hard drive history

21st century: big, cheap, bland

Samsung SpinPoint SV2001

Photo: Red Hill.

Samsung SpinPoint V40

Another quiet Samsung achiever. The jump to 40GB/platter drives was a major hurdle for the storage industry. Most makers struggled with 40GB/platter yields and quality control early on, but Samsung's superb reliability record continued with this new and much more difficult to manufacture product. The V40s remained as flawless as ever.

Normally, when a new model drive arrives here, the first thing we do is put it on the test bench and examine its performance. This usually has a big bearing on how many more of them we buy over the next six or twelve months. In the case of the V40 though, we were lax about it — because, in reality, it would have had to turn in absolutely terrible benchmarks before we considered stocking anything else as our number one mainstream drive. We have become very fond of our wonderfully fuss-free, utterly reliable Spinpoints these past couple of years, and if push came to shove, we would probably keep on buying them even if they had dropped another millisecond.

When we did finally test the V40 we were pleasantly surprised: Samsung had managed to preserve the exact same seek performance as the old V30. The last two 5400 RPM Spinpoints had each been marginally slower than the one before, another small drop would have threatened to take the Samsung 5400s out of the sweet spot they had occupied for the last two years. It was also encouraging to see that Samsung had finally upped the meagre 512k cache of the V2040 and V30 to the by-this-time standard 2MB, but in the end it is the mechanicals that matter most.

Data rate443 Mbit/secSpin rate5400 RPM
Seek time8.9msBuffer2MB
Platter capacity40GBInterfaceATA-100
SV2001H20GB1 GMR head***
SV4002H40GB2 GMR heads****
SV6003H60GB3 GMR heads*
SV8004H80GB4 GMR heads