Next-Gen 7,200 RPM Notebook Hard Drives

Samsung Spinpoint MP2 HM251JJ

Samsung has achieved great results in the hard drive space. Not only was it the first to offer a high-performance, three platter 3.5” terabyte hard drive, but it also introduced 2.5” and 1.8” hard drives within a relatively short amount of time. Today, Samsung participates in this roundup with the Spinpoint MP2 MH251JJ, which is a state-of-the-art 7,200 RPM notebook hard drive.

Capacities and Features

In contrast to its competitors, Samsung cannot currently offer more than 250 GB capacity, which is 22% less than 320 GB. But it does offer smaller models at 200 GB, 160 GB, 120 GB, 100 GB and 80 GB. All drives run on SATA/300 interface with native command queuing (NCQ), and all come with a 16 MB DRAM cache memory.


Samsung specifies an access time of 11 ms, which is shorter than the 12 ms specified by Hitachi. Still, we measured longer average access times of 17.6 ms. This represents the longest access time of all 2.5” 7,200 RPM drives. The I/O performance mostly reflects the access time.

This drive wasn’t made for I/O intensive applications in servers and workstations. This is a consumer drive for upper mainstream notebooks, as the throughput results are very good. Almost 86 MB/s maximum throughput is very close to the results of the Seagate Momentus 7200.3, which offers 89 MB/s. But we found the minimum transfer rates to be more impressive, as this drive stays above 46 MB/s at all times. Last but not least, Samsung does very well in the PCMark05 application benchmark.

Spinpoint MP2 is Not Efficient

The Spinpoint MP2 has a downside, though, which is its relatively high power consumption: 1.42 W idle power is more than the other drives require, as they stay between 0.95 and 1.12 W. This is 49% more idle power compared to the most efficient drive, or almost 27% more idle power requirement than the next closest competitor. Our performance per watt benchmarks show the same result. The performance of the Spinpoint MP2 is nice, but the high power requirements spoil the efficiency results: 4.59 W peak power is too much.

Even though the Spinpoint MP2 also has a low power idle mode, its 1.06 W rating is still clearly above the low power idle measurements we took for its competitors, and it requires 2.0 W power to provide a DVD stream. The competitors in this roundup are between 1.9 W (Seagate Momentus 7200.3) and 1.3 W (WD Scorpio Black).