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Efficiency With Video Playback & Conclusion

Scorpio Blue: Big Notebook HDDs Go Mainstream
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Efficiency at Video Playback


Finally, we also looked at the Scorpio Blue’s power consumption when it has to deliver a defined data stream. In the case of this benchmark, this is a MPEG-2 stream for video playback. The 1.2 W result is good, but it could still be better. Hitachi’s Travelstar 7K200 at 160 GB manages to reduce power consumption much further in this mode, reaching an amazing power requirement of just 0.8 W for DVD playback.

Conclusion

We expect new products to outperform their predecessors, and this one does. If we compare the new WD Scorpio Blue 500 GB with its 320 GB forerunner, the new one is significantly faster and more efficient, and it is even cheaper, as drive prices have been decreasing. However, the Scorpio Blue also outperforms all of its 5,400 RPM competitors, with very few exceptions, and we found that it is about as fast as a 2-year old 750 GB Seagate 3.5” desktop hard drive.

This drive required the least power to deliver above average performance, making it the clear winner in our performance per watt benchmarks, and it also achieved nice idle and peak power requirement results. However, the power management seems to be limited by being efficient overall—we did not observe the drive entering a low power idle mode after a longer idle period, nor did its power requirement adjust to limited workloads such as MPEG-2 video streaming.

WD’s new Scorpio Blue offers huge capacities for mobile computing, comes at various popular capacity points, and is quick and efficient. There still is room for improvement when it comes to optimizing power consumption at specific workloads. Is that really necessary? Yes, it is—if WD doesn’t do it, someone else will.

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  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , January 6, 2009 10:26 AM
    Seems to be the perfect drive for my circular livingroom pc. Been impossible to fit a standard 3,5" drive in a it, and this thing's faster than the drive I tried to fit....
  • 0 Hide
    liemfukliang , January 6, 2009 11:18 AM
    Try review the black edition. It seem that the black edition is the fastest 7200 rpm?
  • 0 Hide
    elerick , January 6, 2009 12:53 PM
    This entire review is pounding the idea this drive is the best in this category but it could be better. Yet another point in the article is that it is better and cheaper than it's previous version. I'm sure WD will come up with a "green" laptop hard drive with these idle power features the author referred to quite a number of times, but until then this drive looks awesome. I myself have a SSD, and tweaked with the OCZ webpage suggestions. But as my 64GB was quickly filled after one months worth of typical use I find myself looking for a daily use hard drive once again. This might just be it, or the WD Scorpio Black.
  • 0 Hide
    cjl , January 6, 2009 1:43 PM
    I thought the Seagate Momentus 5400.6 has been out for longer than this drive...

    I believe it is 250GB/platter, and achieves 500GB in a 2 platter configuration, just like this WD. I'd actually be curious to see a comparison of the two.

    Oh, and liemfukliang: the black editions are all 7200RPM. There aren't any 7200RPM 500GB drives on the market yet, though Seagate's 7200.4 drives should be out soon at 250GB/platter.
  • -5 Hide
    talzara , January 6, 2009 1:46 PM
    Fewer platters is better? Since when?

    The more platters you have, the more disk accesses you have working in parallel. That's the whole point of RAID 0 and RAID 10.
  • 3 Hide
    cjl , January 6, 2009 1:56 PM
    talzaraFewer platters is better? Since when?The more platters you have, the more disk accesses you have working in parallel. That's the whole point of RAID 0 and RAID 10.

    Since always. Hard drives don't access more than one platter simultaneously. The heads aren't perfectly enough aligned - it can only be perfectly aligned on one track (on one platter) at once.

    For a given capacity, fewer platters means a higher data density, which means higher data rates. Don't believe me? Look at these benchmarks in this article compared to those for the 3 platter 500GB drives (I believe they were reviewed a while back). Note that this one absolutely flattens the older ones in performance.
  • 0 Hide
    TheGreatGrapeApe , January 6, 2009 3:04 PM
    Nice review, but, DANG !!

    I just got my WD Blue 320GB for Thanksgiving (Canuck Version) last fall, would've been nice to get this, but considering I got it for $80C /$65US and the new one is $140C right now, I don't feel too bad. :sol: 

    Anywhoo, gonna grab an SSD soon enough anyways, so it won't matter so much.

    Thanks again for the look at the new drive. :hello: 
  • 0 Hide
    Siffy , January 6, 2009 4:50 PM
    cjlI thought the Seagate Momentus 5400.6 has been out for longer than this drive...I believe it is 250GB/platter, and achieves 500GB in a 2 platter configuration, just like this WD. I'd actually be curious to see a comparison of the two.Oh, and liemfukliang: the black editions are all 7200RPM. There aren't any 7200RPM 500GB drives on the market yet, though Seagate's 7200.4 drives should be out soon at 250GB/platter.


    hardware .info shows the 500gb 5400.6 released on 11/04 and the 500gb Blue released on 12/03, but hardwaresphere did a release article on the Blue way back on 9/14. But yeah, both have been out long enough they should have been compared as the only two 2 platter/4 head 500gb 2.5" drives on the market.

    Seagate's data sheet on the 7200.4 line, which only contains a 250gb and a 500gb model, does not specify how many platters the drives contain, but I would assume 2 in the 500gb and 1 in the 250gb as they are 9.5mm drives.

    Maybe we can get a really comprehensive review of all the drives (and in both platter counts) once the 7200.4 series has hit the shelves. If Tom's is looking for hints on things to review today, I'd like to see how the single platter WD RE3 and Seagate ES drives (250/320GB) preform compared to their 1TB/750GB flagships. I know most people don't care about 250GB drives these days, but from any user tests on forums I've seen they give VelociRaptors good competition for throughput, and you can build a basic Raid 5 array out of them for less than 1 300GB VR.
  • 1 Hide
    Siffy , January 6, 2009 4:57 PM
    These huge 5400rpm notebook drives are perfect for someone like me with a dual bay laptop. It currently only has a Momentus 7200.2 160gb and a 5400rpm 120gb in it, but once the OCZ Vertex drives are out I'll be looking to replace them for better performance and be able to stop lugging around a 500gb external drive at the same time. Like cjl, I'd be interested in a Momentus 5400.6 500gb review to know which drive will be best on my battery and heat on my lap.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , January 7, 2009 4:04 AM
    talzaraFewer platters is better? Since when?The more platters you have, the more disk accesses you have working in parallel. That's the whole point of RAID 0 and RAID 10.

    And how do you expect to fit 4-5 platters inside a notebook and still keep it a notebook?
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , January 7, 2009 5:57 AM
    talzaraFewer platters is better? Since when?The more platters you have, the more disk accesses you have working in parallel. That's the whole point of RAID 0 and RAID 10.


    Fewer platters mean higher transfer rates (if assuming same effective amount of space on the 2 and 3 platter drives). Also, all heads move to the same position, at the same time, so having more heads won't improve seek time or anything.

    Besides, fewer platters mean less stress on the motor, fewer parts that can go wrong, lower power requirement, and sometimes even lower noise levels.
  • -1 Hide
    pearl298 , January 26, 2009 12:58 AM
    I just purchased the 1Tb version and was disappointed to find that it was bundled with a bunch of "30 day trial" software that did not reveal the 'trial" nature until after it was installed. The hardware looks great,but if they have to me about one thing, what else are they lying about? Back to the vendor it goes ...
  • 1 Hide
    codeslinger42 , January 29, 2009 2:23 AM
    OffTopic:

    Let me get this straight, you bought a 1TB HD because presumably you wanted a big fast inexpensive HD. The drive came with some "free" bonus software which turned out to be trial-ware.

    And now you want to return the drive, not because there is anything wrong with the HD but because of the software?

    Hmmm, maybe I missed something? Was there something about the packaging that lead you to choose this drive specifically because of the included software?

    Maybe it's just me, but I still remember the day not that long ago when a 1 Gig HD cost $1000 and came with no software. That's right disk drives used to cost $1000 per gig and the biggest you could get was about 5 gig.

    Why not just ignore the software?

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 4, 2009 1:31 AM
    What about heat? These babies usually rest just under your hand palms.

    My current 320 WD Scorpio Blue can get pretty warm inside my MacBook Pro. With the aluminium casing, it can feel pretty damn hot.
  • 0 Hide
    customisbetter , March 6, 2009 10:39 PM
    i just purchased two of the Scorpio black 320s for mu laptops and damn they are awesomely fast. My old Macbook had a 60 gb 5400 rpm turd in it before. The reads were so slow that it was bottlenecking my 10/100 network connection. lol.

    thanks for the awesome review! i am glad you compared as many drives as you did, especially mine. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    speedbump1963 , April 10, 2009 11:16 PM
    I really liked the review. I was looking t the DIY notebooks and didnt really know if a SSD or mechanical hard drive would be the best. I have a WD Cavalir Black 1 TB in my desktop and love it. I wish the WD blue had a higher cache than 8 megs. but in all it was an excellent review. very informative to ones considering a future purchase. Good job!A very well informed article of numerous hard drives.
  • 0 Hide
    glauco , April 23, 2009 10:29 PM
    Hallo. Has anyone successfully put a WD5000BEVT into a MacBook? I'm considering it!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 24, 2009 4:47 AM
    I put one in my MacBook Pro, glauco. It's been a solid champ for a few months now.
  • 0 Hide
    glauco , April 24, 2009 6:48 AM
    Thanks for the info. I've googled further and found that others have happily done the same. Ciao!