Half a Terabyte On Your Notebook

Three Platters: Hitachi Travelstar 5K500, 500GB

We would have reviewed this drive much earlier, but Hitachi did not send a review sample right away. Hence the Travelstar 5K500 has been on the market for a few months now; it is still Hitachi’s top model, though. As it is based on a three platter design and a height of 12.5 mm, it will not fit into many mainstream notebook designs that require 9.5 mm drives.

However, there are other applications where the Travelstar 7K500 makes perfect sense. Portable hard drives and similar solutions are one possible area, as are compact home PCs based on Intel’s Atom processor or other small form factor solutions. Wherever users want to combine low noise, low thermals and high capacity, this drive can find a place.

Technical Details

Hitachi offers two models, 400GB and 500GB, although the price difference is small. As you can tell from the model number, the drive spins at 5,400 RPM. Serial ATA 3 Gb/s was chosen to connect to host PCs. All drives have an 8 MB cache memory and a specified operating temperature of 5-55 °C.


Hitachi states an average seek time of 12 ms, which translates into an average access time of 18.5 ms in our benchmark tests. This isn’t quite a fantastic result, as other 5,400 RPM 2.5” hard drives reach 16-17 ms, but it is fast enough for storage applications and mainstream systems.

The maximum throughput of almost 63 MB/s is also only average: Hitachi’s double-platter Travelstar 5K320 is faster at almost 65 MB/s. However, the three platter Travelstar 5K500 is as efficient as Hitachi says: the manufacturer states that it is proud of maintaining almost the same power envelope for this model as that of its 320GB predecessor, which we can confirm: a 3.0 W maximum power requirement and 1.0 W idle power are excellent for a three platter solution.