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Data Storage Technology

Notebook Hard Drive Roundup 122

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the you-spin-me dept.
Sivar writes "With the increasing popularity of notebooks and their growing use in gaming and workstation-like tasks, it is important to consider the performance of more than just the CPU and video. Storagereview.com has a roundup of notebook hard drives which includes their new gaming and office tests, server performance graphs for those so inclined, and finally power usage and noise numbers which are particularly important for laptop hardware."
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Notebook Hard Drive Roundup

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  • by Barkley44 (919010) on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:45PM (#14131607) Homepage
    I see this hyped all the time, but do people really use their laptops for serious gaming? I mean a large portion of people? I have both a desktop and laptop, but would never use my laptop over my desktop. I see commercials with companies showing someone riding a bus playing a game on their laptop, and I just can't see that happening. Office applications I see the biggest use.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:57PM (#14131719) Homepage Journal
      I'm personally considering a move to no-desktop computing. Laptops have come down so far that they're finally almost affordable, although as ever you can build a desktop to beat the pants off a laptop for something like half the price. I did a 3dmark test of my desktop (athlon xp 2500+) with a radeon 9700 pro against a mobile athlon 64 3000+ with a mobile radeon 9-something and I got literally twice as many 3dmarks as the laptop, so I wouldn't be able to play any of the hot new games worth a damn, but all of the older ones would be fine.

      In addition, with console game systems becoming a more credible place to play first person shooters (see nintendo revolution's controller, eh?) I may not have any reason to play any non-strategy PC games. Those games [generally] need CPU more than graphics, so that should be fine.

      Mostly, I don't have time to play PC games any more. Console games are usually broken up into smaller, more convenient pieces. Granted, you can usually save anywhere in a PC game, but it can be disorienting coming back in the middle of a mission. I believe the move towards laptops can also be seen as a move away from sitting on your ass in front of a big heavy display for long periods of time - people making that move probably aren't playing many PC games anyway.

      • and I got literally twice as many 3dmarks as the laptop

        With Windows, I saw improvement by turning off ClearType for flatpanels, and other
        XP display options. Running benchmarks with the AC power connected helps as well.

        The worst part with new laptops is you can't drop to full screen 800x600 to run faster.

        • The worst part with new laptops is you can't drop to full screen 800x600 to run faster.

          This isn't really true.

          I use a Dell D810 for gaming. This is configured with an ATI X600. This certainly isn't the fastest card around, but it's perfectly playable with current games.

          The native screen resolution is 1920x1200, which is a little high for some games. However, the ATI graphics chip has configuration options for how to scale the image. It's perfectly fine running games full screen at a lower resolution than th
        • Cleartype was on, but the power supply was connected. This was not a CPU throttling issue. It was a slow graphics subsystem issue. Cleartype makes practically no difference - I've turned it on even when I've used a [sufficiently high resolution] CRT, where it makes text look funny (sparkly color) but actually DOES do better smoothing than "standard" antialiasing, because there's a lot more to Cleartype than subpixel rendering and my monitor does up to 1920x1440 or something wacky like that.
    • On Saturday, for no particular reason, I bought a $1300 Gateway Athlon64/4000 with 1GB RAM and an X600 graphics chip (roughly on-par with a Radeon 9700).

      I tried out Farcry on it. It played FINE (granted, not on the highest detail settings). I sat in the passenger seat of a car and played with a trackball.

      Later, I tried City of Villains on it. It played fine.

      This thing isn't even a "gaming" laptop. An X600 is modest, not exceptional, graphics hardware, but it's good enough for something as modern as Farcry.
      • Far cry plays fine on highest settings on my laptop.

        www.sagernotebook.com

        Do you like Far Cry?
        • $200 for "Zero Dead Pixel Insurance, Guaranteed no dead or partially-lit pixels for first 30 days of purchasing"?

          Did you buy this option?
        • Sager notebooks are basically unbranded versions of Gateway/Dell/HP machines, IIRC.
          I've never quite been able to trust their products, truth be told.
          • Sager notebooks are basically scary, over the top laptops. You can get them with RAID for chrissakes.
          • Sager is the US seller of clevo notebooks in the US. They are the people who provide the notebooks to retailers such as Hypersonic [hypersonic-pc.com], Alienware [alienware.com], and a few other retailers. Sager's direct-consumer tech support is admittedly pretty bad, but that's because they do their business through retailers, and prefer to do consumer tech support through them. (Besides, the retailers give 200 dollar or so discounts off of Sager's prices as is.)

            I myself use a Sager NP9860 as my main workstation. It's simply the highes
      • I would respectfully offer an alternate opinion regarding performance and power. I have used a Fujitsu 4200rpm 30GB drive and a Hitachi 5400rpm drive 40GB prior to my current Hitachi 7200rpm 60GB drive, all in a Dell latitude D600 running whatever version of Fedora was/is current.

        The 7200rpm drive is significantly faster on boot. Last I timed, I think it was close to 20 seconds faster than the 4.2k. Applications jump up when launched, and gnome panel menus draw almost instantly when first opened as oppos
        • Windows Server 2003 Web Edition starts (to a login prompt) in 32 seconds on the 100GB, 4200rpm Hitachi drive in my Gateway A64/4000 1GB laptop. That's compares well with the startup time for Server 2003 on *desktop* machines I have, with much faster drives.

          My other notebook, a 1GB 1.6GHz Pentium M Thinkpad T40 with an 80GB, 7200rpm Hitachi drive in it, actually starts Server 2003 Web edition about 12 seconds slower.

          Yes, some apps start faster on the Thinkpad. Others, there's no perceptible difference, and t
      • ThinkPads typically ship with 5400RPM drives, but the difference when you upgrade to a 7200RPM drive is still *stunning.* This is the number one change you can make to increase the speed of running your system, and IMHO is well worth the loss in maximum battery life. I can't even imagine a 4200RPM drive...
    • I've been on campus again recently because of a night class I'm taking. Here's what I've noticed:

      For a lot of college kids these days, the laptop is their only computer. If a game doesn't run on a laptop, they don't play it. They are more likely to own a handheld console than a desktop PC.

      As far as I can tell, Quake III and City of Heroes were made strictly for the VH-1 demographic (and their children.) Young adults are mostly giving the PC game scene a pass.

      The one exception seems to be World of Warcra
      • I'm a college student, and the feeling I've had about console vs PC gaming here is that casual gamers (frat boys, etc) are more apt to be playing on consoles (Halo is always a popular title), and the hardcore gamers are on the PC (for games like WoW and HL2).
    • My new laptop has become my primary machine at home for coding, gaming, blogging, etc.

      The desktop has been relegated to filesharing and being used by the wife.

      Yes, it's becoming more popular.
    • I play games on my laptop all the time. I have a geforce go 6800, and most games are more than fast enough. Assuming i'm not going to try fps head to head, it's fine. I love the fact that I can play civ iv at barnes and noble while my wife studies.
    • "Serious gaming"?
    • I would imagine it to be too costly to do gaming on a laptop. The heat issue, graphics cards that can't be upgraded, and power consumption in general would be too much. I suppose if you could afford it, why not, right?

      For me, though, the laptop isn't a gaming platform. It'll run Unreal Tournament II decently, but Enemy Territory runs at maybe 20fps max (10fps average). Yeah, it's not high-powered...it's also not too upgradeable. Definitely not as tweakable as a good ol' desktop. If by "gaming" you mea
      • On some of your better laptops (ie Sager, Quanta, which you can get through companies like powernotebooks.com), they offer upgradeable graphics chipsets through a recently standardized slot system.
        Power consumption isn't much of a factor...when you're doing anything that requires special attention (ie work or gaming), you'll likely be stationed somewhere and plugged in. Some of the 12lb monsters that Sager puts out pretty much assume you'll be using the thing at a desk. As for monitors, there are models w
      • but Enemy Territory runs at maybe 20fps max (10fps average)

        Hmmm. Really, the same Enemy Territory that I can play fine on my Matrox G550 (which has very little 3d acceleration to speak of...)?

        Admittedly I'm playing with almost all details set to "low" (which has some advantages btw, for example I can sometimes see enemy players shine through walls ;-) ) and I'm not sure right now whether I run it at 800x600 or 1024x768 but I think it's the latter even.

        The performance with these settings is good enough for a
    • do people really use their laptops for serious gaming?

      It depends on what you consider serious. I use my laptop to play stuff like EQ2, Civ 4 and Evil Genius but when it comes to FPSs I'm still a desktop devotee; for one reason it's cheaper and another is that I normally don't use my laptop on a desk, so in the matter of keyboard/mouse play the desktop is more natural to me.

      Could I use my laptop to play HL2? Sure, but my performance would suffer simply because of layout over computing power.
    • Graphics cards which can rival their desktop equivilents have been the main bottleneck to laptop gaming. They've come a long way over the last few years though.

      I have personally just hit the threshold where I'm prepared to give up my desktop gaming for the convenience of a laptop - I just purchased a Dell XPS M170 [cnet.com] which includes a GeForce 7800 Go. It benchmarks at 87fps on Doom 3, high quality, 1024x768, 4xAA, which is on par with higher end desktops.
      • Congrats you own a really expensive gameboy. :-) /me spent the last two days getting two 256Mbit carts loaded with Goomba and PocketNES [along with a huge collection of GB and NES games]. Retro-gamer!

        To me it makes a bit more sense. It's easier to snap a gameboy out at an airport or on a plane, the batteries last longer and frankly nothing beats a good match of some mid-90s GB game with ridiculous plotlines and often hard to decipher graphics [that said I'm a FF2 addict :-)].

        Tom
    • Yes. People do.

      I used my laptop (Eurocom D500P, basically a branded Clevo) for gaming for quite a while. It had a mobile ATI 9600 Pro, 1 GB of RAM, 60 GB HD, and was a very reasonable gaming machine. Still is, but it can't handle some of what I play, notably Everquest, and that is mostly due to the game's horrible graphics engine.

      Games like q3 arena, BF1942, Steam and all of its bits, and even Battlefield 2, Doom 3, Quake 4 run pretty decently with appropriate settings levels. This would probably go for
    • You don't need bleeding edge hardware these days. My girlfriend picked up a AMD 3 GHZ laptop with 512 meg of ram for about a grand. We didn't even look at the video card specs at the time. Turns out the thing has some random ATI Mobility card (X200?). At any rate, I installed Guild Wars and it ran great.

      So, your standard, middle of the road laptop runs most modern games just fine these days. You don't have to blow $3k on a "Gaming" laptop, as long as you don't mind playing at less-than-max settings, wi
      • I agree 100%.

        My Sharp RD-10 is about 2 years old (at the time it was high-end) and still plays everything I throw at it. I don't do really "serious" gaming on any platform, but when I see a new FPS or strategy game that I'd like to give a spin, I haven't really ever run into a problem. It's got a P4, 2.8 GHz desktop CPU, a GeForce 420 Go, 512 MB ram and on-board mini-pci wireless so really still not too bad by modern specs. While the battery life isn't anything to brag about, it has no problem doing what I
    • I see this hyped all the time, but do people really use their laptops for serious gaming?

      Yes. I believe that Notebook sales already have surpassed desktops PC's in many countries. In a not so distant future, notebook computers will constitute the wast majority of computers in peoples home.

      Besides, even desktop PC's will soon use 2.5" "notebook" hard discs, instead of 3.5" discs. Of course there will be a transition period, but PC hardware will continue to shrink in size. (full height 5.25" SCSI drives, oh w
    • I'd say you're right. My laptop has the occasional game of Half-Life 1 played on it, but for the most part, I use Writer, Calc, Firefox, and Evolution and maybe play some music off my hard drive or online.

      They should have tested the 100GB version of the Hitachi Travelstar 5K100 instead of the 80GB. I paid under $150 for it in September (after my original 4200 rpm 60GB HDD died) and it is a little faster than the 80GB version that a friend has in his laptop.
    • I see commercials with companies showing someone riding a bus playing a game on their laptop, and I just can't see that happening.

      I don't see them either, but that's probably due to natural selection, for those who try probably their laptop gets nicked before long.
      (Those who don't try get a better chance of maintaining ownership)
    • One of these [cnet.com] would be fun to have. (And the notebook's nice too...) They appear to be out in Europe already and should hit America soon.

      Throw in an AMD Turion MT40 (2.2GHz, 25W) CPU (see ewiz.com), 2GB RAM (Crucial PC3200, ~$240), that Hitachi 100GB 7200RPM HD (see zipzoomfly.com), along with the stock 17" widescreen and 256MB Radeon X700 GPU and you'll have a seriously nice gaming notebook.

      If you want something really outrageous, the Clevo D900K [amdboard.com] notebooks take Athlon 64 X2 dualcore CPUs and GeForce 7800
    • I see this hyped all the time, but do people really use their laptops for serious gaming?

      I don't use laptops for gaming, based on person experience. I'm a college student who uses a desktop at school and the family laptop at home. I recently got addicted to World of Warcrack, and I really needed a fix while I was home for Thanksgiving. Remember, World of Warcraft isn't an extremely demanding game compared to some of the FPS titles out there, but it ran sluggishly at times on my family's new laptop. We're ta

    • You're really missing a great scope of the laptop market with such a statement as that. A large proportion of laptop users are University students who purchase one for it's portability at having to travel to and from home at times of the year; sometimes as far as another country and aren't prepared to trapes a desktop system so far. Just like anyone; being human they want some entertainment. Everyone's got a computer of some form so they want to play computer games. This pushes some laptops to need to be p
      • I bought an Asus M6Ne for that exact reason. I'm in college and I can't have a desktop and a laptop. My solution was to have a laptop. It's got a Radeon 9700 and it works just fine with most of the FPS I play.

        Of course I'd rather have a desktop, just to be more upgradable but having a laptop that can do most of what I want is the best of both worlds.

    • I *only* use my laptop for gaming.

      My other 'desktop' computers are used as servers or for work-only (aka workstations).

      There are quite a few valid reasons for using a laptop for gaming. For one, I like to be able to sit on my bed or sofa and play Battlefield 2 without any lag via 802.11g and a logitech wireless mouse. I like to be able to bring my laptop easily to my friends' houses or to LAN partys without having to worry about alot of cables or weight (though my laptop is pretty heavy). I like to be able
      • though my laptop is pretty heavy

        There's some guy in my government class that always brings his obviously-for-gaming laptop to class to take notes on. This thing has got to be over 12 pounds, and the fan gets so loud that I can't concentrate on the lecture. I want to shove that laptop up his urethra.
    • I just bought an ASUS notebook, Pentium M 2.0GHz, 2GB RAm, 17" 1440x900 screen with an ATI Mobility Radeon X700/128MB. My old laptop with an Intel 855 chipset /could/ 'play' The Sims 2. If you were happy with 10fps, or 5fps when 3 or more people were on screen, in 800x600 - and that was a Pentium M 1.6. This one? 1440x900, all the quality settings set to their highest, and as smooth as my girlfriends Radeon 9800 PRO, perceptually, at least.
    • My laptop (an HP zd7000) is a 2.8Mhz P4 with a 17" widescreen, and an FX5600 mobile chipset. I've used it for LAN games without a problem. Just watch that you don't leave it on your crotch too long unless you want to disable your ability to produce children.

      For games such as Half Life 2 and BattleField (1942, I don't own BF2 yet) it ran just fine. Today's laptops really aren't like the laptops of old... there are definately some that more qualify as mobile desktops.
    • ... but do people really use their laptops for serious gaming?

      I use my laptop for gaming because it has a faster processor and video card than my desktop system. I hook the lappy up to my CRT monitor, use a fullsize keyboard, and mouse. Now, I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but this way I can bring my laptop over to my friends place so we can play games wirelessly. It's a lot easier to grab my laptop to go play a few games than it is to haul my PC/CRT. I'm also a sysadmin, so I need my laptop
  • Toshiba missing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:46PM (#14131620) Homepage
    They didn't review any Toshiba drives in this roundup, which they readily admit in their conclusion. This is maybe a sampling or a survey but not a comprehensive roundup.
    • That's a shame. I got one of the newer Toshiba 40GB / 5200-RPM / 16MB buffer drive to replace the IBM 20GB / 4200-RPM / 2MB buffer drive that came with my Dell Inspiron 1100. That drive rocks and the performance increase was quite noticeable.
    • maybe it is because they couldn't get one to run long enough. I have had two Toshibas in my 12" powerbook (one from Apple, the other I bought and installed myself) the first lasted two years, the second, a year and a half. The first I am not too upset about, as I was carting my laptop to and from work, sometimes only puting the 'book to sleep, not powering it off. I was asking for trouble. I coddled the second one though, taking it off the cooling stand at home only sparingly (I didn't want to go through
  • You mean my 7200 RPM disk isn't necessarily the best around for gaming :(
  • It's too bad... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:48PM (#14131641)
    ...that most of the time you can't elect to put a faster hard drive in your laptop from the factory. I've bought laptops, and then had to retrofit them because they didn't sell a bigger or faster version.
    • ... you can't just pop the old drive into your desktop box. Sure, the adapter [xpcgear.com]'s cheap, but it's not like buying a new 3.5" drive and just stuffing it in.
      • Get a portable 2.5" USB2/Firewire enclosure, there are even some with both interfaces. That's what I did when I had a 40GB drive sitting around gathering dust. I have a USB2 enclosure, which was 30 buckaroos, and apparently it draws so little power that it dosen't even need the wall wart that it came with. Bonus. The only problem is that it's sorta noisy, but it's relatively fast. It's great for moving big files around, and it's quicker and more cost effective than burning to DVD for most things.

        Along
      • Oh c'mon, the adapters are really cheap, I paid like $5 for mine, including the mounting rails and already regret not having bought more at the time to save on shipping. I'm using an older 2.5" drive in my desktop because it makes much less noise than the 3.5" drives and also after a over year the noise hasn't increased noticably like I expirienced with all previous 3.5" drives that I had in there.

        I don't think I'll ever use a 3.5" drive in my desktop again, those are good for the "home-server" in the other
    • 5 minutes before noticing this article on /. I ordered a new 15" Powerbook. The default drive is a 5400rpm 80GB drive. I was also offered the following choices:
      • 100GB 5400rpm for $100 extra
      • 100GB 7200rpm for $200 extra
      • 120GB 5400rpm for $200 extra

      I know that Apple isn't "most of the time" but if you're buying an Apple it's "all the time" ;-) I opted for the 7200rpm 100GB drive and after reading this article I'm glad I did.

    • I don't think you've been shopping recently. I am looking for a new laptop right now and I would say I have the option to upgrade the HD on 95% of the models I have looked at. Yes, there are some base models where you can't choose, but most offer 3 or 4 storage sizes, and several speeds to boot.

      Check Toshiba, Sony, Eurocom, Dell, etc.
  • by intmainvoid (109559) on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:50PM (#14131658)
    is an external firewire drive!
    • And Kudos to storagereview for comparing laptop vs desktop [storagereview.com] drives in this test. The conclusion is that a good destkop drive pumps out 30-50% more IOs than a good laptop drive (even 7200 rpm ones). But the desktops drives' power consumption is relatively awful :)

      It really makes me question the use of a laptop drive (and a slow one at that) in the cheapest Macintosh, but oh well.

    • Not anymore. Now you see some laptops shipping with external Serial ATA connectors on them hooked up internally to the PCI-Express bus. Get a fast desktop SATA drive with an external power source and you'll have much better performance than any internal laptop hard drive.

      -Sarkoon
  • My 7k60 screams (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peterdaly (123554) * <{petedaly} {at} {ix.netcom.com}> on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:58PM (#14131734)
    I replaced the factory hard drive in my 12" PowerBook with a 7k60 a couple years back or so. The speed difference was so huge from a normal user perspective I wondered if the factory drive had always been defective. After trying other powerbooks, I have seen the factory drives are just really slow and the 7k60 is really fast.

    It's hard to express in words how much faster my machine "felt" in everyday use. Startup time alone went from so slow where I always put the thing to sleep -- to my shutting down quite often now because it doesn't seem to take an eternity to boot.

    Number and words do not do justice to the speed improvements possible by upgrading a slow 4200RPM drive for a 7K(whatever) drive. If you can afford it, I highly suggest you consider upgrading your slow laptop drive to a 7200rpm drive even if your factory drive is not dead (and out of warranty), which was the case for me.

    -Pete
    • I've just downloaded the new hard drive update, and my powerbook feels much snappier!
    • Ditto, I put the same drive in a 1GHz 17" PowerBook and the performance improvement was very dramatic.
    • Re:My 7k60 screams (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tomstdenis (446163)
      Two words. "Ram cache".

      I have a Seagate 4200RPM drive in my laptop and while initial startup may be a bit slower than my desktop (by a matter of seconds) application performance is just fine.

      Oh did I mention I have 768MB of ram in it and I'm not running Windows?

      That's why when I look at buying a new laptop [to replace this thing when it eventually dies] I always look at the max ram. My next one will likely have 768 or 1GB initially [I originally upgraded this laptop from 256M to 768M].

      Ram is cheaper on th
      • Well, I've got a gig and a quarter in my iBook and I still noticed a huge difference when I went to a 7K60. I got it for less than $150 a little over a year ago and I'm really glad I did (upgrading an iBook's hard drive is an afternoon's work). RAM is definitely great, but it isn't too hard to max it out in a laptop and upgrading the hard drive is really a complementary rather than alternate upgrade.

        I love being able to copy files and start applications and do a variety of other disk I/O bound tasks fas

        • well not owning a mac I can't say but my Compaq laptop works just fine with a 4200. Sure I notice it chugs at huge program loads like openoffice or whatever, but that's just the first time.

          I suppose you are right though. Getting both a decent HD and amount of ram doesn't hurt and makes sense. Specially if you're a mac user, you have money to spend :-)

          Tom
      • This laptop - Asus - came with 512MB, but I had them upgrade it at the shop to 2GB. It can actually support 4GB, but I didn't want to be that extravagant.
    • The 5400 rpm drive in my laptop died recently. When looking for a replacement I decided for the same price to upgrade the speed of my drive rather than the capacity. I upgraded from a 5400 rpm 60 gig drive to a 7200 rpm 60 gig. The difference in speed is not very large, but it is definately very easy for me to notice an increase in performance in all aspects of my computing.
    • Just curious, what brand and what model hard drive did you buy? I prefer to stick with known brands like Seagate, but they seem to be quite slow in coming up with fast laptop drives...
    • I stuck one in my ThinkPad T22 in place of the 4200 RPM TravelStar that came with it, and the difference is quite noticeable! I'm sure that the much larger cache is what makes the bulk of the difference. It's also much quieter.

      That old drive was a major bottleneck, even though I have 256 MB RAM on this system. I ended up putting the old drive into a cheap USB enclosure.
  • Flash hybrid drive (Score:3, Interesting)

    by griffindj (887533) on Monday November 28, 2005 @03:59PM (#14131742)
    ahref=http://www.computerworld.com/hardwaretopics/ storage/story/0,10801,101330,00.html/rel=url2html- 18969 [slashdot.org]http://www.computerworld.com/hardwaretopics/s torage/story/0,10801,101330,00.html/>

    Samsung is planning on releasing a hybrid flash/disk drive in the second half of 2006, which is around the same time as Vista. The hybrid drive is said to use 10% less power by reducing spin up times and also reducing hd failure caused by dropping. When the flash memory is full the data is then written to disk.
    What will they think of next?
  • About time someone did this! Ditto to the other post about huge speedups when getting rid of old 4400 Powerbook drives.

    With more and more people doing video editing and compression (Final Cut, iMovie) and audio stuff (Logic, GarageBand)... it's very valuable to do this stuff on the go. It's not just gaming that sucks up resources.

    So kudos to SR for putting this together, and it would be nice for Apple to provide speedier config options for its customers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2005 @04:15PM (#14131902)
    Notebook hard disk sizes haven't grown much in the last few years. In the late 1990s, notebook hard disks were getting bigger by leaps and bounds. In 1996, an average notebook hard disk was under one gig. By 1998, a low-cost notebook hard drive at Fry's was in the 3 gig range. In 1999, that became a six gig hard disk. By 2003, low-cost notebook hard disks were 40 or 60 gigs in size. Then they stopped growing.

    The hard disks being compared here have an 80gb or 100gb size; the biggest notebook hard disks I have seen are 120gb hard disks. We broke the 80gig barrier about a year ago; if disks were growing the way they were in the 1990s, we would have 160gb notebook hard disks by now. I get the feeling that it is going to take a few years to break the 200gb barrier.

    I get the sense that the technology is maturing and that people aren't interested in getting really big hard disks any more. So we're not seeing the growth factors we used to have.
    • The hard disks being compared here have an 80gb or 100gb size; the biggest notebook hard disks I have seen are 120gb hard disks. We broke the 80gig barrier about a year ago

      In fact we broke the 80 GB barrier a lot longer than a year ago. My T40 is well over 2 years old and came with an 80 GB drive.

      After Seagate announced their next-generation 100 GB 7200 RPM drives (Momentus 7200.1), I waited over a year, checking every few months for availability. They never came and I gave up. Now I see they've fin

    • When you consider the size limitations placed on notebook drives (smaller platters/surface area, fewer platters per drive; I would assume the data density is the same) you can easily see why they haven't moved too far. Thanks to perpendicular recording, there are now 160GB drives with 200GB coming along soon, but I can't see them getting much bigger than that.
    • I disagree. The cost involved in buying a 120gb laptop drive is just too high. Last year the difference between buying a 80gb HD and a 100gb HD was almost double. That kind of markup makes no sense. When buying desktop hard drives the $:gb ratio goes down, why should it go up for laptops?
  • I want an upgrade (Score:3, Informative)

    by digitalgimpus (468277) on Monday November 28, 2005 @04:37PM (#14132101) Homepage
    I've been wanting to upgrade my IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad T43 with either a Hitachi 7K100 or Seagate Momentus 7200.1.

    Problem is this laptop has a SATA->IDE bridge chip (apparantly made by Intel). So you can use an IDE drive.

    Problem this gives is that most drives (with rare exception) generate a BIOS error on startup, that IBM/Lenovo has so far failed to fix.

    I'm really hoping they get it fixed. With that drive, this would be the top performing laptop on the market. It really is a nice laptop. It does have a little thermal problem, causing the fan to stay somewhat loud, even when thermals cool, but I suspect that's a BIOS upgrade at some point in the future. Sounds like the settings are a little to harsh. IMHO not a big deal.

    I'm really hoping this doesn't become a trend for Laptop HD's. I really want to upgrade. This thing is a real great example of what makes IBM/Lenovo laptops so good. Sturdy, fast, reliable. Just need that HD upgrade now ;-).
  • The one thing this review is lacking is a durability study. As someone who has been repairing laptops for the past 10 years the hard drive is the weakest link(unless you count the battery). As long as people are screaming about I/O per second or data transfer rates we are not likely to see that change. Reviews such as this are shameful in that they leave out the most important metric.
    • Yeah. I had a Toshiba 80 gig laptop drive fail on me after a couple of years use.

      It wasn't even on as much as the laptop; I had never bothered opening up the laptop to swap the drive in, so it just lived in the external aluminum enclosure that I originally planned to put the laptop's old drive in.

      If the drive is stone-cold, I get about an hour or two runtime out of it. Any longer and it stops working. And the bearings sound really, really bad.

      I guess it would take a lot longer for them to test long

  • I have an IBM t23, and let the record show that the hard drive SUCKS. It is constantly the bottleneck of the system
    • Re:IBM laptop (Score:3, Informative)

      by compwizrd (166184)
      Put a 7k60 or similar in it. I did that, and it's MUCH MUCH faster. Also, it doesn't seem to run any hotter than the stock 4200rpm drive.

      Make sure you've got 512 meg memory in the system though, not much point in replacing the hard drive if it's still going to swap to disk constantly.
    • Re:IBM laptop (Score:3, Informative)

      Don't forget, if you're using Windows, a significant portion of your performance bottleneck comes from Windows' heavy reliance on the disk for Virtual Memory (swapfile). Even when abundant RAM memory is available, most Windows OSes will swap out to disk - causing significant performance degradation. Disk I/O is much slower than RAM.

      To help improve matters (assuming, of course, that you have copious amounts of RAM installed) you can 'tune' Windows to reduce its use of the Paging File, thereby speeding th

  • I'm not really surprised that this wasn't in the article, as it's a bit specialized, but can anyone recommend a 30-40G notebook hard drive that can be used to replace the one in my Zen Xtra? It's not dead yet, but it has started grinding a bit.
  • I've been following the laptop hard disks for a little while looking for an upgrade.
    For those interested another review is at Tom's hardware [tomshardware.com].

    At any rate, as well as missing the Toshiba drives, I noticed they were using the Samsung Spinpoint M40 80GB for review. I'd discounted that previously because of it's lacklustre performance (also highlighted in the Tom's Hardware review).

    But (you knew there would be one!) there's the newer M60 series that was released recently. The HM100JC [samsung.com] looks interesting. Better t
  • I am looking at these drives for my Mac Mini and a firewire enclosure. I always thought that a raid system made out of 2.5" drives would be cool too, some nice small box that sat there looking cool holding a terabyte in very little space..... Now they can be small, quiet, energy efficient and fast.
  • I just ordered a new 15" Powerbook this evening. After spending a couple hours agonizing over whether to get the 5400rpm 120GB drive or the 7200rpm 100GB drive, and searching for objective reviews on the actual merits of the faster drive, I decided to go with the 100GB 7200rpm drive. Then 5 minutes later I looked on /. and saw this review. It looks like I made a good decision anyway.

    From TFA: Those in the market for an upgraded notebook hard drive seek more capacity and/or speed. At a rather steep pr

  • by jlseagull (106472) on Monday November 28, 2005 @08:44PM (#14134093) Homepage
    Don't use these for servers. The 10KRPM SAS 2.5" drives are the only ones in the 2.5" form factor that don't crawl into a hole and die under enterprise loads. All of these drives are meant to function on a 30% or less duty cycle in a laptop. Sure, a nice inexpensive 2.5" SATA/ATA drive may be the best in terms of energy/IOP, energy/GB transferred, and $/IOP, but performance declines at .7% a week when running enterprise loads of short random seeks. This was the rule across all mfrs. and drives I tested, from 4200 RPM to 7200 RPM. Drives begin to die after three weeks - even with adequate cooling. All three drive designers and both system designers I talked to said that they're simply not meant to be run in a server.

    Oh, and want killer IOPS with microsecond seek times? Try the Adtron SATA flash drive [adtron.com]. 40GB will only set you back $18,000. :)
    • I'd love to find out some deeper detail on what you tested/found on those 2.5" SATA drives. I can't figure out a good way to pass through an email address without attracting botspam, so if you use my user name here coupled with a very popular, happy, 100MB storage freemail provider who just copyrighted the 25th letter of the alphabet it will get to me and I can reply from my work address. I'm interested in how short and random your seeks were, and if you were able to get an idea on what the .7% degradatio
  • For the past few years, the only drives I will buy are IBM/Hitachi. I haven't had major problems with bad hard drives since I have been using them, and have always noticed them to perform a little better. I used to like Fujitsu, but then they had a bad batch of 40GB drives, and since then, I won't touch them. I've been wondering about a runner-up in case I am in a bind, and need to buy one at a local store, and I guess Seagate will be my choice.
  • by Qwavel (733416) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:47PM (#14134386)

    A USB enclosure for a 2.5" HD is cheap, small, and convenient, but which of these drives would be best for this?

    Obviously speed doesn't matter.

    Probably the most important factor is power consumption since these enclosures run off the USB power which is barely enough for these drives. The WD drive is strange in that it gets very good numbers for operating power dissapation and noise, but then is 2nd worst for startup power dissapation. I guess that puts it out of the running.

    Here's the relevant page:
    http://storagereview.com/articles/200511/notebook_ 7.html [storagereview.com]
  • The hard drive is the slowest part of a modern laptop, by far. Spending money on a faster hard drive will significantly increase performance.
  • When considering a notebook drive the one thing I am more concerned about anything is ruggedness. The review even mentioned this as a factor to consider in the overview page.

    The review, however, did not do any ruggedness testing!! At the very least they should have dropped each drive, one at a time, onto a carpet, then wooden, then concrete floor. What good is a notebook drive if a minor bumps sees the heads or platters destroyed?

    I think the review is/was largely a waste of space.

  • ... which one will still function a year from now.

    steve

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