As storage capacities continue to climb skyward, the retail price of internal and external hard disk drives has plummeted in the opposite direction. This is good news for consumers, who can now save up to 50 per cent on the original price of some 1TB drives. Below we have collected six of the best 1TB hard drives currently on the market; along with the minimum amount of money you'll save (based on the original price point).
The current RRPs listed in this article come directly from the manufactures — the price on the street will often be significantly cheaper. To read the original, in-depth review of each product, including full specifications, click on the links that follow.
Western Digital My Book Office Edition (1TB) — Original RRP: $399, Current RRP: $370
Western Digital's MyBook Office Edition (1TB) is an inexpensive business-focused external storage option. Although it lacks a range of interface options such as FireWire or eSATA, the bundled software provides additional connectivity options.
The Office Edition (1TB) comes with a 16MB cache with an rpm speed of 7200rpm. The USB 2.0 interface is more than enough to take advantage of the hard drive's speed. The case is simple and well-designed, and has a sleek look. The simple ventilation is also very effective, with the drive remaining at room temperature during the majority of our testing.
Western Digital has included some useful applications with this hard drive, including WD Anywhere Backup, Memeo AutoSync, Google Apps and MioNet. MioNet is the most useful application of this bundle. It offers Web-based and integrated remote access for local data, allowing the MyBook and its host computer's data to be accessible via the Internet.
All up, it remains a very capable hard drive which offers the distinctive feature of remote access.
What's hot: Quiet and cool operation, bundled Mionet software
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Western Digital My Book Office Edition (1TB), click here.
Seagate Barracuda ES2 — Original RRP: $469, Current RRP: $450
The Barracuda ES2 attempts to plug the gap between regular desktops and enterprise drives. It is aimed primarily at enthusiast desktop owners, as well as small business and enterprise users. It can be used just as easily in a file server as in a gaming, media centre or workstation PC.
The ES2 is a Serial ATA–based drive with NCQ, an interface speed of 300MBps, 32MB cache size, 7200rpm spin speed and a capacity of 1TB (931GB formatted capacity). It also takes advantage of perpendicular recording technology, which fits 250GB of storage space on each of its four internal platters.
Because of the ES2's high mean time between failure, the drive can be left on 24/7, with most of the time being spent in an idle condition. This is the pattern of use for a small business's file server, a typical media centre PC that's been left on overnight to record programs, or a desktop machine left on continuously to download data or render a video. For these endeavours, it's ideal.
The ES2 is definitely one of Seagate's most quiet and cool-running drives. Even under a full load copying data from one location to another, the drive's operation was barely noticeable. Its balance is also impeccable, as hardly any vibration was noticed when we parked the drive in our CoolerMaster Praetorian mid-tower case. Again, these traits make it an ideal solution for a media centre, which will run in a living room, or for a desktop PC in the bedroom.
What's hot: Efficient power consumption, runs very quietly, relatively cool, optimised for 24/7 systems
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Seagate Barracuda ES2, click here.
Western Digital Caviar GP —. Original RRP: $559, Current RRP: $309
Western Digital's Caviar GP (Green Power) drive is a cut above the competition as far as power consumption is concerned. It takes advantage of an improved seek method for data, as well as a constant spin speed, to deliver the lowest power consumption in its class.
We ran the drive in a PC with a 650W Seasonic SS-650HT power supply and used a digital multimeter to record its maximum power consumption. In an idle state, the Caviar GP used only 3.66W of power, which is almost half as much as the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11. When writing and reading data, it used 8.24W and 7.7W, respectively.
Perpendicular recording technology has been used in the Caviar GP, which employs a four-platter design to facilitate its 1TB storage capacity. Each platter can hold 250GB of data. The low number of platters and increased density also contribute to the lower overall power consumption of the drive, as less power is needed to drive the motor and less heads need to be moved when reading and writing data.
The Caviar GP also benefits from lower vibration and reduced heat. It ran without any noticeable noise, for the most part, and didn't get overly hot. All up, it can be seen as an ideal hard drive for a home theatre or small form factor PC, as well as being suitable for typical desktop machines.
What's hot: Lower power consumption than other 1TB drives, very quiet and cool operation, good write performance
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Western Digital Caviar GP, click here.
LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB) — Original RRP: $549, Current RRP: $279.99
With its versatile triple interface (USB 2.0, FireWire and e-SATA), avant-garde design and massive 1000GB capacity, the LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB) is one of the better external hard drives on the market.
With 1TB of on-board memory and the inclusion of LaCie's 1-Click Backup software, it is equally proficient at data storage and protection. The drive's understated design is about as sleek and fashionable as you're likely to ever find, with the barely perceptible fan adding to its considerable charm.
Meanwhile, its trio of connection choices makes for a versatile product, and should ensure that your PC has at least one compatible port. The box includes all the necessary cables, including USB 2.0, e-SATA and a pair of FireWire cables (the drive comes equipped with two FireWire ports, allowing you to connect the device to both your computer and a camcorder, for instance.)
The LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB) is an enticing piece of hardware, whether you know who Neil Poulton is or not. Artfully sculptured and bursting with memory, it will satisfy every type of user, from PC plebs to computer connoisseurs.
What's hot: Three connection options for broader choice, 1TB capacity, near-silent operation, user-friendly software pre-installed on drive.
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB), click here.
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 —. Original RRP: $530, Current RRP: $429
Like the other hard drives featured in this article, the 7200.11 uses a four-platter, eight-head design for its 1TB capacity, with each platter holding 250GB. Seagate has previously shipped single-platter 250GB drives, so the technology in the 1TB Barracuda is definitely reliable and is backed up with a five-year warranty.
What we like about this Barracuda, apart from its 1TB capacity and warranty is the almost silent way in which it goes about its business. Previous Barracuda drives have been relatively loud during our tests, but this one is barely audible when reading and writing data; you really have to get up close to it in order to hear it working.
While it was operating in a PC with a 650W Seasonic SS-650HT power supply, we measured the Barracuda's thirst for electricity. In an idle state, the drive consumed 7.48W of electricity, which is twice as much as the Caviar GP. However, it used only 2.38W more than the Caviar GP when writing data (10.62W compared to 8.24W), and 1.86W more when reading data (9.56W compared to 7.7W). Considering that the Barracuda is a 7200rpm drive with a 32MB cache, these are competitive figures.
The Barracuda has a cache size of 32MB, which is as large as it gets, and it also features a 3Gbps SATA interface with NCQ. As far as desktop drives go, it has all the bells and whistles. It will suit gaming PC due to its solid read and write performance, while its quiet and cool operation will be perfect for a home theatre PC.
What's hot: 1TB capacity, quiet operation, 5-year warranty, solid read and write performance
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Western Digital Caviar GP, click here.
Western Digital RE2 GreenPower (WD1000FYPS) — Original RRP: $499, Current RRP: $349
The main aim of Western Digital's 1TB RE2 GreenPower, is to reduce power consumption. While idle, we measured its power consumption as 3.47W. At full load, while copying data from one location on the drive to another, it consumed 7.62W; even lower than the 10.1W that Western Digital claims it will consume.
Physically, the 1TB RE2 GreenPower has four internal platters and employs perpendicular magnetic recording. It's a Serial ATA drive with a 3Gbps interface speed and a 16MB buffer. It's aimed at environments where many drives are required, such as data centres. However, users who want to build a high-end machine or a media centre PC will also find it to be a useful option.
Our 1TB model barely vibrated or made a sound while it was running. From spin-up, and while it was conducting seek operations, the drive almost felt like it wasn't even switched on. This is a welcomed trait for any system that will house two or more of these drives. Other welcomed traits are the drive's practically silent running and relatively cool operation. After two hours of continuous file transfers, the drive's surface warmed up to 34.5 degrees Celsius, which means it won't get too hot to touch.
As it stands, the RE2 GreenPower is among the quietest, coolest and least-vibrating drives on the market, and its performance isn't bad either. Coupled with the lower-than-usual power consumption for a 1TB drive, and a five-year warranty, we think this drive is a good option for anyone who wants to build a multi-drive high-end system or a lounge-dwelling media centre PC.
What's hot: Consumes less energy than most 1TB hard drives, five-year warranty
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Western Digital RE2 GreenPower (WD1000FYPS), click here.