Notebook Hard Drives: 750GB And 640GB Models Reviewed

Samsung Spinpoint M7E HM641JI (640GB)

Samsung’s latest drive, the Spinpoint M7E, is available at capacities of 160, 250, 320, 500 and 640 gigabytes. The 105 g weight applies to the 500GB and 640GB models, as these are based on two rotating platters. The datasheet mentions a peak throughput of 138 MB/s, which applies to reads or writes from or to the drive’s 8MB cache memory (and is thus a bit misleading). Physical throughput reaches between 46 and 95 MB/s on sequential reads and writes. This makes the new Spinpoint M7E the second fastest drive in this roundup. The SATA 3Gb/s interface with NCQ is mandatory these days, but technically not a requirement for this hard drive to run at full performance.

This hard drive spins at 5,400 RPM like the other contenders, which ensures a low power requirement of 0.7W and operating power of up to 2.7W. We found 0.85W idle power and 2.5W activity power on the datasheet, which is close to our measurements. If you intend to run the drive in a hot environment, then note that Samsung and Toshiba specify an operating temperature of 5°C to 55°C, while Seagate and WD allow 0°C  to 60°C.

Once again, we can say for sure that this drive was clearly optimized for maximum throughput at the expense of I/O performance. Of the four new drives, Samsung’s delivers the least I/O capability. This negatively impacts the M7E’s efficiency under high I/O workloads; other drives deliver much better workstation performance per watt. Streaming efficiency and application performance are average, according to PCMark Vantage.