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The SR Notebook Drive Roundup


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#1 Eugene

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 07:32 AM

StorageReview meets notebook drives! This initial look at 7 different drives from 5 separate manufacturers takes a look at today's best 7200 RPM units and how they fare against their more thrifty 5400 RPM counterparts as well as how they differ from full-size desktop-class drives. Join us as we take a look at the storage devices powering the burgeoning notebook computer market!

2005 Notebook Drive Roundup

#2 udaman

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 09:04 AM

StorageReview meets notebook drives! This initial look at 7 different drives from 5 separate manufacturers takes a look at today's best 7200 RPM units and how they fare against their more thrifty 5400 RPM counterparts as well as how they differ from full-size desktop-class drives. Join us as we take a look at the storage devices powering the burgeoning notebook computer market!

2005 Notebook Drive Roundup


1st off, let me be the 1st to say it...Woohoo, finally! SR laptop/notebook/small form factor (2.5in 24/7 blade server drives too?) reviews, yeah. Yea!

But then I see too many contradictions/conclusions based on what, misinformation/ignorance/lack of understanding? See, you now remember my question from that other thread ;). More on that later, for now I'll just rejoice at there finally being some laptop reviews on SR, a day I thought would likely never come before laptop drives get replaced in the main by NAND flash memory.

From the review linked above:

"further slowing things down with physically longer seeks." Now which is it Eugene, you say in other threads that seek times are no longer very revelant, yet you cite this "longer seeks" as a reason for laptop drives being slower. Are you a hypocrite, or do you not really understand the more technical aspects of performance of drives as you speak? Perhaps I'm misreading your statements, but they don't appear to add up. So which is it?

Is seek time still important?

"is seek time more an anachronistic measure that no longer has a large bearing on contemporary performance?"

#3 Eugene

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 09:28 AM

But then I see too many contradictions/conclusions based on what, misinformation/ignorance/lack of understanding? Are you a hypocrite, or do you not really understand the more technical aspects of performance of drives as you speak?


Were my selections in the conclusion indeed based on broad-stroke seek performance, I would accept your comment as legitimate criticism.

Since they were not, however, I believe the ignorance and lack of understanding is on your part. The quote you cite was added when a pre-publish proofreader suggested that capacity's effects on overall performance should be mentioned, especially since the two 100 GB 7200 RPM models eventually meet the 500 GB ATA behemoths towards the end.

#4 iatacs19

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 11:14 AM

Well the largest notebook drive size they have is 100GB, so to even come close to a 500GB DeathStar 7K500, you would need to mutiply noise and power consumption figures by 5 which would consume just as much power and make even more noise than having a single 7K500.

There won't be any direct comparisons to desktop drives that are practical until notebook drives can reach much higher capacities.

#5 Guest_888_*

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 12:43 PM

It's interesting to note that in fact these notebook drives tested here with noise levels (37.7)39.6 - 41.5 dBA are really practically at the same noise level with some of the new popular desktop drives tested here like:

Samsung SpinPoint P80 (160 GB SATA) - 40.1 dBA
Maxtor MaXLine III (300 GB SATA) - 41.7 dBA
Western Digital Caviar WD3200JD (320 GB SATA) - 41.7 dBA
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 (400 GB SATA) - 41.8 dBA

So I think the noise comparison charts (Notebook vs Desktop) on the page
http://www.storagere...notebook_8.html
may be a bit desinformating. May be add there an additional commenting sentence noting this fact that there are also the same silent level "big drives" available?

Or was I understood something wrong here?

#6 Guest_888_*

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 02:09 PM

........
Also, i'm puzzled about this sentence in article on page
http://www.storagere...notebook_7.html

"Objectively speaking, WD's Scorpio tops the charts with a measured sound pressure of just 37.7 dB/A at a distance of 18 mm"

Is it correct here at 18 mm or is it typo? As the measuring provisions and graphs heading still say 3 mm there. Is this WD Scorpio noise level measured differently?

#7 Eugene

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 02:11 PM

Is it correct here at 18 mm or is it typo? As the measuring provisions and graphs heading still say 3 mm there. Is this WD Scorpio noise level measured differently?


That's a typo... fixing it now, thanks :)

#8 MisterC

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for the review.

Is there a reason why the Toshiba drives weren't reviewed?

--MisterC

#9 NetAsh

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:21 AM

ok, the most interesting topic in there 7200rpm drives

http://www.hitachigs...7k100/7k100.htm

Capacity: 100 / 80 / 60
Data heads: 4 / 4 / 3
Data disks: 2 / 2 / 2
Max. areal density: 81 / 66 / 66

so, 100gb version and other two are diferent in performance. and unfortunatly there can be drastical diferences...

is it possible to review all capacity versions? or atleast 80 gb version(s) ;)

btv. i gues 80gb momentus might perform better than 80gb travelstar...

#10 Steel

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 09:45 AM

From the article: "Planning to deploy a server running a 2.5" notebook drive?"

Keep in mind many high density blade servers use 2.5" notebook drives due to space constraints and to cut down on heat generation.

Edited by Steel, 29 November 2005 - 09:45 AM.

#11 Gilbo

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:23 AM

Come one Udaman, you're better than this. Your criticisms are, honestly, ridiculous considering the context of the statement you're complaining about. Might I suggest that you are having trouble "seeing the forest for the trees." Forgive me, but that is a classic reading comprehension error among people who like to hear themselves talk...

Are those not, or are those not performance factors? It's an introduction. Hell, it's a bullet-point, summary introduction. The fact that Eugene didn't clutter up the introduction to a laptop disk review with a comprehensive examination of the relative impact of the various disk performance factors is a testament to the fact that he can tell what is relevant to spend time on and what is not --his time and ours--, which is something sorely lacking in today's online journalism. Serious readers who want that information can seek it out in contexts where its inclusion contributes rather than detracts.

There's contributing valuable criticism and there is silly nitpicking which belies an appreciation for context and the big picture. Any writer has to know which is which whether they're writing original source or secondary literature otherwise they waste their own time as well as that of others.

Would you rather an Anandtech-style review, pulling in the ad play with a thousand words of filler meandering around for every insightful observation? I shudder at the thought...

#12 Gilbo

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:27 AM

From the article: "Planning to deploy a server running a 2.5" notebook drive?"

Keep in mind many high density blade servers use 2.5" notebook drives due to space constraints and to cut down on heat generation.

I think blades are typically used in more highly parallelizable, CPU intensive workloads like hosting services. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but typically such systems --if they had high IO requirements-- would be served by a database server with real disks.

#13 Eugene

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 12:35 PM

Is there a reason why the Toshiba drives weren't reviewed?


The main reason is our lack of direct contact with Toshiba... combined with other mitigating delays, we decided it would be best overal to publish and provide "proof of concept" before approaching a new firm for products.

A forum reader graciously offered to loan SR his 50 GB Toshiba, representative not as a current drive but rather a unit one would upgrade from. While we appreciated the offer, we decided it was best to leave Toshiba out rather than have an older unit as their only entry.

We're hoping to bring individual drive readers featuring Toshiba units to you shortly... keep checking back!

Keep in mind many high density blade servers use 2.5" notebook drives due to space constraints and to cut down on heat generation.


As Gilbo mentioned, blade servers (hopefully) are being used where high-density computing rather than busy high-density storage is needed. Notebook drives, even more so than desktop units (as opposed to SCSI drives), are simply not designed for duty cycles that involve continuous seeking for extended periods of time.

#14 continuum

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 02:13 PM

Woohooo!

Nice, very nice. Glad to see you included the WD I've used so many of...

#15 bfg9000

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 06:21 PM

Seagate's Momentus 7200.1 claws its way past the Travelstar 7K100 to seize the top slot in our FarCry replay. ..
...The 7K100 strikes back when it comes to our replay of The Sims 2.


Not to nitpick, but this sensational blow-by-blow ringside type reporting is completely unlike anything I've ever seen on SR before :o !
Kinda like reading a review at... Tom's, only there he'd conclude something like: "as you can see the 7200.1 is 2% slower so can hardly be considered usable by anyone" :rolleyes:

I've been waiting so long for this review that I don't mind, but it just seems a little different for SR. OK it's nitpicking but we're used to having SR as the dry authoritative source and the exuberance is jarring.

Any chance of testing older drives like the 7k60? I'm sure a lot of us use SR to decide when to upgrade to newer technology, and a direct comparison using the same methodologies would be most helpful.

#16 Spod

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 01:54 AM

From the article: "Planning to deploy a server running a 2.5" notebook drive?"

Keep in mind many high density blade servers use 2.5" notebook drives due to space constraints and to cut down on heat generation.


Thes seems a good reason to reiterate the difference between 2.5" notebook drives (like the ones reviewed here), and 2.5" enterprise server drives, like the Seagate Savvio.
Just because they share the same width, doesn't make them the same - just compare the multi-user graphs for notebook drives with that for 10,000 RPM drives. Any server or SAN that takes advantage of the 2.5" form factor and needs I/O performance wouldn't (well, shouldn't) touch a notebook drive with a bargepole when the Savvio is available. And the Savvio, while hotter than a notebook drive, is cooler than every 3.5" drive measured here. Finally, as Eugene mentioned, the intended duty cycle is very different; the Savvio is simply more robust for continous server workloads.

bfg9000, some people have been waiting years for this... let them have their fun!

Edited by Spod, 30 November 2005 - 01:55 AM.

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#17 bfg9000

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 04:13 AM

I know, but the review was so technically perfect in the usual SR style that there wasn't anything else to criticize ;) . I know none of the old-timers would confuse the sizzle with the steak, but I've been seeing a lot of new members in the forums since SR was on the front page of Techreport, and was worried that they might.

I've been waiting a long time too... long enough to have used five generations of laptop drives; so I was hoping to find how my latest ones compare.

#18 hfricke

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 06:21 AM

Nice review. Does this mean that the Travelstar 5k80 won't get reviewed any more? I'd like to enter data for the reliability survey, but none of the laptop drives Dell has shipped to us in the past year has been reviewed so far.

#19 grnmyeyes

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 07:16 PM

Regarding the Toshiba drives, I'll add my voice to the list of folks whining for a review. I'm curious to see how a 5400rpm drive with 16MB cache compares to the Hitachi and Seagate 7200rpm models, both of which have an 8MB cache.

#20 sprockkets

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 12:01 PM

The E7K100 series 2.5" HDD from Hitachi features 24/7 operation just for blades and such.

I just bought a 7200rpm 80 7K100. Nice, sounds like a little 180GXP HDD (not like the newest generation 7k500).

That thing gets very warm compared to the 5400rpm Fujitsu it replaced.

Edited by sprockkets, 02 December 2005 - 12:01 PM.

#21 phoenix

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 07:47 AM

Excellent review.....

#22 Arcanedeath

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 01:03 AM

I'll 2nd the request for the 7k60 and 5k80 to be reviewd :)

also fyi Great review its been a long time in coming :)

Edited by Arcanedeath, 17 December 2005 - 01:04 AM.

#23 Momo26

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 03:31 PM

The E7K100 series 2.5" HDD from Hitachi features 24/7 operation just for blades and such.

I just bought a 7200rpm 80 7K100. Nice, sounds like a little 180GXP HDD (not like the newest generation 7k500).

That thing gets very warm compared to the 5400rpm Fujitsu it replaced.


Sprockkets (or to anyone who can help): You replaced a 5400rpm Fujitsu with a 7200rpm 80 7k100. When you say 'that thing gets very warm comapared to the 5400rpm", do you mean the 7k100 gets very warm compared to the Fujitsu, or the 'little 180GXP HDD'?

I'm thinking about upgrading a Fujitsu 80GB 5400rpm hard drive, to a 7k60 60gb 7200rpm hard drive (i'm pretty sure it is Hitachi). Will I notice much a a performance boost? How much more heat will actually be produced? I plan to take the notebook as mobile machine and I want to minimize heat and noise. (Apps used include MS Office, web, some photo editing...quite basic stuff, perhaps little gaming). I am just wondering if the performance boost is worth the extra heat and noise produced...if I can, would it be better to go to the 80GB 7200rpm Hitachi appose to the 60GB one? (Keeping in mind capacity is not an issue/concern).

Thanks in Advance

Momo

#24 technocat

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 05:51 PM

Now that SR is reviewing/rating notebook drives, I wish SR would include models that have not been reviewed in the Drive Reliability Survey. I have replaced *TWO* Hitachi 5K80 80 Gb drives that each failed within six months of installation in a very lightly used ThinkPad X31. These drives are still on the market and the (lack of) reliability of these drives should be a concern to all. I had better luck with the infamous 75GXPs, the first one didn't fail until almost two years after installation!

Installed first 5K80 in 12/04, failed 5/05. Installed second 5K80 in 6/05, failed 12/05. Both failed Hitachi Drive Fitness Test with bad or corrupted sector errors, error code 0x70 - Defective Device. First 5K80 TRC (Technical Result Code) = 7010C36A, second 5K80 TRC = 7010C632.

I replaced them with 5K100 100Gb drives, let's see how they hold up. Now I'm concerned about a third 5K80 80Gb drive I have running in a ThinkPad 240X, I may replace it just to be safe.

Anyone else have problems with the 5K80 drives?

#25 Spod

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 07:20 AM

Could it have just been the vendor not packing the drives well enough? Or could poor quality mains power, temperature, humidity or handling have been involved?
If I'm wrong, please tell me why. I'm trying to help, but I'm here to learn, too.
See my profile for PC specs. I do not practise what I preach.



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