Toshiba 2.5" HDD, poor performance

I have a friend and a niece that both bought a Toshiba Laptop from Best Buy. Was a good deal at 380 for a Corei3 2310, but I'm questioning the Hard Drives.

I was installing MS office in the first laptop, and I noticed lagging performance, so I ran HDTUNE, and there are multiple drops of transfer rate to single digits. I would say 5 or 6 drops to 2 MB/Sec. Now my niece got another of the same computer, and hers does the exact same thing. Toshiba says nothing can be done, not only that they say there is no firmware on the hard drive. Obviously there is firmware, but they don't support that model number of drive since it's packaged with the laptop.

Toshiba c655-s5212
HDD MK3276GSX

I ran HDTUNE on my old gateway with a 320 hitachi, and its a nice curve with no big drops.

What could be causing this? Are Toshiba drives any good?

I figure there's 3 options,

1. Return latptop, pay ~80 for a better model from another brand
2. Replace drive on my own, ~75 for a 64GB SSD
3. Live with it.

What would you do?
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More about toshiba poor performance
  1. Examine HD Tune's SMART data (Health tab). Look for reallocated, pending, or uncorrectable sectors.

    See this article for SMART info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.
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