by Rob Williams on August 17, 2011 in Hard Drives
Mobile warriors have their advantages, but storage isn’t one of them. It’s not uncommon to see desktop users with multiple TBs of hard drives, but notebook users tend to suffer with 500 or 750GB options. Western Digital, with its 9.5mm tall WD10JPVT, wants to change that – and trust us when we say that it’s well worth looking into.
It might seem odd that we’d choose to use an entire OS as a benchmark, but believe it or not, there exist two aspects of Windows 7 that give us perfect examples of how faster storage can equate to noticeable gains in performance. First, there’s the installer, which will go as fast as our PCs can. Second is the boot time, something we’re all familiar with.
For the sake of adding a baseline result to our graphs, we ran both of these tests on Corsair’s super-fast Force F160 solid-state drive. While the goal here isn’t to show how much faster an SSD is over a mechanical hard drive, we did want to give an idea of what’s possible.
The notebook being used as our test platform is a Gateway UC8707u, featuring a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo dual-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and Intel graphics. For installation purposes, we use Kingston’s Ultimate 3.0 32GB thumb drive, which as we discovered in our evaluation, caps a USB 2.0 port to a constant 33.3MB/s, allowing us to rule out installation source bottlenecks.
Windows 7 (Ultimate x64) Installation
To test out Windows 7 installation speed, our stopwatch doesn’t begin at a cold boot, but rather at the point seen in the screenshot below. Once ‘Next’ is clicked, we start the stopwatch. We halt the timer once during installation, at a part where numerous questions are asked. After they are answered, we begin the stopwatch again and then stop it as soon as we reach a usable desktop.
Like our file transfer tests, the 1TB Blue drive saw noteworthy gains where our Windows 7 installation was concerned. In fact, the delta between the 1TB Blue and 750GB Black is a lot tighter than the one between the 1TB and 750GB Blues.
Windows 7 Boot Time
Boot time tests are conducted on the exact same Windows 7 install that results from the test above. On our first boot, we allow Windows to configure itself and then reboot. We then disable both the wireless and wired networking interfaces, and then reboot once more. Finally, we shut the PC down and then wait for five minutes to begin testing.
We begin timing the boot as soon as the notebook’s power button is pressed, and stop it once we reach a usable desktop (all systray icons are loaded).
Once again, the 1TB Blue surpasses the 750GB by a healthy margin, and comes close to the performance out of the Black. It’s hard to compete with an SSD, but where hard drives are concerned, the 1TB Blue performs quite well.