by Rob Williams on August 17, 2011 in Storage
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.
If two hard drives of equal spec – but different sizes – are sat next to each other, it’d be easy to jump to conclusions on the fact that both would perform the same. As two of the drives we tested here fall into Western Digital’s Scorpio Blue series, offering 5400RPM speeds and identical seek times, I figured that to be the case. Of course, I was wrong.
It’s been a long while since I spent time comparing one hard drive to another, and the areal density factor didn’t even come to mind when I received these drives to test. In talking to our resident SSD guru Robert, though, I was informed that there should be a noticeable difference. I decided to take it to testing before commenting, but alas, he couldn’t have been more correct.
Both the 750GB and 1TB Blue drives use two platters, but because the latter has 500GB per platter, versus 375GB per platter, the needle needs to travel less to cover more ground. As a result, the raw throughput is much improved. In our real-world testing, we saw folder transfer performance of 89.02MB/s on the 750GB vs. 111.75MB/s on the 1TB – that’s substantial.
In that particular transfer, we’re dealing with over 4,000 files, some of which are small, and others that are a couple of gigabytes in size. Even with the variance, the 1TB drive consistently kept about ~20MB/s ahead of the 750GB, taking also the solid file transfer result into consideration.
Compared to the Black, the 1TB Blue still falls a bit behind, but that’s to be expected. While the 750GB Black has a lower areal density, its faster rotational speed makes up for it. Given this, isn’t it fun to picture a 1TB Scorpio Black with 500GB per platter? It the scaling held true, we’d see VelociRaptor speeds in terms of throughput.
Price-wise, the 9.5mm Scorpio Blue 1TB carries a ~$20 premium over the 12.5mm variant, but this is a price I expect to go down rather fast. With this premium, the drive retails for about $130 USD. In comparison, a 750GB 9.5mm Scorpio Blue retails for $90, while the 500GB of the same form-factor is $60.
There might be a premium, but that’s to be expected, and all-in-all, it’s not a major one. To some, it should prove well worth it just for the fact that a WD 1TB can finally be installed in their notebook. Given this, and also the drive’s fantastic performance, I’d be hard-pressed to not award this an Editor’s Choice.
Since receiving this drive, two other vendors have also released similar drives to the masses, so we’ll be working on getting them in soon to see how they compare to WD’s Scorpio Blue.
Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB
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