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Reviewed: 2.5" Notebook Hard Drives From Toshiba And Hitachi

Toshiba MK5056GSY (500GB)

The new, high-performance Toshiba MK5056GSY is the successor of Fujitsu’s hard drive lines, as Toshiba acquired Fujitsu’s entire hard drive business. Toshiba wanted Fujitsu's market share, but it also wanted the company's enterprise products and expertise.

A look at the new GSY family datasheet reveals that the basic specs are similar to the Hitachi Travelstar 7K500: 7,200 RPM, 16MB buffer, various capacities between 160GB and 500GB, and similar power specifications. Operating shock is limited to 325 G versus 400 G; the weight of 115 g is identical. SATA 3 Gb/s is still mandatory.

Toshiba published a MTTF number (mean time to failure) of 600,000 hours. Enterprise products typically have to reach at least a million hours, but this number is great for consumer devices. While MTBF describes any type of failure, MTTF is usually used for non-repairable failures. Note that this number entails running a large number of devices to find out when they’d eventually start to show issues. It conveys an average value, a mid-point in the failure bell curve.

The MK5056GSY has a slightly quicker access time than the Hitachi and Seagate drives, and it almost reaches the Travelstar 7K500’s 108 MB/s throughput. Its I/O performance is superior, though, and the Toshiba drive returned great scores in the PCMark Vantage HDD test, particularly for Windows Vista startup and application loading. In the other test runs, it remained slightly behind Hitachi. The 1W idle power is about the same value that other drives showed.

Unfortunately, power for HD video playback was much higher than on the two other 7,200 RPM drives: 1.7W versus 1.1W and 1.3W for Hitachi and Seagate, respectively. In exchange, the MK5056GSY is the most efficient 7,200 RPM drive when it comes to high I/O activity.

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