Three 7200 RPM Notebook Hard Drives For 2011

Samsung Spinpoint MP4 (640 GB, HM640JJ)

Samsung’s Spinpoint MP4 is currently available at up to 640 GB. Like both of its competitors in this piece, it is a two-platter drive that stores 320 GB on each of them. It connects to your system via SATA 3.0 Gb/s. A faster interface is not required, as the drive reaches a peak throughput from its 16 MB cache of almost 204 MB/s. This can still be handled through SATA, which has a 300 MB/s ceiling. 

The drive’s real-life throughput performance gets close to 120 MB/s, which is actually the highest result of all 7200 RPM 2.5” consumer hard drives on the market today. However, Segate’s new 750 GB Momentus 7200.5 maintains a higher minimum transfer rate.

The 15.4 ms access time is very close to the numbers we’ve seeon on the Seagate and WD drive; only WD manages to deliver faster drive access. However, Samsung falls a bit behind in our I/O testing, where Seagate and WD clearly take the lead. Users who multitask a lot should go for one of the other drives, as the difference is noticeable. Nevertheless, Samsung's Spinpoint MP4 does well in PCMark Vantage’s HDD test, where it reaches good results in most of the benchmark sections, including Windows startup. As an application drive, the MP4 does a good job.

Samsung specifies a low power idle power of 0.85 W. Our idle testing lets the drive spin for five minutes and we measured 1.1 W, which is higher than the company's spec. Reads or writes are specified at 2.5 W. There, we measured 3.3 W. However, the lowest result we've been able to generate in the 7200 RPM space is 3.0 W. So, the Spinpoint MP4 is still acceptable in that regard.

Samsung’s Spinpoint MP4 has a three-year warranty.