WD and Toshiba Join the 320 GB 2.5" HDD Club

Western Digital Scorpio WD3200BEVT (320 GB)

WD's new 320 GB Scorpio drive is more extreme than the Samsung and the Toshiba drives. It has the highest power requirements of all the 2.5" notebook hard drives you can find in our charts, but it also offers very good performance, beating many of the 7,200 RPM hard drives as well as Toshiba's offering. The drive is also quicker than the Samsung SpinPoint M6 when it comes to access time, I/O performance and the PCMark05 application benchmark, which gauges Windows XP startup performance and performance while writing files that are being copied. While the difference is tiny, WD's new Scorpio is not fast enough to beat the Samsung drive's data transfer rates that are as fast as 70 MB/s. This shouldn't be an issue, though, as the drive's overall performance is very much on par against the others.

We only found the new 320 GB drive on Western Digital's U.S. Website. While Samsung and Toshiba offer other capacity points, WD has only been listing the 320 GB top model on its Website. All other models seem to be based on the previous-drive generation (WD2500BEVS), as they are shown as utilizing SATA/150 instead of SATA/300. However, we are sure that WD will follow up with smaller capacities based on the latest technology soon, as well.

Yet, road warriors with high-capacity demands will probably want to stick with the Samsung drive, as it offers comparable performance, the same warranty and the same capacity at much lower power requirements compared to what the Western Digital and Toshiba drives offer. The power consumption specifications of Western Digital's WD3200BEVT and Samsung's Spinpoint M6 are 1.0-3.2 W and 1.1-4.2 W, respectively. But WD has a small advantage when it comes to its performance under extreme conditions; Samsung and Toshiba specify a temperature operating range of 5-55°C (41-131°F), while Western Digital allows up to a 60°C maximum operating temperature. All drives have a three-year warranty.