Notebook hard drives spinning at 5,400 or even 7,200 RPM are no longer the rarity they once were. That said, these faster rotation speeds are only gradually becoming common for high-capacity disks; for the most part, you have had to choose between the greatest amount of storage space or the highest performance.
Increases in hard drive speed will undoubtedly continue in the notebook sector. The reason is simple: higher rotational speeds lead to boosts in performance, as data transfer rates and access times benefit equally. The only drawback is a slight negative impact on battery life.
Of course, so-called desktop replacement notebooks - those relatively huge portables that try to do everything a desktop can - are now all the rage with many users. They are popular among people who do not have enough room for a desktop PC and a monitor, or those who commute regularly between two locations. Performance and functionality is most important for these applications, not necessarily light weight or long battery life.
But whatever you choose, the trend is definitely toward more speed. Also consider that in about 12 to 18 months, under Windows "Longhorn", hybrid hard drives will be able to stop the spinning platters dead in their tracks when idle, such as while surfing the Net, composing text or navigating a spreadsheet. Flash memory on the hard drive that takes over operation should make this work. This will also bring down a system's boot time enormously, because the time lost starting up the drive mechanism is prevented by an immediate readout of the flash memory.
But back to the present for the moment, and Toshiba's latest top model. The MK1032GAX promises to combine high performance with a high capacity of 100 GB. Let's see how it fares.