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Test Drive: 12 x Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ (1 TB)

10 TB for $1,000: Tom’s Hardware's Über RAID Array

We used twelve of Samsung’s first-generation terabyte hard drives, the Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ. Although the product is more than a year old, it’s still holds its own against some of its newer competition, including the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12, and WD’s Caviar Black. The F1’s 115 MB/s maximum read throughput continues to impress, and Samsung’s data density is so high that it can cram a full terabyte into only three platters. The drives spin at 7,200 RPM, use a SATA/300 interface, and come with 32 MB of buffer memory. Part of our decision to use the Samsung F1 drives was based on availability. Some of our units were spares from our Overdrive Overclocking Championship. Finding ten or more new drives from scratch would have been more difficult.

Samsung is about to release the high-performance Spinpoint F2. While F2 EcoGreen drives have been available at up to 1.5 TB for some months, the new F2 will spin at 7,200 RPM and reach up to 2 TB in the second half of the year. Hitachi and Seagate will likely follow as soon as it makes sense, as the top capacities aren’t sold in large quantities and hence represent only a small fraction of the market.

Other Drive Options?

The 1.0 TB capacity point isn’t particularly exciting anymore, but it is close to providing the highest capacity per dollar. In addition, high-performance 7,200 RPM drives still deliver higher throughput than the lower-power 1.5 TB hard drives by Samsung, Seagate, or WD. Using 2.0 TB hard drives would double the gross capacity of our array from 12 to an amazing 24 TB, but it will more than double the cost for the drives. You can get a 1.0 TB drive starting at approximately $85 while a 2.0 TB drive still is almost three times more expensive.

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  • 0 Hide
    nesomumi , 10 July 2009 19:01
    RAID 0 rullezzz :) 
  • 0 Hide
    yobigd20 , 10 July 2009 20:20
    how is this 10TB for $1000? Its more like 10TB for $2199 because that controller card itself is $1199 on newegg....
  • 0 Hide
    belrik , 10 July 2009 21:04
    yeah, can we see some performance benchmarks of a realistic configuration with these 12 drives in a media server? You'd never run this in your main PC cos the noise is stoooopid. You could also save $$$ by using software RAID under Windows or MDADM in Linux. Any chance you can look into iSCSI booting off software RAID?
  • 0 Hide
    bogcotton , 10 July 2009 22:13
    Pg. 3 first paragraph, "and with 12 drives, we were able to reach a total gross capacity of 12 GB."
  • 0 Hide
    yobigd20 , 10 July 2009 22:32
    bogcottonPg. 3 first paragraph, "and with 12 drives, we were able to reach a total gross capacity of 12 GB."LOL.

    small beans. real men use a 40 drive chassis with 2TB drives, reaching a total 'gross' capacity of 80TB. thats what I'm talkin about. lol.
  • 0 Hide
    zebzz , 12 July 2009 10:44
    I don't think you can build for $1000, like yobigd20 said the controller would make that over $2000. I have a list of parts that could make up a 10 - 12Tb system in the UK for about £2000 (Approx. $3,248.66). This would be a case, PSU, CPU Memory and Board to take the components.

    I have chosen a case with 11 5.25" Bays and then got 3x 5x3.5 SATA Chassis that fit 3x 5.25" Bays. I have also chosen a PSU with 12x SATA Power Connectors. I finally chosen a 4Gb AMD system with a built in 1Gb LAN card for the network.
    Qty Description Inc VAT
    3 IcyDock MB-455SPF 5x3.5" Sata II Hot Swap into 3x5.25" £275.97
    1 Areca ARC-1230 12 x PCI-E to SATA II RAID Controller £570.37
    1 Sharkoon Rebel 12 Value Edition black 11x 5.25" £75.89
    12 1TB Samsung HD103UJ Spinpoint F1,SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, £751.96
    1 1000W Corsair HX Series PSU ATX, EPS12V, UK Version £169.17
    1 LG GH22NS40 22x DVD±R, 16xDVD±DL,DVD+RW x8/-RWx6, Black £16.43
    1 Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-UD2H, AMD 780G, AM2+,mATX £60.13
    1 AMD Athlon 64 X2 7850 BlackEdition, AM2+, Detail £45.99
    1 4GB (2x2GB)Corsair TwinX XMS2, PC2-6400,CAS 5-5-5-18 £37.54
    Total £2,003.45
  • 0 Hide
    Kraynor , 13 July 2009 19:35
    It is rather interesting to see that RAID 5 seems a lot less peaky in terms of throughput than RAID 0... wonder what the reason is for that.
  • 0 Hide
    revos , 13 July 2009 20:53
    If you where going for pure speed you should try using RAID 10, yes it does cut storage by half but the speed improvemet would be between 70 and 80 %.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , 15 July 2009 22:07
    "result in 11 GB net capacity in RAID 5 or 10 GB in RAID 6"

    I love typos...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 16 July 2009 02:22
    I have two systems similar to this, one with 16 x 750GB drives, and one with 12 x 1Tb drives, the raid cards can be expensive , but I paid less than £150 for a Adaptec raid 6 16 port cards on the bay, and less than that for 2 x dell Perc5i cards. I use a AMD 780G board on one which frees up a x16 PCIe on one and a Nvidia triple SLI board for the two DEll Perc 5is, not too expensive at all. Run the 16 port one in RAID6 the Dells in RAID 0, and mirror the data across the two machines using synch software.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 16 July 2009 22:31
    Having attempted to use Windows software RAID5 with a 6x750GB config my recommendation is "don't". Same opinion of motherboard RAID5. Very slow, very unreliable. RAID0+1, sure, they work fine. YMMV.

    I have a RocketRaid 2320 (8port) running the 6x750GB on Win7RC1x64 and it's now happily 3.5TB. On XP there was a 2TB limit on drive size.

    Problem with 12 drives and RAID5 is the risk of a 2nd failure while rebuilding a failed drive. The more drives, the larger the chance of failure at any moment in time.

    And backup (RAID is not backup)... what's the best way to backup 10TB? (I don't backup my 3.5TB -- but I know I should).
  • 0 Hide
    zebzz , 17 July 2009 01:10
    Is there any way of making RAID 60?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 17 July 2009 15:20
    What about same controller with 12 x Intel X25-E Professional Flash SSD (32 GB) drives ?
    Will it be 384 GB HDD with 2000 MB/s read & 1700 MB/s write speed ?
    I really would like to see that experiment results.
  • 0 Hide
    jon3001 , 20 July 2009 03:07
    Are desktop drives such as the Spinpoint F1 suitable in the long-run fo RAID systems? Or do you need the 'RAID edition' drives?
  • 0 Hide
    Clintonio , 20 July 2009 06:33
    jon3001Are desktop drives such as the Spinpoint F1 suitable in the long-run fo RAID systems? Or do you need the 'RAID edition' drives?

    I used a pair of older 500GB Samsung drives in RAID0 and later in RAID1 mode, and they ran perfectly fine. Now I use them individually as purely backup drives.

    I currently have 2.75TB of space in my primary PC. I am shying away from RAID right now because I can't afford a second 1TB HDD to make the RAID1 work. I might experiment though with my two 500GB and see if I can do a RAID0 then use that drive to make a RAID1 with the other 1TB drive. Mmmmmmmmmm.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 26 July 2009 04:27
    Really the most pointless waste of time and effort I've ever seen in an article, almost as much as me writing this, but there's nothing on tv =0). May as well have got 500 SATA disks, seek latency is a million times more important than throughput and these and that controller can't do a thing about it, that is why 15k drives and SSD's came about, that's why nobody serious sets up storage like this. bored of typing now... ta ta.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 28 July 2009 03:13
    If you lose a disk on a RAID 5 set this size, the chances of a read error occuring while rebuilding the array is too high. That is why you should be using RAID 6 - not to protect against losing a second disk, but to protect against a read error - the second parity disk of RAID 6 will solve this.