HGST Travelstar 7K1000 Review: A 1 TB Notebook Drive At 7200 RPM

HGST's Travelstar 7K1000 is the first 1000 GB notebook drive we've tested with a 7200 RPM spindle speed. Is this hard disk a performance crown winner? We run our standard suite of benchmarks on it and compare the repository to 13 competitors.

One-terabyte notebook hard drives aren't exactly new. You can already find the Hitachi Travelstar 5K1000, Toshiba's MQ01ABD100, the same company's MK1059GSM, and Samsung's Spinpoint M8 HN-M101MBB. However, those four 1 TB disks share one thing in common: they trade in their speed for higher capacity. None of them spin faster than 5400 RPM. In contrast, smaller 750 GB drives can be found in both 5400 and 7200 RPM flavors.

HGST (formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies), now a subsidiary of Western Digital, set out to change this with its Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630, a 1 TB notebook-oriented drive sporting two platters with 500 GB each, and rotating at 7200 RPM. It features a 16 MB data cache and a 6 Gb/s SATA interface. The manufacturer specifies a wide range of applications for the Travelstar 7K1000: notebooks, desktop PCs, compact gaming PCs, video devices, and mobile storage.

Combining high-density platters with a fast spindle, we're eager to see if the Travelstar 7K1000 can snatch the performance crown away from Seagate's Momentus XT, a 750 GB, 7200 RPM drive. The HGST drive steps into the ring with an immediate advantage, though: its price. You'll find the HTS721010A9E630 for as little as $80 or so online, while the smaller hybrid hard drive goes for about $100. A 1 TB version of Seagate's Momentus XT, now referred to as the Laptop SSHD, comes armed with 64 MB of data cache, 8 GB of NAND flash, and a $120 price tag on Newegg. We don't have our hands on that one yet, but are looking forward to running some more hybrid hard drive-friendly benchmarks once its lands so we can properly compare the performance of both technologies.

So, is a lower price the HGST drive's only leg up, or does its performance rival the mechanical competition, too?

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19 comments
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  • stevenrix
    I have 5 of these hard-drives, they have been on the market for a while now, at least for the last 7 months, and the lowest price i found in the US was $64 for the 7200 rpm which is ridiculously cheap (p/n 0J22423).
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  • acktionhank
    Great review.

    I can't wait to see a review of one of the newer 5400 RPM Hybrid drives from Seagate as well as the 7200RPM 3.5" Hybrid drives when they arrive.

    I just installed a 1TB 2.5" "Superspeed" SSHD into my fathers HTPC and it seems to work great.

    I'm thinking about buying the 2TB 3.5" SSHD when Seagate releases it.
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  • TimThrill
    I think the cache of this disk is 32MB but not 16MB.
    1
  • Traciatim
    Please be fair to the Hybrid disks when you test them. They benchmark in synthetics pretty poorly because it's essentially just a spinning disk in that case. Do some tests like boot time, shut down time, launch the 4 most used applications at the exact same time . . . It's hard to capture it, but the main advantage of the Hybrid drives is that the stuff you use day to day just feels snappy. It's the same with Intel SRT, which I use on my main machine. It was really hard to tell if SRT was even working or doing anything, and then one day I had to turn it off as a troubleshooting step for an issue I was having and holy crap I hated using my computer cause everything takes so long to respond.
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  • typicalGeek
    In the last paragraph, I'm quite sure that the cache size of the Seagate 1TB SSHD is NOT 64 GB. Without looking up the specifications myself, I'd assume that the cache size is much more likely 64 MB. (Only off by a factor of 1000. But who needs accuracy on a technology forum anyway?)
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  • master9716
    The Momentus XT has been replaced with the Much faster Momentus SSHD wich are 2x faster in some cases
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  • danwat1234
    @master9716, the Momentus XT is a 7200RPM laptop hybrid drive, the SSHD is 5400RPM. Slower mechanicals, faster flash.

    Typos in article: last page, not 64GB cache but probably 64MB.
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  • AcemanX
    @stevenrix where did you find it for 64, the lowest I bought mine for, and Ive been waiting for months looking slickdeals.net, newegg, shopper etcc.. was 69.99 at B & h Audio and Video, currently 74.99, and yea this is the best 1tb notebook drive you can buy
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  • AcemanX
    also this drive has 32MB cache, not 16...
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  • jimmysmitty
    137290 said:
    @master9716, the Momentus XT is a 7200RPM laptop hybrid drive, the SSHD is 5400RPM. Slower mechanicals, faster flash. Typos in article: last page, not 64GB cache but probably 64MB.


    He is right though as it is replacing the Momentus XT and thus makes this comparison a bit old.

    If I remember correctly, Seagate is replacing almost all of their HDDs with the SSHD tech, even desktop variants.

    1376295 said:
    @stevenrix where did you find it for 64, the lowest I bought mine for, and Ive been waiting for months looking slickdeals.net, newegg, shopper etcc.. was 69.99 at B & h Audio and Video, currently 74.99, and yea this is the best 1tb notebook drive you can buy


    I would be able to agree with it being the best. I have had a lot of systems coming in with the newer Hitatchi AF laptop HDDs at work and almost every one of them are bad. I haven't seen that many bad from one brand/model for a long time. Might just be the 7mm versions of the drive but its still odd.

    I guess I will have to wait and see if a lot of these die off too early before I can decide if they are good or bad drives to have. I know I wont suggest the 7mm Hitatchi laptop HDDs for now.
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  • laststop311
    too bad the largest mobile hdd's are 1.5tb now, and of course the 1.5tb drives are 5400 rpm. I hate how the highest capacity is always 5400 rpm but im not willing to give up 500gb for 7200 rpm
    1
  • g-unit1111
    Oh if only the 1TB Samsung 840 Evo would drop in price... would make this thing look like an antique by comparison. :lol:
    1
  • Someone Somewhere
    The IOMeter Streaming Writes graph is mislabeled - it says streaming reads at the top.
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  • grandleaf
    Quite impressive.
    -2
  • g-unit1111
    111219 said:
    Please be fair to the Hybrid disks when you test them. They benchmark in synthetics pretty poorly because it's essentially just a spinning disk in that case. Do some tests like boot time, shut down time, launch the 4 most used applications at the exact same time . . . It's hard to capture it, but the main advantage of the Hybrid drives is that the stuff you use day to day just feels snappy. It's the same with Intel SRT, which I use on my main machine. It was really hard to tell if SRT was even working or doing anything, and then one day I had to turn it off as a troubleshooting step for an issue I was having and holy crap I hated using my computer cause everything takes so long to respond.


    This isn't a hybrid drive, nor an SSD. It's a regular, run of the mill mechanical HD with a large capacity and a faster RPM.
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  • 10tacle
    I'll likely be upgrading my future PS4 now on backorder - which likely will be a 500GB version, with a 1TB drive. This would suit it just fine as the current WD Black 500GB 7200RPM currently residing in my PS3 is approaching 80% full (upgraded from the factory 250GB two years ago).
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  • hero1
    Great review. Now it's time to get one of these for my sister-in-laws laptop. She will surely love it even though I am trying to push for a SSD. And get one for myself for backup on my PC as I have grown tired of having just one backup source.
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  • Traciatim
    537231 said:
    This isn't a hybrid drive, nor an SSD. It's a regular, run of the mill mechanical HD with a large capacity and a faster RPM.


    Maybe you should read the article where they can't wait to test this 7200RPM drive up against the new 5400RPM Seagate Hybrid drives. I was just pointing out where hybrid drives will look pretty terrible on synthetics like random read tests, they will excel at usability so the benchmark suite used should reflect that.
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  • wallyb132
    In the second paragraph of this article it states that the Travelstar 7k1000 has a 16mb cache, that is incorrect, it has a 32mb cache.

    See the specifications tab on this HGST web page:

    http://www.hgst.com/hard-drives/mobile-drives/9.5mm-mobile-hard-drives/travelstar-7k1000
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