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Six 2.5” High-Capacity Notebook Hard Drives

Toshiba MK6461GSYN (640 GB)

The Toshiba series MKxx61GSYN offers up to 640 GB of storage space, primarily targeting home users. Buyers can choose among five sizes: 160 GB, 250 GB, 320 GB, 500 GB, and our test subject, the flagship MK6461GSYN with 640 GB capacity, which costs approximately $90.

Contrary to the other five hard disks we’re testing, the Toshiba disk does not use Advanced Format, though this doesn’t negatively affect height or capacity. While the 500 GB and 640 GB models use two platters, the smaller models use one. All of them, however, are only 9.5 mm (0.374“) high, which is the standard height of notebook drives. According to Toshiba, the storage density is up to 506.3 Gb per square inch.

The MK6461GSYN is equipped with a SATA 3Gb/s interface, a 16 MB cache, and a 7200 RPM spindle speed. Incidentally, Toshiba’s MK6461GSYN and Western Digital’s Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT are the only two members of the ”7200 RPM club” in this test. A version of the MK6461GSYN with a free-fall sensor is available, too. Should a notebook with this drive in it fall, the hard disk retracts its read-write head to the park position, avoiding a crash.


It is hardly surprising that 2.5” hard drives with 7200 RPM spindles achieve the highest data rates. Toshiba doesn’t specify its performance specs, so we’ll simply present the benchmark results. 

Toshiba’s MK6461GSYN achieves a sequential read rate of 89.5 MB/s and an almost identical write speed of 89.4 MB/s. It loses its match-up to the other 7200 RPM drive, Western Digital’s Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT, which barely misses three-digit data rates.

By the way, the 5400 RPM WD Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT almost catches up to Toshiba’s solution, too.

We expected this drive’s power consumption to be higher than the 5400 RPM drives. But, according to its data sheet, Toshiba should actually be on par with the slower-rotating drives. The company specifies 2.1 W while active, and a 0.8 W idle power. Our benchmarks confirm the idle figure, but show higher power consumption under load. Depending on the benchmark, it consumes between 1.5 and 3.2 W.

  • arpitnathany
    On the western digital hard disk page the Western Digital Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT is mentioned as 750 TB please correct it.

    Nice article as a whole
  • arpitnathany
    On a lighter note I would love to have a 750 TB drive at that price
  • acyuta
    Good to have all the latest data in one place. Wish Dell had put in the 750GB Scorpio Black instead of 750GB Momentus in my XPS15.

    One minor point: good to know that i7-920 is now part of Sandybridge. Can you check???
  • JeTJL
    Wonder how well these things survive the drop test. If they can survive a fall that a SSD can sustain then I'll be up for it. Other than that wish higher capacity SSDs become cheaper.
  • Zero_
    Talk about a bad time for a hard drive comparison...
  • howardp6
    GoFlex is a Seagate disk product line not Western Digital
  • AppleBlowsDonkeyBalls
    Western Digital hard drives sound good in theory for laptops, but they're not. I would never use one unless they fix a fatal flaw.

    What flaw? The fact that the hard drive automatically goes to sleep (parks its head) after eight seconds of inactivity, and since this is hardwired into the firmware it completely dismisses what you set in your Power Options in the Windows 7 Control Panel. Why is this bad? Because if the HDD is inactive for more than eight seconds it needs to unpark its head, and that creates a very noticeable lag when launching applications or working with files because the process takes a few seconds to complete, not to mention it puts more stress on the HDD mechanics.

    Unless it's simply for a storage drive where you don't care about performance I recommend you go with Seagate, Hitachi, or Samsung for laptop HDDs instead.
  • cadder
    Current prices are a bit higher than what is mentioned in the article, actually pretty scary:

    Hitachi 750GB $140-160
    Samsung 1TB $220
    WD 750GB $160
    WD 1TB $230
  • ewood
    yeah prices are way off
  • youssef 2010
    I'd go with the WD Scorpio Black