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Notebook Hard Drives: 750GB And 640GB Models Reviewed

Notebook Hard Drives: 750GB And 640GB Models Reviewed
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Remember when 500GB was the most you could get from a notebook drive? It seems like most vendors have made the transition to 640GB. Western Digital even has its own 750GB model that fits within the 9.5 mm z-height. So, which of these drives is the best?

Up until recently, 640GB was the maximum notebook hard drive capacity. There are two exceptions, though. Hitachi has yet to release a 2.5” drive beyond 500GB, and Western Digital is shipping a 750GB now. We secured samples of all 640GB or higher drives for this mobile storage roundup.

Is Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Hitting Limits?

Perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology was introduced in 2005 as a replacement for longitudinal recording. The perpendicular approach allows hard drive manufacturers to move data bits closer together. This significantly helped to increase data density over several product generations and across all hard drive segments. PMR was necessary to move beyond 500GB on 3.5” hard drives, and it enabled 2.5” notebook hard drives to go from 250GB to where they are today.

However, there are limits to magnetic recording, the most important one being the superparamagnetic effect, wherein individual magnetized bits start influencing each other. When this happens, magnetization can suddenly reverse and the data represented by those bits gets scrambled. This is why it will be important to deploy new technologies, so that further increases in data density can be achieved. Two much-discussed technologies are patterned media and heat-assisted recording. Patterned media takes advantage of photolithography to structure the disc surface into uniform segments, rather than a loose bunch of magnetic grains. The pattern enables a decrease in the space required to store a single bit. Heat-assisted recording utilizes a laser to heat a highly-stable magnetic compound, such as iron-platinum.

4K Sector Size Coming

Right now, all firms are transitioning their mainstream products to a sector size of 4KB, instead of 512 bytes. This decreases the capacity required to store ECC data for error correction, and hence frees capacity for the user. Please read the article Characteristics of 4K Sector Size to learn about the performance pitfalls that still exist with operating systems older than Windows 7 and Vista.

Let’s now look at the four highest-capacity 2.5” notebook hard drives available at a z-height of 9.5 mm: the Samsung Spinpoint M7E, Seagate Barracuda 5,400 RPM, Toshiba GSX 640GB, and Western Digital Scorpio Blue 750GB.

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  • 1 Hide
    wintermint , July 1, 2010 4:33 AM
    Can now store more porn :) 
  • 0 Hide
    scook9 , July 1, 2010 5:13 AM
    And I just got a WD6400BEVT :( 
  • 0 Hide
    guid_aaa000001 , July 1, 2010 7:17 AM
    Where's the Sofa girl?
  • -3 Hide
    Onus , July 1, 2010 12:03 PM
    I don't see a need for a drive this size on a laptop. If it's your primary system, either you'd probably be better served by a faster-all-around desktop PC, OR, you should probably use one or more external drives to keep large amounts of data backed up and generally safer. If it isn't your primary system, you'd be better served by a machine with an 80GB SSD; much faster, quieter, cooler, and has better battery life.
  • 5 Hide
    WyomingKnott , July 1, 2010 1:47 PM
    jtt283I don't see a need for a drive this size on a laptop. If it's your primary system, either you'd probably be better served by a faster-all-around desktop PC, OR, you should probably use one or more external drives to keep large amounts of data backed up and generally safer. If it isn't your primary system, you'd be better served by a machine with an 80GB SSD; much faster, quieter, cooler, and has better battery life.

    Sigh. Jtt283, this was a reasonable and clearly-written response, from the point of view of a user like you. But there are lots of users who are not like you. I have no use for dual graphics cards, but my home PC does need its Ultra-320 SCSI adapter. Be open-minded and allow for other kinds of user.
    Some possible uses for such a drive would be
    o What Wintermint said
    o A portable recording studio
    o Enterprise storage arrays in datacenters are moving to smaller drives. While these particular drives may not be enterprise-grade, they could be a start in that direction and lead to higher-density storage racks.
    o Portable diagnostic imaging and reference texts for fourth-world doctors or medical missionaries.
    o At this point I'm just making things up to be silly.
  • 0 Hide
    Kahless01 , July 1, 2010 1:50 PM
    you use these as storage drive on desktop replacement laptops. i have an 80gb intel ssd as the primary on my laptop and id like to upgrade the 250gb to 750 to backup more movies. and i cant take a faster all around desktop pc with me. and lugging around another one or more external drives with your laptop kinda defeats the portability purpose. think then post.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 1, 2010 2:58 PM
    750Gb in a laptop, thats progress!!!

    Persnally, could never justify it unless it was my only machine, and then I would have similar size backup external drive, just seems a tiny overkill,

    and besides, if you are doing the whole massive hog thing, wouldnt going the extra step and doing it 7200rpm be a better thing, then I would be really interested!

    Still, you cant beat a 80gb ssd for speed and power usage and reliability in a portable enviroment|!
  • 0 Hide
    asiaprime , July 1, 2010 4:22 PM
    just because it's a laptop drive, doesn't mean it HAS to go into a laptop. my desktop uses 2 wd scorpio black since my case only has 2x3.5" internal bays. switching to 2.5" drives doubles the amount of drives I can put in it. with speeds & densities of these sized drives in raid 0, it can deliver performance higher than the desktop counterpart. this article is useful to me :D 
  • -1 Hide
    lradunovic77 , July 1, 2010 5:05 PM
    Buying any of these drives is wrong investment. Get Intel G2 SSD 160Gb, that is what every laptop needs.
  • 1 Hide
    MrCommunistGen , July 1, 2010 6:34 PM
    On page 1: "Seagate Barracuda 5,400 RPM" Seagate's mobile line is the Momentus series.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 1, 2010 7:12 PM
    According to the specs, the Toshiba 500 gig is faster and consumes lower power than the 640Gig drive...
  • 1 Hide
    SlickyFats , July 1, 2010 7:38 PM
    750Gb @ 9.5mm sounds like this is going to be my new hard drive for my PS3. No such thing as too much space. Going from a 320Gb (full) 7,200 RPM WD to this will be much welcomed freedom to download more.
  • 0 Hide
    user 18 , July 1, 2010 7:49 PM
    I probably wouldn't use these as internal HDDs, but I would use them in slimline external enclosures. They are easy to carry, require only a USB cable, and make it easier to move large files around. They take up less room than most power bricks, and are an easier shape to slide into a laptop bag pocket, or even in a pants pocket. Would love one of these, but they're out of my budget.
  • 1 Hide
    rolli59 , July 1, 2010 8:35 PM
    As a notebook drive they are huge. I am using 250GB in my work laptop now and not even using half of it, there of approximately 20GB of music and some movies on top of that.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 1, 2010 9:37 PM
    ll
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 1, 2010 9:38 PM
    1tb ?

    http://www.dabs.ie/category/components-and-storage,hard-drives,internal-hard-drives/11154-41580000-52780000#filters
  • 0 Hide
    rana_kirti , July 2, 2010 5:20 AM
    Is the 750GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue faster than a HItachi Travelstar 7200 RPM 7K500 ?
  • -1 Hide
    Gandalf , July 2, 2010 2:49 PM
    I'm waiting for crystal storage devices.
  • 2 Hide
    WarraWarra , July 2, 2010 5:45 PM
    Why not the WD 1TB ?
    "Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD10TPVT 1TB 5200 RPM 8MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive"

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136545
  • -1 Hide
    WarraWarra , July 2, 2010 5:56 PM
    Quote:
    However, one drive stands out slightly. The 750GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue isn’t only the highest-capacity 2.5” hard drive available today (among 9.5 mm drives), it’s also one of the fastest.


    Hello when was this article written back in 2009 ?

    WD10TPVT 1TB 5200 Release Date 24 March 2010.

    LMAO
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