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SHOOTOUT:
250GB 5K Notebook Drive
versus
The Two Fastest 7K Notebook Drives

Originally posted July 18th, 2007 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist


We finally got our hands on a Western Digital Scorpio (WD2500BEVS) 250GB 5400rpm notebook drive (courtesy of Wiebetech). Many of you are wondering how it compares to the Seagate Momentus 7200.2 160GB 7200rpm notebook drive optional on the newest MacBook Pro and the new Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 200GB 7200rpm notebook drive. For power users, these are the three notebook drives of the greatest interest.

We tested them using the SATA, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0 interfaces. SpeedTools QuickBench 4.01 was used. For "large sustained" test, we averaged the results for 5 runs with 60MB, 70MB, 80MB, 90MB, and 100MB block sizes (Extended Test). For the "small random" test, we averaged the results for 5 runs of 64K, 128K, 256K, 512K, and 1024K block sizes (Standard Test).

Test "mule" was the 17" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz "Santa Rosa" with 4GB of RAM.

LEGEND FOR GRAPHS
200G 7K = Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 200GB 7200rpm SATA notebook drive
160G 7K = Seagate Momentus 7200.2 160GB 7200rpm SATA notebook drive
250G 5K = Western Digital Scorpio (WD2500BEVS) 250GB 5400rpm notebook drive

INSIGHTS
The Hitachi 7K200 is still the speediest notebook drive we've tested to date.

The WD Scorpio 5K drive was nipping at the heels of the Seagate Momentus 7K drive on large sustained transfers but fell back when doing small random transfers. The 200GB Hitachi 7K drive is the best compromise between speed and space.We must warn you that the newest, fastest drives use more battery power. We'll report on those specifics in a subsequent article -- but suffice to say, "You can't have it both ways."

Notice how slow all three drives run when connected to the USB 2.0 port.

If you are using these drives externally, the only interface that will run the drive off of bus power is FireWire (800 and 400). Both SATA and USB 2.0 require use of an A/C adapter on the notebook enclosure.

Though we tested these drives externally, installing them internally will NOT make them go faster. This is based on our testing of the 160GB 7K drive and 250G 5K drive internally.

NOTEBOOK ENCLOSURES
Trans International provided us with their miniXpress825s and WiebeTech provided us with their ToughTech XE mini. Both notebook enclosures feature connectability to SATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0. These Oxford Semiconductor 924 based units are the most versatile available currently.

SATA EXPRESSCARDS
For external SATA testing, we used the FirmTek SeriTek/2SM2-E ExpressCard/34 SATA host adapter.

After we completed our testing, we received an ExpressCard/34 SATA host adatper from Trans International. We'll report in a future article if it differs in performance from the SeriTek.

WHERE TO BUY 7200RPM NOTEBOOK DRIVES
Check with Trans International and Other World Computing (OWC) for bare SATA notebook drives.

WHERE TO BUY NOTEBOOK ENCLOSURES
Trans International has the miniXpress825s and WiebeTech offers the ToughTech XE mini. These compact aluminum enclosures are the most versatile (FW800, FW400, SATA, USB2) and are therefore our favorites.

Other World Computing has clear plastic enclosures (Mercury On-The-Go) with either FW800 + USB2 or eSATA + USB2 port configurations.

WHERE TO BUY SATA EXPRESSCARD HOST ADAPTERS
Visit FirmTek's website for information on the
SeriTek/2SM2-E ExpressCard/34 SATA host adapter and other SATA adapters and enclosures for all the SATA host adapter options they offer.

Check with Trans International about their new ExpressCard/34 SATA host adaper.

WHERE TO BUY YOUR MACBOOK PRO "Santa Rosa" or other Apple products
If you live in the USA and plan to purchase an APPLE product, please CLICK THIS LINK or any APPLE DISPLAY AD to help us earn our affiliate commission. It's a great way to support Bare Feats.

DON'T LIVE in USA?
Readers in Canada should visit Apple Store, Canada.
Readers in France should visit Apple Store - France.
Readers in Germany should visit Apple Store - Germany.
Readers in Italy should visit Apple Store -Italy.
Readers in the United Kingdom should visit Apple Store - UK.

You can also purchase Apple systems and accessories from Small Dog Electronics. You can custom order from them just like with the Apple Store.

PRE-ORDER LEOPARD
Amazon
is offering the opportunity to pre-order
Apple Mac OS X Version 10.5 Leopard

WHERE TO BUY MEMORY FOR MAC LAPTOPS
We have tested the memory from the following third party companies in our MacBook Pro "Rosa" and MacBook. We can recommend them wholeheartedly:

TransIntl.com is selling kits to take your "Rosa" MacBook Pro to 4GB. They also have kits to take your 13" MacBook to 3GB.

Other World Computing sells various kits for the MacBook and MacBook Pro. They have done extensive testing with the 13" MacBook to see what gain is made from matching pairs -- including dual 2GB modules.

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1995 - 2007 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist