Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 (200 GB, 7,200 RPM)
The Travelstar 7K200 is Hitachi's latest offering for the enthusiast crowd. It is available at capacities of 80, 100, 120, 160 and 200 GB, and although the maximum capacity doesn't seem to be too far away from the Travelstar 5K250's 250 GB, there are some significant differences. The first one obviously is the high rotation speed of 7,200 RPM, which boosts the new 7K200 to the top of the transfer performance ranking, delivering an amazing 67 MB/s on our storage reference test system. Note that Fujitsu's 160 GB MHW2160BJ and Seagate's Momentus 7200.2 both reach 60 MB/s, though, and it has to be mentioned that many of the new 250 GB 2.5" drives are almost as fast. In terms of access time, the 7K200 is at eye level with Seagate's Momentus 7200.1.
But let's get back to the feature differences between the Travelstar 7K200 and the 5K250. While both utilize a SATA/150 interface, the 7,200 RPM drive accesses a total of 16 MB cache memory, which is twice as much as the Travelstar 5K250. The interface can be considered the best choice today, as SATA/300 doesn't give you any noticeable performance gain, yet requires even more power than SATA/150 due to the faster clock speeds.
Speaking of power, the 7K200 is not only the fastest 2.5" 7,200 RPM drive, it is also the most energy-efficient. The first generation Travelstar 7K100 required up to 3.8 W with the UltraATA/100 interface or as much as 4.6 W using SATA/150 (which should make clear that the serial high-speed connect has a significant power disadvantage). Seagate's Momentus 7200.2 staying below 3.8 W is already a good result that the Travelstar 7K200 can beat: we measured a maximum power consumption of only 3.2 W. This is only slightly more than the maximum power requirements of a typical 250 GB 5,400 RPM drive. The idle power requirement of 1.1 W for the Travelstar 7K200 is also a huge improvement over previous generations, which required up to 1.7 W (Momentus 7200.1).
Although the low-level performance results are excellent, the new Travelstar 7K200 does not dominate all benchmarks: there are faster drives in the File Write Performance benchmark of PCMark05, and the interface performance isn't top of its class. But ultimately, interface throughput isn't a key factor for HDD performance, as long as it doesn't bottleneck transfers from and to the physical medium.
Hitachi provides a three-year warranty, which is standard for an enthusiast class drive.