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Laptop Storage: 640GB And 500GB Drives From WD And Fujitsu

Laptop Storage: 640GB And 500GB Drives From WD And Fujitsu

WD’s announcement of its 750GB and 1,000GB notebook hard drives went out a few months ago, but these are targeted at storage applications rather than notebooks, due to their increased height of 12.5mm. Instead, the company has been shipping the first 640GB Scorpio Blue drive, which currently is the market’s highest capacity 2.5” notebook hard drive. We compared it to the 500GB competition already out there.

Against the Odds?

The emerging SSD market seems to threaten conventional hard drives in the mobile space, but it really doesn’t. Although hard drives are no match for a modern SSD in terms of performance and power efficiency, capacity will remain the most relevant cost-related item for years to come. Sure, SSDs could technically match hard drive capacities, but costs would be outrageous. Realistically, high-capacity SSD storage near $100 price points will remain out of reach for the foreseeable future.


The step from 500GB to 640GB is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. When hard drive manufacturers reach a new capacity point (say, 500GB), they try to maintain as many cost items as possible for the transition. If heads or the case can remain largely unchanged for the next models, this will save significant costs versus a redesign.


2008 Shipments
Western Digital
50.4 million units
Hitachi GST
50.3 million units
38.6 million units
34.5 million units
29.8 million units

With the imminent combination of Fujitsu’s and Toshiba’s market share, the Japanese hard drive manufacturer moves to the undisputed number one position for 2.5” drives. Hitachi and WD battle for second and third place, and Seagate follows. We did not get reliable numbers for Samsung, but we expect these to be clearly lower.

This review includes WD’s latest 640GB Scorpio Blue drive, as well as the MJA2500CH, which will be the last mobile hard drive originating from Fujitsu. Future drives will probably all be Toshibas.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 2, 2009 8:11 AM
    toshiba and fujitsu have already merged
  • 3 Hide
    davidgrenier , November 2, 2009 9:29 AM
    Random read + Random write please next time.
  • 1 Hide
    martin33w20 , November 2, 2009 2:45 PM
    While it may not fit every drive bay of the many laptop manufactures. WD has a 12.5mm 1TB 2.5" drive.
  • 0 Hide
    acme_petey , November 2, 2009 3:20 PM
    I bought the WD 500GB drive a few months ago now and am very pleased with it. I don't have benchmarks, but it feels a LOT faster than my older 60GB drive and extended my battery life a bunch. Running Win7 on top of that almost doubled my battery life under normal usage.
  • 0 Hide
    pharge , November 2, 2009 5:38 PM
    Wondering can a 12.5mm 2.5" drive fit in the PS3?

  • -3 Hide
    Zoonie , November 2, 2009 9:12 PM
    phargeWondering can a 12.5mm 2.5" drive fit in the PS3?

    I wouldn't bet on it, but 640gb should be enough for a while :) 
  • 1 Hide
    ssslip , November 4, 2009 7:22 PM
    Yes I too am wondering if the 9.5mm 120GB/250GB 2.5" Toshiba hard drives that Sony ships inside the PS3 Slim can be replaced with a 12.5mm 2.5" drive. I don't have access to a PS3 Slim or a fat 12.5mm drive so I can't confirm myself.
  • 0 Hide
    tmc , November 4, 2009 7:40 PM
    Oh, that's why these HD makers have capacities as low a 80gb.. newsflash... flash memory is beginning to overlap these.. a redesign of the PS3/XBOX be made to use usb flash or sdhc flash instead of a HD at comparable prices!

    I was about to comment that the numbers of hd's shipped in the 2.5" capcacities seemed like oversupply.. but when you factor in the low capacity hd's for consoles, it's about right. Still, anything below 250gb should be discontinued, IMO and come with 16mb cache memory (that's a big spread to have 80gb - 1000gb capacity in HD's when flash is beginning to overlap 64gb & 128gb usb sticks coming out and prices are bound to come down eventually).