Introduction and Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Back in March of 2011, Western Digital announced that it would acquire Hitachi GST for a sum of $4.3 billion. To maintain the same level of competition in the market, the FTC asked WD to sell the IP and means to produce 3.5" hard drives to Toshiba. Prior to this, Toshiba only produced (and were quite happy with) 2.5" HDDs.
From the point of this acquisition, Toshiba went to work designing their very first consumer 3.5" HDD: the DT01ACA lineup. Today, we have the chance to look at the 100 model for 1TB capacity. The DT01ACA Desktop HDDs feature high-density, terabyte-per-platter designs that offer a 7200-RPM spindle speed, next to a healthy 32MB of DRAM cache.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Looking over the specifications, we found the entire lineup of DT01ACA drives. For this review, we will focus on the last column, the 1TB model. Herein, we have a 1TB 3.5" HDD, featuring the SATA 3.0 standard. This drive features Advanced Format Technology, with single-track, read and write access times of 0.6ms and 0.8ms, respectively.
Rotational speed is listed at 7200RPM with 32MB of cache; with load/unload cycles listed at 300,000. Power consumption figures lineup with random read, write at 6.4 watts, and idle at 3.7 watts.
At the time of review, the Toshiba DT01ACA100 is priced at $54.99, with a two-year warranty.
Toshiba DT01ACA 1TB HDD
Our sample of the 1TB DTO1ACA was delivered in bare-drive form. The manufacture date is listed at the top right, with capacity, and firmware revision in the center.
The backside of the drive houses a teal green PCB, with several Torx screws holding it in place.
Removing the PCB, we find a large thermal pad, to transfer the heat from the drive controller. A set of pins connects the PCB to the internal components.
A closer look at the PCB reveals that the LSI controller is next to 32MB of DRAM cache. At the top of the drive, we have the spindle controller.
Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance
Desktop Test System
ATTO Baseline Performance
Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34
In ATTO read testing, we found the Toshiba right in line with the Barracuda .14. Both drives peaked at around 190 MB/s.
ATTO write was quite a similar situation. Here, we found the Toshiba with the same 190 MB/s performance.
Benchmarks - 4K Random Performance
IOMeter - 4K Random Performance with QD
4K random read placed the Toshiba just behind the WD Black, and Barracuda .14
With 4K random write, we found the performance of the Toshiba dropped off after QD4.
Benchmarks - Sequential Performance
IOMeter - Sequential Performance with QD
Sequential read again had the Toshiba near the top. Here, we have 190 MB/s across the entire QD scale.
Sequential write showed the Toshiba just below the Barracuda .14, but above the two solutions from WD.
Benchmarks - Drive Acoustics and Power Consumption
Drive acoustics can be a very important metric when purchasing a drive. As such, we purchased, and built, a 12 x 12 x 12 box out of 2" thick insulating foam. In the center of the box, we placed the drive on 3" acoustic foam. Sound level measurements were taken from a distance of 6 inches.
Here, we have all drives hovering between 32 and 35 dba, throughout most of the testing. At the peak, the WD Black takes top honors as the loudest drive at 40 dba. Next in line, we have the Toshiba at 37 dba, and the WD Red, and Barracuda .14, round out the chart.
Our custom power testing samples each drive for a period of three minutes, across each workload. In order to offer more granularity, we sample the power in one-second intervals.
Across our entire workload, it is obvious that the WD Black is the top dog, eating up 8.5 watts at peak. The Toshiba manages five watts during random workloads, to a peak near six watts for sequential.
As we found out through our testing, the Toshiba DT01ACA100 is quite the performer when it comes to sequential workloads. Herein, we found chart topping performance that rivals that of the previous generation Seagate Barracuda .14, in the same capacity. However, maintaining this type of performance, with admirable power consumption, is a real feat.
Power consumption of the 1TB model was rather impressive. While random read/write was around five watts, the sequential power consumption led us to believe that there is some sort of read-ahead algorithm in place, as the chart depicted a wave throughout. Even with this, the peak power consumption of the drive reached just a touch under six watts, and coupling that with the sequential performance of the drive, we may have one of the best performance per watt drives in our hands right now.
As stated in the introduction, the pricing for the 1TB DT01ACA100 from Toshiba is set at $54.99, and is available from a broad range of etailers. The drive carries a two-year warranty from Toshiba.