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HD Tune — Transfer rates
We'll begin with HD Tune, which offers a series of targeted tests that will give some insight into each drive's raw potential. From there, we'll proceed to more real-world measures of drive performance.

I've removed the SSDs and 3.5" mechanical drives from all of our line graphs to make them a little easier read. Plus, Excel really doesn't have enough colors. If you'd like to see how the transfer-rate profiles of leading SSDs and larger desktop drives compare, check out this page of our Caviar Green 3TB review.

Although the Scorpio Black 750GB doesn't hit its supposed 180MB/s peak transfer rate at any time during HD Tune's read speed test, the drive does manage to outpace the competition. The Spinpoint MP4 is just a few MB/s shy of the Scorpio's average read speed, while the 500GB Black trails a full 10MB/s behind. Seagate's Momentus 750GB is the only notebook drive to match the new Scorpio's storage capacity, and it's a little slower than the Spinpoint.

So, what about write speeds?

Things look pretty similar. The Scorpio Black 750GB leads the 2.5" mechanicals and is followed by the Spinpoint and the 750GB Momentus. Once again, the 500GB Black trails the newcomer by 10MB/s.

If you scroll up a little, you'll notice that the 750GB Scorpio (and its 500GB brother) have smoother transfer-rate profiles than the Momentus 750GB and the Spinpoint. This difference is more apparent in HD Tune's write speed test than with reads.

Next up: some burst-rate tests that should test the cache speed of each drive. We've omitted the X25-V RAID array from the following results because it uses a slice of system memory as a drive cache.

The new Scorpio Black's DRAM cache appears to be faster than that of its predecessor in both of HD Tune's burst speed tests. That extra oomph isn't quite enough to catch the Travelstar and Spinpoint, but it does move the Scorpio into third place among notebook drives.