Western Digital starts shipping 640GB 2.5” drive

Those 750GB and 1TB mobile hard drives are all well and good, but being thicker than normal, they’re not guaranteed to fit inside your laptop. Good thing, then, that Western Digital has started volume shipments of what it claims to be the world’s highest-capacity 2.5″ hard drive with a standard 9.5-mm thickness.

Shipping now through “select distributors and resellers,” WD’s latest Scorpio Blue mobile hard drive uses two 320GB platters to achieve a 640GB capacity. Those platters revolve at 5,400 RPM, and they sit alongside an 8MB cache and a 300MB/s Serial ATA interface. WD covers the drive with a three-year warranty, as well.

The company says it aims this product at “mainstream notebook computers,” and it seems to be pricing it accordingly, with a $149 MSRP. Of course, you can already get the 12.5-mm-thick 750GB Scorpio Blue for that much at Newegg right now. Both drives have similar specs, but the 750GB model has a slightly slower 5,200-RPM spindle speed.

Comments closed
    • Valhalla926
    • 10 years ago

    And I just ordered a 320GB drive…

    • JdL
    • 10 years ago

    WOW. 320GB / platter at 2.5″ — those things must be blazing fast, even at 5400 RPM. I’m betting right now that they will out-do the famed 640GB 7200 RPM 3.5″ drive.

    TR, you have to review one of these ASAP. This might be enough to hold me off until SSD’s come down some more.

      • mesyn191
      • 10 years ago

      I’m sure it gets great sustained read/write bandwidth and all but that isn’t as important as random read/write performance, which is where mech. disks tend to do badly.

      In particular 5400rpm disks. All the laptops that have them seem incredibly slow compared to a desktop with a 7200rpm disk.

        • JdL
        • 10 years ago

        320GB in a 2.5″ platter is significantly higher density than the 320GB 3.5″ platter, which means that more bits are passing by the read heads at a given rotational speed. Based on that, I am guessing that the 2.5″ will be on par with, if not faster than, the 3.5″ model despite the difference in rotational speed.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          But it still has high rotational latency, which hurts the random seek performance that tends to dominate most desktop uses. You’ll see higher STR, which will help streaming applications like DAW and video, but for general use you’d probably find a higher-rpm drive to be faster.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 10 years ago

    C’mon new Velociraptors! I sure hope they passed on moving those to 250GB platters because they were waiting for these.

    That would have an enormous cost per GB advantage that SSDs would be unlikely to match for quite some time, while read and write speeds could approach what SSDs get.

    That’s win-win to me, assuming they’d keep the price the same as current Velociraptors.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 10 years ago

      While the transfer rates on the Velociraptor would be even faster than their >110MB/sec read/writes, they won’t touch SSDs for random read times or just about any other “consumer” ssd with read speeds.

      For write (specifically sequential write), the Velociraptor would be nice if your day to day work load calls for it.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        For the most part, I can overlook that SSDs are technically “quicker.” You have to pay, and possibly sacrifice (capacity), a lot to get that. The particular things they do a squillion times faster would only translate to a tiny, tiny amount of time saved for me. If my hard drive is what’s making me wait on something, it’s probably because I’m loading something big.

        I think it’s great that SSDs are silent, and I wish I could get one just for that, but the fact of the matter is, most of us would end up having to use a mechanical drive with one, too, further increasing the total cost of going with a SSD, and negating the perk of never hearing your drive seek.

        And that’s where a higher capacity, and faster, Velociraptor comes in. I could use a single drive, and have something much faster than most any mechanical drive, for less cost than an SSD and a mechanical drive.

        That’s a lot of advantages, and no serious disadvantage, which, at the price of current Velociraptors, would probably work very well for a lot of people.

        No matter how fast they are, or how much faster they get, SSDs are going to have a capacity and price disadvantage for a long time to come. I don’t think most of us can stomach buying one drive, and then another $200-300 one.

          • Bombadil
          • 10 years ago

          Could a 2.5″ drive with 8GB of fast flash memory for OS and programs + slow mechanical disk be better than a Velociraptor with the same platters? I’d also like to see drives with DIMM or SODIMM slots. Wouldn’t 2GB of cache help access times? Why not all 3 on one device? I suppose the firmware writing might be complicated. If done right the mechanical drive would only rarely need to spin.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 10 years ago

            No, because the problem is still capacity. Windows 7’s normal installation would eat most of your 8GB by itself. I don’t think there’s any way around that with an actual hard drive.

            Intel’s newfangled turbo cache could potentially work like what you’re suggesting, though, as things would be moved in and out of it as needed.

            • Bombadil
            • 10 years ago

            After thinking about it yesterday, I decided to try ReadyBoost out on a Vista machine with 4GB of memory and a Samsung F3. I had a 2GB Corsair Voyager I wasn’t using anyway (28 MB/s read, 0.7 ms average access time in HD Tune). The F3 is already fast (100 MB/s average read, 13 ms access time). Haven’t found a way to quantify if there’s an improvement.

    • Da_Boss
    • 10 years ago

    I need one of these ASAP. Anyone know where I can buy one now? Newegg doesn’t seem to have posted them yet.

    • Spyder22446688
    • 10 years ago

    When will we see a single-platter 320GB Scorpio Black? The current model sports dual platters.

    • Spyder22446688
    • 10 years ago

    Oops, my bad for the double post.

    • PRIME1
    • 10 years ago

    Just in time for the new PS3

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    Need 1.8″ before I can consider, sadlyg{<.<}g

      • jabro
      • 10 years ago

      This article from ArsTechnica casts doubt on the future of the market for 1.8″ drives since the cost SSDs is falling so quickly:

      §[<http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2009/07/samsung-unable-to-find-a-pmp-netbook-buyer-for-18-hdd.ars<]§

        • indeego
        • 10 years ago

        What a strange article. Intel makes 1.8″ SSD’sg{<.<}g

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          Did you actually read the article? It says 1.8″ /[

            • indeego
            • 10 years ago

            Not really, I first read his comment:
            “This article from ArsTechnica casts doubt on the future of /[

            • UberGerbil
            • 10 years ago

            There were implicit “HD” in there you didn’t catch without the context.

    • Shinare
    • 10 years ago

    I’m not sure about these new high density drives, but a couple years ago I went from a 5,400RPM to a 7,200RPM in my laptop and the palpable difference in speed was almost night and day.

    Is it still the same way with these newer drives?

      • Bombadil
      • 10 years ago

      Yes, it is because of random access time. The rotational speed sets a hard limit to average random access time, but drives will be a variable amount slower at accessing then that limit. WD drives tend to have the smallest variable amount (good firmware).

      I am happy with my old Scorpio Black WD3200BEKT in my Eee PC, though a fast SSD is tempting even in a netbook. The 160GB Seagate 5400.4 and 5400.5 drives that came with the Eee PC are miserable. (The 5400.5 and my BEKT are both 160GB/platter–320GB/platter would be nice).

      • malicious
      • 10 years ago

      I made a similar swap(160GB 5400rpm to 320GB 7200rpm) and there was an improvement in performance but also a noticable increase in noise. The laptop is still usable, just no longer near-silent like before.

      These drives would probably be a step back in access times compared to smaller 7200rpm drives but the higher data density could give them the advantage in transfer rates.

      • Kaleid
      • 10 years ago

      Could it be that the difference was also because of higher platter density?
      And/or NCQ, more cache etc..

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