It is little less than a year since our last review of 2.5-inch hard disk drives and this is through no fault of ours. The manufacturers have been just too tardy transitioning to 320-gigabyte platters that enable dual-platter drives with a storage capacity of 640 gigabytes. Anyway, 2.5-inch HDDs have finally made it to that mark and there have also appeared 500GB models with a spindle rotation speed of 7200 RPM.
Western Digital doesn’t have such HDDs, its Scorpio Black series still being limited to 320 gigabytes, but has something else to offer instead. It has the world’s first 2.5-inch hard disk with a capacity of 750 gigabytes which, together with the introduction of a new testing method, is the main reason for our writing this review. We are also looking forward to this summer and autumn which seem to have a lot of new products in store for us. That’s why we want to publish this review right now in order to present the changes we’ve made to our testing methodology, compare the new HDDs with old ones and not to carry the burden of the past over to our upcoming articles.
We have deliberately put aside three-platter products which offer the record-breaking capacity of 1 terabyte. Unfortunately, they are all “thick” at 12.5 millimeters as opposed to a standard 2.5-inch HDD’s thickness of 9.5 millimeters. The overwhelming majority of modern notebooks and external HDD enclosures are designed for the standard dimensions and cannot accommodate a thick HDD. Retailers are all just too aware of that, so such HDDs can mostly be found in branded external storage devices.
Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B: HTS545050B9A300 – 500 GB
One year has passed yet this model remains the highest-capacity 2.5-inch hard disk from Hitachi. The company has not released any other models. We will see if it can compete with newer opponents successfully.
Hitachi Travelstar 7K500: HTS725050A9A364 – 500 GB
The Deskstar 7K500 was released somewhat later than the junior-series model and differs from the latter in its higher spindle speed (7200 RPM) and larger cache buffer (16 instead of 8 megabytes). This model comes in three variants: besides the basic one, there are the BDE subseries with hardware data encryption and the EA subseries optimized for around-the-clock operation under low loads.