When you pull the Western Digital Scorpio from its packaging, it's hard to believe that such a small - and inexpensive - hard drive can hold up to 298GB of data.

The Western Digital Scorpio is less than 1cm thick and its 2.5in form factor allows it to slot into any notebook that has a Serial ATA hard drive connection.

Alternatively, you could also use the Western Digital Scorpio with an external hard drive case, for a compact, but highly portable storage solution for files that you just couldn't fit on to a thumb drive.

Thinking outside the square, the Western Digital Scorpio is small enough to fit into the tiniest of PC enclosures (although it might require some retro-fitting) and it's practically silent during use.

Of course, the Western Digital Scorpio's performance isn't as good as a 3.5in desktop hard drive, but it's good enough for digital TV recordings, and its formatted capacity is more than enough for storing days' worth of your favourite shows.

As a replacement notebook drive, the Western Digital Scorpio has fairly standard specs; its spin speed is 5400rpm and it's fitted with an 8MB cache. You won't find niceties such as NCQ or flash memory here, but it is fitted with measures to combat the bumps and shocks of everyday use.

Clearly, the standout feature of the Western Digital Scorpio is its capacity, which is achieved by cramming 160GB of storage on to two internal platters using perpendicular recording technology.

In read and write tests, the Western Digital Scorpio was about 16 megabytes per second (MBps) slower than a typical desktop hard drive. It averaged nearly 56.4MBps in our write test and 58.8MBps in our read test.

Working hard to copy files from one location on the drive to another, the Western Digital Scorpio averaged 20.1MBps, which isn't a bad result at all for such a tiny unit. In fact, this particular test result comes close to some of the desktop hard drives currently on the market.

The Western Digital Scorpio has a massive capacity for a drive of this form factor, and it enjoys solid performance and virtually silent operation. But it could take you a while to fill it up.

Western Digital Scorpio: Specs

  • 320GB internal hard drive
  • 8MB cache
  • 5,400rpm
  • 2.5in drive bay
  • SATA2
  • 12ms access time
  • 101x70x9mm
  • 1.9kg
  • 320GB internal hard drive
  • 8MB cache
  • 5,400rpm
  • 2.5in drive bay
  • SATA2
  • 12ms access time
  • 101x70x9mm
  • 1.9kg

OUR VERDICT

The Western Digital Scorpio isn't the fastest drive on the market by any means, but it'll complement a high-end, or even mid-range notebook nicely. £149 is a pretty competitive price for such a small device, and makes it an enticing option for notebook upgrades, or even home theatre PCs. It may even have some Playstation 3 owners wondering if now is the time to upgrade their console's meagre storage.

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