hard drive history

21st century: big, cheap, bland

Samsung T133

Photo: Red Hill.

Samsung SpinPoint T133

Like the SpinPoint P120 , the Samsung T133 drive family was an increased-capacity supplement to the evergreen SpinPoint P80 range rather than a replacement for it. Most drive families cover a broad range of capacity points, so you would normally expect something like the T133 to have (say) a two head 120GB model, maybe a single head 75GB one, probably a three head 200GB unit, and obviously a four head drive around the 260GB mark. In this case, though, those size categories were already covered by the P80 and P120 lines and the T133 family was just two drives, both with six heads — something Samsung hadn't done before.

The 300GB unit came first and the extra capacity it brought was very welcome. There was some pent up demand for drives in this size range and it sold briskly. There was quite a wait for the 400GB version, which retained the six head arrangement of the 300 but increased the areal density.

Much as we welcomed the T133s when they first came out, over time they proved to be one of the poorer Samsung drives. Several of our 300GB T133s failed in service — not a bad result overall given that we sold a fair number but poor by Samsung standards — while the 400GB model was a genuine dud with a high failure rate.

The 400GB T133 was notable in another regard: it was the last and largest Samsung drive to be available in parallel ATA. Hitachi had already discontinued IDE production by that time, Seagate had stopped making it available on new models (from memory the largest Seagate drive in IDE was 250GB), only Western Digital made a 500GB drive in IDE. From this time on, all new drives used SATA.

Performance1.66Reliabilitysee below
Data rate 1000 Mbit/secSpin rate7200 RPM
Seek time8.9msBuffer8MB
Form3½ slimlineInterfaceATA-100 or SATA 3
Platter capacity100GBReliabilityAA2
Platter capacity133GBReliabilityBA