2.5-inch hard disk drives can now often be seen not only in notebooks but also in small desktop PCs and servers. They have already reached the storage capacity that many users consider acceptable and not much different from what you can get with 3.5-inch HDDs and are even superior to their larger counterparts in terms of power consumption, heat dissipation, dimensions and noise. So, users and manufacturers are getting more and more interested in these devices which allow building very compact desktop PCs (compare the Mac Mini with any ordinary PC even in microATX form-factor) or small NASes. The low noise is quite an important factor for a NAS since it is often running all day long and you don’t want to hear the clicking of the heads of a 3.5-inch disk at night. The small size is necessary for servers as you can assemble a small server with a lot of disks inside. Five 200GB disks are going to be more expensive than one 1-terabyte 3.5-inch HDD, but you can unite them into a fault-tolerant RAID array that can process more requests per second. And these parameters – fault tolerance and high amount of operations per second – are often far more important for server disk subsystems than price.
In an earlier review we compared 2.5-inch 7200rpm drives Hitachi 7K200 and Fujitsu MHW2 BJ with HDDs of other form-factors and spindle rotation speeds. Our testing proved that the 2.5-inch drives were comparable to their 3.5-inch counterparts in most applications and were only inferior at streaming operations with large files. Unfortunately, we did not have Seagate’s 7200.2 series drives for that test. Now we’ve got them here, in our labs, and are going to compare modern 2.5-inch HDDs with spindle rotation speed of 7200rpm from different brands.