Welcome to the latest edition of our storage price guide. It's getting awfully close to the end of the annual holiday shopping extravaganza, but last minute gifts can still be had for great prices. Check out our RTPE at for your holiday pricing needs.

Just as all other products, the last week before Christmas is when most hardware prices are jacked way up, so this weekend is your last real chance to get in on the better deals. We have noticed that there aren't many mail-in rebates (MIRs) this week, but hard drive pricing is still at a great low point.

SAS drives are beginning to drop to lower prices, slowly nearing the cost of the Ultra 320 drives. Though not at the lowest prices we have seen, DVDR's are at decent prices, making many of them outstanding options.

Alright, well that's enough of that, let's get going by taking a bite into the real meat of our guide. First off we'll take a gander at the 3.0Gbps drives....

SATA - 3.0Gbps

Many of the 3.0Gbps drive have either gone up in price or have stayed readily the same. However, we are seeing two of Seagate's drives, the new 200GB [RTPE: ST3200827AS] and 500GB [RTPE: ST3500641AS] 7200.9 Barracudas have gone down approximately $11 and $18, respectively. Luckily, the 500GB drive has a $40 mail-in rebate dropping it to $310 which is valid until early January; while the 200GB drive is going for $140 shipped.

Between the two drives mentioned above, you'll get more bang for your buck going with the 500GB Seagate at $0.62 per GB.

Although the best 3.0Gbps hard drive purchase you can make this week would be the Western Digital 250GB Caviar SE [RTPE: WD2500JS] going for $100, making that about $0.40 per GB. You can see from the graph below that this drive is currently at, or is very close to its lowest price yet.

Western Digital 3.0Gbps 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Caviar SE

If you are looking for a high density drive, one of the excellent drives we suggest you look into is the 500GB Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 [RTPE: HDS725050KLA360] on sale for $365.

SATA – 1.5Gbps


View All Comments

  • zemane - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    I wonder why manufacturers and media can't agree on a common unit to measure transfer rate. Some drives are rated 3.0Gbps while others are 300MB/s and it is confusing to know which is better.

    Look, on the same Western Digital webpage at:">
    you see Raptors and Caviar RE2 rated at 1.5Gb/s, and Caviar SE16 rated at 150-300MB/s.

    Which one gives better performance?
  • Anton74 - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Not to sound harsh, but this is now the 2nd article that comletely ignores the TLER feature of the Westernd Digital RE/RE2 drives, giving unsuspecting readers no reason to ever consider these drives should really not be used as regular desktop drives.

    While it'll work perfectly fine most all of the time, they are not intended for use outside a fault-tolerant RAID configuration, and I think that's something that at the very least deserves a mention.

    Perhaps it'd make sense to categorize the drives differently, or in addition to, the current interface based classifications. Or even a word or 2 about specific strengths or weaknesses of drives beyond the somewhat one dimensional price or price-per-GB of a drive. Would many consider a Diamond Plus 9 for example when you can have a MaXLine III for a few dollars more? There's more to a drive than just its capacity and price.

    Just my opinion. I still appreciate what you guys do. :)
  • ExoReaper - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    First, let me state that I really appreciate all the hard work you guys do in putting together the reviews and guides on this site. I always rely on your expertise to guide my decisions for buying computer hardware.

    That said, I was hoping you would have elaborated a little more on the BenQ DW1640 drive. You state in the DVDR section that the BenQ DW1640 drive is still the one to get this month, but you failed to point out a couple of points. First, the only active links in your RTPE section (that don't state you need to pre-order) are for Monarch Computers and EXcaliberPC. The Monarch Computers link re-directs you to a different product, the BenQ DQ60 drive, which (based on other reviews I've read) is not a suitable replacement for the DW1640. The EXcaliberPC link brings you to the correct product, but states it is "discontinued," and gives you no option for buying one.

    This brings me to my second point. I've been doing a lot of searching for this particular drive over the past few weeks, and I've stumbled onto what might possibly account for the lack of supplies. Apparently, BenQ has released three more burners since the DW1640 (the DQ60, the DW1650, and the DW1655). You can see them here:">
    With the release of these newer drives, BenQ has apparently discontinued their older burner, the DW1640. Since then, supplies have dried up fast, and there doesn't seem to be any indication that they will be returning again.

    The DQ60 is BenQ's super-multi writer with DVD-RAM support, but those who have reviewed it do not recommend it over the DW1640. The DW1650 is officially the product that replaced the DW1640, and seems like a worthy upgrade, but it is still not available to buy in America (only Europe and Asia at the moment). It was originally intended to be BenQ's first SATA burner, but due to complications, they released it as another PATA drive. The DW1655 is the light-scribe version of the DW1650.

    Apparently, people are going to great lengths to do what they can to have the DW1640 at the moment. Some are even buying drives that are rebadged DW1640s, like the Plextor PX-740A, or the Sony DRU-810A, and flashing these more expensive drives so that they recognize as the cheaper DW1640.

    I was hoping these issues were going to be addressed when you next updated your storage price guide, but seeing how you made no mention of any of this, I thought I would point it out. I look forward to you guys possibly making an update in your suggestions for what burners are worth getting, or even seeing if you do recommend the DQ60 as a suitable replacement.
  • Doormat - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    The WD 400GB SATA 1.5G drive for under $200. Its hard to find high density drives like this cheap. I'm tempted to buy another if I get a good tax refund this year. I might end up making a RAID 5 array one day... Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    For the last month or two, Maxtor MaxLine III drives have ben shipped with a 3.0gbps SATA II controller, rather than the 1.5gbps SATA II controller they had previously. Not that it makes any difference unless you have a large RAID/striped array, but since you group SATA drives by transfer rate I thought I'd mention it. Reply
  • SiliconJon - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    Love the articles, as usual. I would like to request that a column of cost per GB be brought back into your storage price guide charts. Or am I in the minority still shopping that way? I liked it much better that way before. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    I myself requested cost-per-GB in their last storage review, so I'd say that if you're in the minority, you're at least among a group of people with taste. ;) Reply
  • rrcn - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the kind words, SJ.

    No promises, but we'll take your request into consideration and see what can be done.

    Personally, I prefer to shop this way as well. For the time being, however, you can use the">RTPE, click on "Search by category" (located on the top right corner) and there you will see the cost per GB.
  • rrcn - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link's a direct link instead.">Browse by category

  • SiliconJon - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link


    It's been right under my nose the whole time! That's beautiful, and even more than I was asking for since it's in real-time. You can scratch my previous request unless you have other needs to add that to your guides, as the RTPE will do just fine for me.

    Many thanks!

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