 was cheap, cool, very quiet, and utterly reliable. It gave way to the bigger but otherwise very similar 30GB/platter V30 Series in the late southern winter.

Data rate343 Mbit/secSpin rate5400 RPM
Seek time8.8msBuffer2MB
Platter capacity20GBInterfaceATA-66/100
SV102110.2GB1 GMR head***
SV204220.4GB2 GMR heads*****
SV306330.6GB3 GMR heads*****
SV406440.8GB4 GMR heads*