Three 7200 RPM Notebook Hard Drives For 2011


According to our experience, $200 or more for a fast solid state drive is too expensive for most folks, especially when you take limited capacities into account. You don't end up just buying the SSD; you also end up spending more money on a conventional hard drive able to hold less performance-sensitive apps and user data. Compared to a solution like that, all three hard drives in this reviews look almost like bargains: the new 750 GB Momentus 7200.5 costs only $100, the Samsung Spinpoint MP4 640 GB is around $80, and the WD Scorpio Black 500 GB is $70-80.

Western Digital’s drive has been on the market for a few months, which you can tell, given its maximum transfer rates. This slightly older design cannot keep pace with the Samsung and Seagate drives, although the difference is small enough to not have a serious impact on benchmark results. In fact, it’s WD’s WD5000BEKT that offers the most consistent results across all tests, meaning that it doesn’t disappoint anywhere. In addition, it’s the only product with a nice five-year warranty.

The new Seagate Momentus 7200.5 is the most efficient drive. It achieves these results by delivering the highest throughput and better I/O performance at lower power consumption than the competitors. Unfortunately, the drive doesn’t give us a compelling performance in PCMark, making it a good choice for mobile workstations that require lots of storage. Consumer notebooks are better off with the Samsung or WD drive, also because Seagate’s power consumption at HD video playback is twice as high as on the two others.

Finally there is Samsung’s Spinpoint MP4. At 640 GB capacity it’s in between the two others, which also applies to many of the results. It isn’t a high flier in I/O performance and its average is merely good in PCMark, but it does not have any significant weaknesses either. Be sure you know about the operating temperature, which has to be between 5 and 55°C, instead 0-60°C with the two other drives.