Samsung have completely taken the non-pro market by storm! The Spinpoint series of drives that they are offering are very competitively priced and they give so much more performance than similar makes/brands such as Western Digital and Seagate!
These drives are extremely quiet, using Samsung's patented 'NoiseGuard/SilentSeek' technology!
All the drives in the range, run at 7200RPM, which is an ample reading speed for most users and has been the standard for many years. However the amount of cache each drive has, is set at a standard of 16MB! This makes data transfer much faster overall (most other manufacturers only put 8MB of cache in their lower-capacity drives) and they give 32MB of cache in their 750GB+ hard drives.
These drives are extremely reliable and they have worked perfectly for me for years! The warranty is 3 years anyway, so you should have no problems!
The drives come in 320GB, 500GB, 750GB and 1TB capacities! They have been super-seeded by the F3, F4 series however the F1 series still holds up well and they are very cheap at the moment!
The external and internal transfer rates are 300MB/175MB respectively with an average seek time of 8.9ms, making these drives very fast for non-flash (NAND) based devices! Put two of these in RAID0 and they will absolutely fly!
I installed this in a system running the Asus A8N-SLi Premium, AMD 64 3500 CPU and 2GB DDR RAM. It's fast, but it's not extremely fast. My Seagate barracuda 7200.11 on eBuyer's value SATA PCI card is noticeably faster and that is running on an Athlon XP 2000 system with 768MB RAM!
Anyway, on with the review. Samsung's reputation for the Spinpoint series of hard drives is exceptional. I have not heard of anyone buying these and ever having any problems. I have heard of plenty of problems, and experienced these myself, with the old IBM Deskstars or "Deathstars" as they were also known and Maxtor DiamondMax hard drives. Oh, the IBM was the best, actually hearing "stiction" first hand- a sort of random little beeping sound which means bye bye hard drive- none of that from Samsung though!
Apart from the awesome reliability, the Spinpoint's are well known for their low operating noise. I can confirm that this is true; they are very quiet but not totally silent as some people would have you believe. Indeed, if you make the rest of your system quiet enough with big, slow fans as I did then sometimes all you can hear is these hard drives. If you are building a truly silent system that is passively cooled then you would be better off with a Solid State Drive.
When I bought this 500GB one I knew that the 1TB ones were supposed to be faster and now I wish I had gone for that. I didn't because I thought 500GB was more than enough storage space, but given the prices available the larger sizes are very good value for money.
There's not much to say about installing this, or any, hard drive. I think it might have come with 4 screws for mounting. Mine was mounted on its side and has been running happily for over a year now.