Western Digital differentiates its 5400rpm drives with the name Scorpio Blue, while Scorpio Black refers to the higher performance 7200rpm models.
We tried a WD50000BEVT Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB unit, a 500GB 2.5in notebook drive. This is well suited to laptop users who need plenty of storage capacity without necessarily looking for the last word in performance.
The Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB features an 8MB buffer and high-speed 3Gb/s interface, often referred to as SATA-II. In WD's specs, it lists an average latency of 5.5ms, and read seek time of 12ms, all figures that bode well for a relatively snappy system.
Using a MacBook Pro 2.4GHz as a test bed, we used Worldbench 6 to get a measure of system performance. The result was 89 points. That's comfortably higher than the standard supplied Apple drive.
In Xbench synthetic benchmarking, the Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB turned in some impressive results: sequential writes rose from 41MB/s to 79MB/s (4k); and from 38MB/s to 51MB/s (256k blocks). While these results are slightly below those of the Hitachi 7K320, the Scorpio Blue recorded an uncached random write result of 1.74MB/s, pulling ahead of the 1.09MB/s from the Hitachi.
In general use, the Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB's WhisperDrive technology helped give this drive the distinct advantage in noise and vibration, proving effectively silent in both respects.
The Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB is a worthy replacement to a standard, smaller drive already in place in your laptop. While not quite as quick as a 7200rpm drive such as the Hitachi 7K320, it should be quick enough for most users, especially for those who prize a quiet life with no added vibration in their notebook.