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WD and Toshiba Join the 320 GB 2.5" HDD Club

Conclusion

Although there are clear differences between the three 320 GB notebook hard drives, these differences are albeit small and shouldn't be the main reason for selecting one product over another. The Toshiba MK3252GSX finishes last in the performance benchmark category, delivering up to 65 MB/s and an 18.2-ms average access time. Western Digital has the best application benchmark results and reaches 68 MB/s and a 16.6-ms average access time. Samsung hits 70 MB/s, but only at an average access time of 18.3 ms. Samsung is also clearly more energy-efficient than its two competitors Compare Prices on Samsung Spinpoint M6.

So what else can you base your purchasing decision on? The benchmark results of Toshiba's second hard drive series, the MKxx53GSX, and its 52GSX are the same, but the MKxx53GSX comes with an additional free fall sensor, which we highly recommend for data protection. Western Digital specifies a slightly higher maximum operating temperature, which hints at higher stability under extreme conditions. Since all three devices come with three-year warranties, product cost becomes an important factor in your buying decision. Performance may become relevant again if you have to decide between the Toshiba MK3252GSX and the Samsung SpinPoint M6. Between these two drives, Samsung's device is the better choice, not only because of its slightly better test results, but also thanks to its lower power requirements.

All three drives are great performers and will only give you reason to complain if you purchased a 7,200 RPM hard drive, because these almost seem obsolete with availability of the latest 5,400 RPM generation. Looking at the excellent benchmark results of the three 320 GB drives, there should be a substantial performance increase with the next generation of high-speed notebook hard drives, or this product category will die out due to users deciding between either a high-capacity 5,400 RPM drives or much faster flash-based solid state alternatives.

Drive Comparison Table

ManufacturerToshibaWestern Digital
FamilyMK3252GSXScorpio
Model NumberHDD2H01WD3200BEVT
Capacity320 GB320 GB
Rotational Speed (RPM)54005400
Available Capacities80, 120, 160, 250 GBnone yet
Platters22
InterfaceSATA/300SATA/300
Cache8 MB8 MB
NCQyesYes
Warranty3 years3 years

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