2.5" HDD Galore: Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba

Seagate Momentus 5400.4 (250 GB - 5400 RPM)

Seagate's new Momentus comes a bit late when compared to other hard drive families, which reached 250 GB capacities half a year earlier. A 320 GB notebook hard drive isn't even on the horizon yet. To make up for it, Seagate also offers its Momentus 5400.3 FDE (full disk encryption) as well as the Momentus 5400 PSD Laptop Hybrid Hard drive.

Still, 250 GB offers sufficient storage capacity for enthusiast users on the go. The Momentus 5400.4 is available at 250, 200, 160 and 120 GB, all based on single or twin-platter designs. Like the Samsung Spinpoint M6, the Momentus 5400.4 is equipped with an 8 MB cache memory and utilizes a Serial ATA/300 interface to connect to your notebook. Native Command Queuing is supported, as with all modern drives.

Seagate refers to this drive's robustness, sustaining up to 900 G (non-operating). We did not find comparison values for the Samsung Spinpoint M6 nor the Toshiba GSY series, but 900 G certainly is above average.

Performance-wise, the new Momentus did well, although it almost fades in the light of the new Samsung Spinpoint M6. We measured a 3.7 W maximum power requirement, which is as much as 7,200 RPM drives require today; the 1.0 W idle power is an average result. We are pretty sure that this can be accounted for by the fast SATA/300 interface. The 65 MB/s maximum transfer rate and 50 MB/s average speeds are top of class if you leave the new Samsung out.

Seagate and Fujitsu are the only drive makers that actually offer SATA/300 bandwidth. While this is obvious in the interface bandwidth test, it does not make much of a difference in the other, more relevant test runs. This drive performs well because it is well engineered, not because it utilizes SATA/300. If your notebook offers a BIOS item to reduce the link speed to 150 MB/s we recommend doing so, as it can save almost half a watt of power use without having a measurable impact on real-world storage benchmarks.