Laptop computers needn't have any less storage than desktops, and the Hitachi TravelStar 5K500.B 500GB hard drive from Hitachi proves it.

The Hitachi TravelStar 5K500.B has a standard 2.5in form factor and uses two platters. As is usual with most such HDDs, it features a buffer size of 8MB and spins at 5400rpm.

The fact that the Hitachi TravelStar 5K500.B uses a standard SATA II interface, is small and does not generate heat also makes it a candidate for enthusiasts to use in a desktop. Hitachi claims the power usage is reduced to 0.5W during idle and 1.4W during read/write, as against other laptop HDDs that consume 0.85W and 2.85W respectively.

Synthetic benchmarks and real world tests were run using our testbench to eliminate bottlenecks. We measured a read speed average of 65.5Mbps, and write speed average of 58Mbps, and never went below a minimum of 35Mbps.

These numbers put this HDD about 6Mbps faster than the average. Real world file read/write speeds stood at 77.3Mbps for a single large file (6.42GB), but fell to 66.4Mbps as expected when copying multiple smaller files (800 files totaling up to 6.36GB). Transfering files from one partition to another on the same drive was at an average of 24Mbps.

This means the drive's real world read/write speeds are 10Mbps higher than the average, but moving files between partitions is slow by the same extent. Both read and write access times averaged at 18.4 ms which is slightly slower than the average of 17ms for most other such drives. Under normal operating conditions, the drive is inaudible unless you press your ear to it.

OUR VERDICT

The Hitachi TravelStar 5K500.B does consume less power, but other laptop HDD manufacturers have managed to achieve quite the same speeds today. So unless you need the power savings or BDE (bulk drive encryption – useful for organizations), this drive doesn’t distinguish itself from the others.