ExcelStor Jupiter J880S review

£32
Price when reviewed

While other manufacturers have increased their disks’ capacity over the past year, ExcelStor’s largest disk is still only 80GB. While the J880S boasts a SATA/300 interface, the specifications are virtually identical to the Ganymede J680S, which we reviewed in our last hard disk Labs.

ExcelStor Jupiter J880S review

There’s only one 80GB platter, with a read/write head for each side. Buffer size stays at 8MB and average seek time at 8.5ms. But, HD Tach RW showed seek time to be more like 9.63ms and, with others packing 125GB onto each platter, it was no surprise to see the J880S bringing up the rear in the STR (sustained transfer rate) test with an average of 49MB/sec.

This is an identical rate to the J680S, indicating that the SATA/300 interface offers no performance benefit here. It’s worth noting, though, that ExcelStor hasn’t added NCQ (native command queuing) to the J880S’s specifications – the only other disk to lack NCQ support is the Western Digital Caviar SE16.

However, the Jupiter still managed over 60MB/sec in its outer zones, and achieved 52MB/sec when reading large files in our copy tests. It was quicker at writing large files than Hitachi’s 500GB Deskstar at 42MB/sec, and the ExcelStor virtually matched the Hitachi’s pace for reading and writing small files. But, the lower areal density again showed its age in the Photoshop test – it took 5 mins, 32 secs to finish; the Samsung was 18 seconds quicker.

For most people, 80GB won’t be enough storage space – even if the price appears a bargain at £32. When you consider this is 40p per gigabyte, the Samsung is better value.

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