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Hitachi TravelStar 5K160 (120 GB, UltraATA)

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Hitachi already announced its Travelstar 7K200, which is a 200 GB 2.5" hard drive at 7,200 RPM. However, it hasn't arrived at our test lab and probably is too expensive for most of us. The TravelStar 5K160 still is the 5,400 RPM mainstream hard drive, and it's available at 40, 60, 80 GB (single platter), 120 or 160 GB (two platters). There are SATA/150 versions or models with UltraATA/100 interface.

With an idle power requirement of 0.5 W, the 5K160 and a load requirement of 2.4 W is an excellent result, especially for a two-platter hard drive. You'll quickly realize that the UltraATA interface seems to account for the high efficiency, as the SATA versions (see below) are clearly more energy-hungry.

A 17.6-ms average access time is very acceptable; a 39 MB/s maximum data transfer rate is not. Interestingly, the 80 GB UltraATA version is clearly quicker, because it delivers 46 MB/s. This is reflected by the application benchmark PCMark05, because the drive doesn't perform much better than 4,200 RPM drives in this category. Clearly, the Travelstar 5K160 at 120 GB and UltraATA interface is a great choice if you're looking for an efficient 2.5" hard drive. However, other products deliver much better performance.

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