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Solid-state drives Reviews
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Toshiba MK1059GSM review

£133.66 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Toshiba

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

If you want to max out the storage on your laptop, look to the 1TB Toshiba MK1059GSM, a 2.5in notebook SATA drive with 1000GB capacity.

If you want to max out the storage on your laptop, look to the 1TB Toshiba MK1059GSM, a 2.5in notebook SATA drive with 1000GB capacity

In the desktop PC realm, we can now find 3 terabyte (TB) of storage in one single hard disk. But 3.5in Serial ATA hard disks do not fit into notebooks, so laptop users must make do with the best that the smaller form-factor 2.5in HDD can provide.

If you can accomodate the slightly fatter 12.5mm-thick version of the 2.5in drive, the highest capacity disk on the market in early 2011 now reaches 1TB. That’s an extraordinary amount of data to squeeze into such a small shape.

The Toshiba MK1059GSM is the company’s largest notebook drive, firmly ticking the 1TB box.

It’s a 5400rpm hard disk with three platters, sporting a 3Gb/s SATA interface, and takes the new Advanced Sector Format technology that we see on the the largest 3TB desktop drives, with a 4kB-per-sector configuration.

Modern operating systems can take this in their stride; but if you’re using obsolete Microsoft OSes like Windows XP, you could be in trouble.

Sound performance

Toshiba has managed to keep noise levels very low, quoting 25dB for both idle and seek acoustics. And in our tests, we found it to be subjectively very quiet indeed, with minimal frame vibration.

Read and write performance are in line with a modern 5400rpm notebook drive.

We measured read speeds of up to 98.5MB/s (with 512kB transfer files) in the ATTO Disk Benchmark test; and write speeds up to 98.9MB/s (also 512kB). Relatively level peak performance was seen at all transfer sizes from 64kB to 8192kB.

Small files transferred slower, as expected: 4kB, for example, peaked at 45 and 41MB/s for reads and writes.

Crystal Disk Mark broadly concurred in its measurement of peak performances, returning sequential read/write speeds of 99.3 and 98.0MB/s.

Using HD Tune Pro, we were able to see how performance changes across the disk platter.

This benchmark tool gave lower average figures: 76.3MB/s read, and 74.1MB/s. Access time is a slightly high 20ms.

A glance at the graph of performance versus capacity gives the classic drop in speed as you approach the centre of the disk platters, caused by lower angular velocity.

Toshiba MK1059GSM read speed

Toshiba MK1059GSM read performance, as measured in HD Tune Pro 4.60

Toshiba MK1059GSM write speed

Toshiba MK1059GSM read performance, as measured in HD Tune Pro 4.60

So while a fresh disk can hit around 98MB/s reads and 91MB/s writes, by the time the disk is nearly full, read/write speed will roughly halve to just 48MB/s. This variation could be mitigated by use in a RAID array. 

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

Read more reviews of internal storage at PC Advisor

Toshiba MK1059GSM Expert Verdict »

1TB Serial ATA notebook drive
8MB buffer
2.5in hard disk
SATA 3Gb/s Revision 2.6
3 platters
12.5mm profile
power consumption (manufacturer’s figures): 1.7W read/write, 0.65W low-power idle, 0.15W sleep power
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

This is not quite the speediest 2.5in notebook drive you can find - but along with the WD Scorpio Blue 1TB, it is the most capacious commercially released laptop storage on the market. Averaged across the entire disk its read/write speeds were around 75MB/s, peaking at around 98MB/s when empty. Its low-noise performance is to be commended – if you’re planning on upgrading a laptop, just ensure it can accept the taller 12.5mm size.

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