On the surface, little separates these 500GB notebook driveswell, the 5,400-RPM models, anyway. But after seeing how each handled our diverse suite of performance tests, a clear winner has emerged.
That winner does not come from the Seagate camp, despite the fact that the Momentus 7200.4 boasts a higher spindle speed than the rest of the pack. I was hoping the faster-spinning platters, combined with a larger cache, would translate into better real-world performance. But they don't. The Momentus was often slower than the best 5,400-RPM drives, and while it enjoyed a few moments in the spotlight, those victories were far too rare to justify the drive's significantly higher price.
The Momentus 5400.6's sub-$90 asking price is considerably more competitive. For the most part, though, the drive's performance is not. The 5,400-RPM Momentus actually held its own with demanding multi-tasking and multi-user loads. However, it didn't fare as well in WorldBench and was easily the slowest in FC-Testbenchmarks, which are far more indicative of typical notebook workloads than either iPEAK or IOMeter.
Samsung's Spinpoint M7 is the Jekyll and Hyde of the bunch. In some tests, the drive performs quite well. However, when the Spinpoint struggles, it really struggles. The M7 fell well short of the competition when faced with our disk-intensive multitasking workloads, and it hit the same random write performance drop-off in IOMeter as the Momentus 7200.4. I do like the Spinpoint's low noise levels, but there are more well-rounded drives for the money.
Rather than oscillating between impressive and depressing performances, Hitachi's Travelstar 5K500.B was decidedly average throughout our testing. This drive lived in the middle of the pack, and while its ability to handle a mix of workloads without floundering is admirable, the Travelstar is actually slightly more expensive than our clear favorite of the bunch.
That favorite? Western Digital's Scorpio Blue. We subject drives to a varied mix of performance tests because we're looking for weaknesses, and the Scorpio Blue exhibited none. It may not have come out ahead of the pack in each and every test, but over our entire suite, the Scorpio was clearly the performance leader. At just $90 online, the Blue won't cost you more than other drives we've looked at today, either. Picking an Editor's Choice doesn't get any easier than that.
58 comments — Last by YeuEmMaiMai at 10:26 PM on 06/13/09
|The TR Podcast 167.5 bonus edition: You guys ask us stuff!The chat channel hops into the driver's seat||4|
|Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones reviewedSupersize me||189|
|Samsung's 850 EVO solid-state drive reviewed3D V-NAND's destiny||55|
|The SSD Endurance Experiment: Two freaking petabytesThe survivors soldier on to another really big number||60|
|TR's 2014 Christmas gift guideThe best techie-friendly items for under your tree||52|
|TR's November 2014 mobile staff picksCore M and phablets ahoy||74|
|A first taste of Lollipop on Nvidia's Shield TabletAndroid 5.0 comes to the other Tegra K1 slate||35|
|Corsair's Neutron Series XT solid-state drive reviewedMy SSD controller has more cores than yours||24|
|New HP Chromebook combines Tegra K1, 1080p touch screen||6|
|Friday night topic: what are you giving for Christmas?||116|
|Notes from TR's next-gen storage testing||26|
|Today's Steam deals include AC Unity, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel||32|
|Deal of the week: A Radeon R9 290X for $280, a 960GB SSD for $339, and more||2|
|RRAM breakthrough could lead to 1Tb chips built on 28-nm tech||24|
|The TR Podcast 167.5 bonus edition: You guys ask us stuff!||4|
|AC Unity season pass holders can now redeem their free game||13|