SATA - 3.0Gbps

With these 3.0Gbps drives, you can see that there are a number of outstanding deals, a few of which are actually at the lowest prices that we've seen to date. If you're trying to decide between the 3.0Gbps or 1.5Gbps drives, we suggest that you go with the drive that gives you the most storage space per dollar, and at this point in time, they seem to be fairly even, price-wise.

The obvious difference between the two is their bandwidth capabilities, with burst transfer rates being theoretically twice as fast on the newer standard. The problem is that SATA is a point-to-point protocol, so each drive gets a separate connection. Until we start seeing drives that can sustain transfer rates of over 150 GB/s, we're not going to saturate even the original SATA bandwidth. That's not to say that the newer drives aren't sometimes better, but that's largely due to increased platter densities and other tweaks as opposed to the modified SATA interface.

The best deals appear to be coming from the 250GB to 320GB drives, and are going for $0.35 to $0.45 per GB. We can see that the 320GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 with a 16MB cache [RTPE: WD3200KS] is on sale for about $121 shipped; that's roughly $0.38 per GB. You can also see from the graph below that this drive, over the course of the past few weeks, has been gradually coming down in price and is about $40 less than its initial price point.

Western Digital 3.0Gbps 320GB 7200RPM 16MB Caviar SE16

For about $0.39 per GB, the Maxtor 3.0Gbps 250GB 7200RPM 16MB DiamondMax 10 [RTPE: 6V250F0] is not at a bad price either. It's currently priced at approximately $98 shipped. Performance of Maxtor drives is quite good, but we do have to caution that they are also one of the noisier drives on the market. If you aren't trying to build a silent PC, it probably won't matter much, but quite a few of us here at AnandTech shy away from Maxtor.

Generally, going with a larger hard drive will give you more bang for your buck, but this has yet to be the case with the 400GB+ drives. The best that we can see this week is the Seagate 400GB 16MB Barracuda 7200.9 [RTPE: ST3400633AS] going for $200 shipped ($0.50 per GB). If you're in the market for an even larger drive, the Seagate 500GB 16MB Barracuda 7200.9 [RTPE: ST3500641AS] would be your best option; currently on sale for $301 shipped ($.60/GB).

Index SATA – 1.5Gbps


View All Comments

  • AznBoi36 - Sunday, March 19, 2006 - link

    I think it would be a good idea if the drives shown include NCQ/RoHS since there are both the same models that have/doesn't have these features.

    Like for example; there are models of the 7200.8 that feature NCQ and then there are models that do not have NCQ.

    Just to clarify a point...
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - link

    NCQ may be useful to some, but RoHS? Who really cares about that? Reply
  • jamori - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    While I understand that most of the anandtech staff doesn't like to deal with rebates, there are those of us who are willing to in order to get the best deal on a product.

    Under the old RTPE, cost/GB would be calculated with before-rebate prices, and I recall that even when sorting by price in the 'rebate' section, the before rebate price would be used to sort. It seems that the new 'rebates' sections don't have any sorting options, but in the storage section, the cost/GB for products with rebates doesn't make any sense.

    For example, in the SATA drive rebate section, the drive at the top is a 250GB Maxtor drive from TigerDirect for $119.99 - $30 MIR, with (it looks like) $8.36 in tax/shipping/whatever for me. The price displayed is $88.37 after MIR, and it says $.39/GB.

    This doesn't make any sense, though. $88.37/250 = $0.3535 / GB
    Ok, so are you using the before-rebate price? Let's try $128.37 -> $0.5135 / GB. Definitely not.
    $119.99 -> 0.47996 / GB. Nope

    The only thing I can find that's anywhere close is if you take the average of the retail price and the after-rebate price, ignoring shipping, to get
    (119.99 + 79.99) / (2*250) -> $0.39996 / GB, which (if that's how you're doing it), should be rounded up to $0.40 / GB anyway.

    How in the world are you calculating cost/GB??
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    You'll have to ask our RTPE people, who are separate from the editorial staff. I'll forward this question to Lawrence to see if he can respond (or fix the issue). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    Actually, looking at">this page, I'm not sure which price/drive you're talking about. The P/GB results seem to take the rebates into account, plus shipping. If there's an issue with any of the values listed, send me a direct link, would you? Right now, just giving it a quick once-over, everything looks right. Reply
  • rrcn - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link


    I base my cost/GB prices on what the RTPE lists it as.

    I don't know which Maxtor you were using in your example, but I will give you an example of my own.

    The 250GB Maxtor [RTPE:">6L250SO] which can be found listed on the SATA 1.5Gbps is retailing for $99.99 shipped.

    Now if you click">here and scroll down to the third drive from the end, you will see the 6L250SO. You'll see that it's priced at $0.40/GB which is what is stated in the guide on page 3. That's the price of the hard drive plus shipping that gives you $0.40/GB.

    $99.99 (including shipping cost)/250GB = $0.39996 = $0.40/GB.

    I base my prices on exactly what the RTPE states. And the price listed in the RTPE is only the cost of the drive plus shipping, taxes are omitted from the prices listed as that varies from state to state.
  • PrinceGaz - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    "Moving right along, here you'll see the many PATA drives that are available. Looking at the cost per GB, these drives are right up there with the SATA drives these days. As most motherboards currently support SATA drives, we suggest that you go with a SATA drive. However, if you are running an older motherboard or one without the option of the SATA interface, a PATA drive is going to be your only option."

    A PATA drive is not your only option. It might be worth buying a cheap SATA PCI card so that you can use a SATA drive instead. That has the advantage that when you upgrade you can use the SATA drive in your new system.
  • SLIM - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    Can anybody explain why nobody seems to want to build sata optical drives??? Plextor is the only one I know of that ships one sata drive. Is it that much more expensive to use a sata interface? It would be nice to finally get rid of parallel cables (even rounded ones). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 13, 2006 - link

    The Plextor SATA drive apparently has issues, so it could be that other companies have looked into SATA optical drives and are holding off for now. Reply
  • Lamdon - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    I am sorta dissapointed there were no mobile drives posted. I am presently looking for a 2.5" hard drive for my laptop. Reply

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