Next-Gen 7,200 RPM Notebook Hard Drives

Results: Power Requirements

Finally, we looked at the power requirement during DVD file playback off the hard drive. This test is useful to check whether or not the drives switch to a more power efficient low-power idle state when they only have to deliver a controlled amount of data.

Western Digital did the best job, requiring only 1.3 W to play a DVD video. Hitachi’s Travelstar 7K320 required 1.6 W, while Seagate and Samsung were at around 2.0 W. This does make a noticeable difference if you keep playing video for a long period of time off a notebook using the battery, especially if you made sure that other power drains require only as much power as necessary (such as the Display and processor).

Here we see a good overview of the idle power and peak power requirements of the candidates. The Samsung Spinpoint MP2 requires as much power as the old Hitachi Travelstar 7K100, which was the company’s first generation 7,200 RPM notebook drive. Seagate and Hitachi did the best job when it comes to basic power requirements.

The last chart shows the drives’ idle power after having been idle for a period of 10 minutes—this allows the drives to switch into a low power idle mode without stopping the drive spindle. The WD Scorpio Black and Seagate’s Momentus 7200.3 do very well here. If you don’t need the hard drive, they both require less than 0.8 W idle power, which comes close to many flash SSDs, and is better than most of the first-generation flash SSDs that had not been optimized for efficiency.