It’s now possible to squeeze as much as a terabyte into any regular laptop, thanks to the latest 1TB notebook drives from Western Digital that use only two platters inside. This means the drive’s thickness can be kept at the magic 9.5mm.

We've seen 1TB notebook drives before, like the Toshiba MK1059GSM, but these feature three platters and result in a 12mm-high drive; too big for many laptops.

But while we’re awaiting samples of this new drive, we thought we should look the largest capacity version available from Western Digital’s higher-performance series, the Scorpio Black range.

Western Digital has split its 2.5in drives neatly into two ranges: Scorpio Blue for standard applications, using 5400rpm disks and 8MB cache; and Scorpio Black spinning at 7200rpm with 16MB cache.

We tested performance using the usual roster of drive benchmark apps, including HD Tune Pro, ATTO Bench 32 and CrystalDiskMark.

In the straightforward ATTO test of sequential read and write speed, we saw peak performance with with files between 32kB and 8MB: peak reads were 126MB/s at 1MB file size, while reads peaked at 132MB/s for 4MB files.

The HD Tune Pro test showed the range of performance across the disk. for reading, best speed measured here was 123MB/s, dropping to a minimum of 61MB/s at closer to the disk centre. Overall average was reported at 99MB/s.

In the same test, write performance was very similar: 122MB/s peak writes fell to just 61MB/s, giving an average of 98MB/s.

Access times averaged 13.9ms for writes and 15.8ms for reads.

The CrystalDiskMark 3.0 test showed small file transfer characteristics, with 512kB data read and written at 45 and 59MB/s respectively. At the lower 4kB size, performance was just 0.66 and 1.10MB/s, improving only slightly to 1.66 and 1.20MB/s at 32 queue depth.

In testing, and despite the high platter speed, the Scorpio Black remained relatively quiet and low in frame vibration, so is still well suited to discreet use in consumer laptops.

WD also cites low power consumption figures that place this fast drive alongside standard 5400rpm models.

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB: Specs

  • 750GB hard disk
  • 2.5in notebook drive
  • 3Gbit/s SATA
  • 16MB cache
  • 28dBA (idel/seek) noise
  • 1.75W (read/write) power consumption
  • 100 x 70 x 9.5mm
  • 115g
  • 750GB hard disk
  • 2.5in notebook drive
  • 3Gbit/s SATA
  • 16MB cache
  • 28dBA (idel/seek) noise
  • 1.75W (read/write) power consumption
  • 100 x 70 x 9.5mm
  • 115g

OUR VERDICT

The WD Scorpio Black 750GB is the largest capacity higher-performance notebook drive from Western Digital – and results are certainly better than we’d expect from a standard 5400rpm drive. Available for £80 or less, this drive is a cost-effective choice for adding near-maximum storage capacity to a laptop, while also potentially upgrading overall system performance.

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