SATA 3.0Gbps

We will begin this weekend's guide with the 3.0Gbps hard drives, which is arguably the most popular area. You will find many outstanding deals in the chart below, but if you're debating whether to go with a 3.0Gbps or 1.5Gbps hard drive, we can help make your decision easier. We suggest you go with the drive that offers you more storage space for your dollar rather than comparing the 3.0 vs. 1.5Gbps transfer rates.

At this stage in time, the difference between the 1.5 and 3.0Gbps interface really is a moot point as transfer rates have yet to exceed 150 MB/s. The newer 3.0Gbps drives are sometimes better, but that is due to other advancements such as increased platter densities and not the SATA interface. Also note that if your motherboard only supports the 1.5Gbps interface and not the newer 3.0Gbps standard, this should not pose a problem. The 3.0Gbps drives are backwards compatible with motherboards supporting the 1.5Gbps interface, so choose whichever drive will give you more bang for your buck. (Some drives also have a jumper block that can be used to force 1.5Gbps mode if necessary.)

We'll take a look at the various size groupings, but we'll also list all of the drives in a single table at the bottom of the page, just so we don't miss any offerings. Generally speaking, the larger the drive you purchase, the better the cost per GB. Unfortunately, this rule of thumb isn't consistent throughout all available drives sizes, as the 400GB and larger drives begin to increase in relative price. Most users will want to balance size vs. cost, which is what the price per GB represents. Of course, some people really need a lot of storage, so they'll want to look at the 750GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 [RTPE: ST3750640AS] priced at $430 shipped ($0.57/GB).

The cheapest 400GB hard drive this time around is the Seagate 3.0Gbps 400GB 7200RPM 16MB Barracuda 7200.9 [RTPE: ST3400633AS]. Although at its lowest price point yet, this 400GB Barracuda is selling for $176 ($0.44/GB).

The best priced 500GB drive we're pulling up is from Western Digital -- the 3.0Gbps 500GB 7200RPM 16MB Caviar SE16 [RTPE: WD5000KS] which is on sale for about $230 ($0.46/GB). We can't really suggest that you go with these larger drives unless you really need the additional storage, as you can gain more for your money by going with two 250GB drives - we'll take a look at those next.

Here you can see why we suggest two 250GB drives rather than a single 500GB or 400GB drive. You can get your hands on the Samsung 3.0Gbps 250GB 7200RPM 8MB SpinPoint P [RTPE: SP2504C] for $80 shipped ($0.32/GB). For an even better deal, you can go with the Western Digital 3.0Gbps 250GB 7200RPM 16MB Caviar SE16 [RTPE: WD2500KS] for $80 after a $10 mail-in rebate. The Western Digital drive has a 16MB buffer rather than an 8MB buffer found in the Samsung drive we pointed out first, and offers generally better performance. Of course, if you're mostly interested in getting a quiet hard drive, the Samsungs can't be beat.

Although they're some of the noisiest drives around in the marketplace, Maxtor drives can generally perform just as well as any other brand available today. They may not be our favorite brand, but the Maxtor 3.0Gbps 300GB 7200RPM 16MB DiamondMax 10 [RTPE: 6V300F0] in particular performs very well, and it's going for about $100 ($0.36/GB). Below, you can find a complete list of the SATA 3.0Gbps drives.

Index SATA – 1.5Gbps
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  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - link

    I know not many of them are available yet, but I trust you will be adding them to future month's storage price articles.

    It might be worth including HD-DVD and BD readers as well until the burners come down to a reasonable price.
  • SignalPST - Monday, June 12, 2006 - link

    Can SAS hard drives be used on onboard SATA2.0 ports such as the nForce4 motherboards?
    Or do SAS drives require a SAS PCI-E cards?
  • King Mongo - Monday, June 12, 2006 - link

    I think the real deal for all large-size PATA and SATA drives is to be found at They have consistently offered 500GB PATA & SATA drives for less than $200, with free shipping, for the past two weeks. NO REBATES. I believe the new standard for 500GB is $189

    For Seagate retail, *cannot* be beat.

    For Maxtor & Western Digital, however, I would stay with the OEM resellers (like ZZF, eWiz, etc) because Maxtor & WD OEM drives come with a more robust warranty than the retail (for some reason).

  • SnoMunke - Monday, June 12, 2006 - link

    First, you are missing the WD 5000YS (500GB) RE2 drive...

    Second, "While previously only Maxtor and Seagate were producing SAS drives, Hitachi has recently joined them with three offerings." is simply a B.S. statement. Hitachi SAS drives have been out for over 6 months!!! (I know because I bought one back in January and I b!tched at you before when you left the Hitachi SAS drives off Storage Price Guide!)

    Third, you really need to clean up the presentation of your Storage Price is simply not easy to read. How about dividing it up first by interface (which you have done) and then by HDD size (large, medium, small)? As others pointed out, SATA 1.5/3.0 HDDs should be lumped together.

    Fourth, not to leave you too chastised from my harsh comments, I read Anandtech/DailyTech on a HOURLY basis. You all are doing a great job!
  • dhei - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Like I have a mobo that supports 1.5sata, can i buy a 3.0 to "future proof" when i upgrade? Its the little things like that i always forget..heh
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Yes, that's what we tried to explain on pages 2 and 3. There may be some exceptions out there on mobos, but if so I have yet to encounter them. (Note that I haven't tested any VIA/SiS chipset offerings in a long time, so I can't say for sure that they work. The spec is *supposed* to be backwards compatible, however.)
  • regpfj - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link


    ...but if you're debating weather to go with a 3.0Gbps or 1.5Gbps


    moot point as transfer rates have yet to exceed 150 GB/s.

    I gave up reading after the second page.
  • arswihart - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    Anandtech, what are you talking about in this whole article, its an outdated, and not-useful pile of rubbish if you ask me.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    We're talking about hard drives. Outdated in what way? Not useful in what way? Specifics are helpful, and I find it hard to believe that two minor typos would turn this into rubbish. Do you simply not want us to do storage guides, or can you try to help by offering some suggestions for improvement? Simply posting flames on the internet does no one any good.

    If you're complaining about price differences (i.e. text doesn't coincide with the real-time charts), these prices change on a daily basis. If the text does not exactly reflect current prices 24 hours after being written, there's not much we can do to fix that.
  • Dfere - Monday, June 12, 2006 - link

    Get Em, Jarred.

    Speaking for myself, I do not take this type of post seriously, and most of us do not... but fight the good fight, boy.!

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