Laptop Logic puts them through their paces:
The world held their breath when the 100GB 7200RPM models were announced. Finally, a drive larger than 60GB that would offer near desktop performance with the 7200RPM spindle speed. Seagate and Hitachi promised high performance and high capacity, but unfortunately they couldn’t deliver it in a timely manner. Seagate announced the 7200.1 in April, but product has only shown up at resellers in the past few weeks. Hitachi does better by announcing the 7K100 in May and availability a few weeks before Seagate, but both of these products were effectively vaporware for some time.
Now that both products are readily available, albeit at rather different price points, and we’ve got a head to head look at how well these long heralded drives perform. Onto the drives!
Hit the article for all the details, but the way I read it, the Seagate has a better warranty (5 years vs 3) and is slightly quieter, while the Hitachi is slightly faster and $87 cheaper ($212 vs $299). Looking up the Hitachi price at my usual vendors I kept getting prices around $300 and was frankly puzzled until I noticed that the price quoted in the article is actually for an E7K100 and not the 7K100 which was tested.
That being said, the E7K100 seems to have the same specs as the 7K100 except for a lower max operating temperature (40° C vs 55° C for the 7K100 like the Seagate) and lacks “Enhanced ABLE™ for maximum battery utilization.” The E7K100 seems to be “designed for demanding applications requiring extended power on usage” like blade servers, network equipment, and POS terminals, while the 7K100 is explicitly for laptops. It beats me what the real difference is, much more why the E7K100 is so much cheaper.
My net is that these drives seem to be a wash on other factors, so picking on price is fine. Just be aware that the substantial cost saving comes with the E7K100, not the 7K100.