by Jerry Jackson
The hard drive inside your notebook is far more important than most people realize. Not only is the capacity important in terms of how much data you can store on your computer, but hard drive speed impacts your laptop's performance and hard drive power consumption affects battery life. Should you replace your laptop's hard drive with a Western Digital Scorpio drive? We took a close look at these drives to help you make a decision.
Why are we spending time reviewing notebook hard drives rather than just reviewing notebooks? Because the hard drive is one of the primary bottleneck components in every notebook. The hard drive hiding inside your laptop has to access the data needed to launch applications, store your files, open your files, and has to start and shutdown the operating system. A faster hard drive means a faster notebook. If you're happy with your current notebook but wish it was just a little bit faster, there's a good chance replacing the hard drive will make your laptop run faster.
So whether you just want the fastest notebook possible or want to improve the performance of your old laptop, a new hard drive might be just what you need.
The Western Digital Scorpio Blue series of 2.5-inch hard drives ($40-$100 street price based on capacity) are rated at 5400rpm with 8MB of cache and are intended for mobile devices that need high-capacity storage, fast and quiet performance, and low power consumption. These drives sacrifice the extreme speed of 7200rpm hard drives, but offer more Storage capacity (up to 500GB) and less power consumption under load. Scorpio Blue drives come with a 3-year warranty.
The Western Digital Scorpio Black series of 2.5-inch hard drives ($50-$90 street price based on capacity) are rated at 7200rpm with 16MB of cache and are designed for notebooks that require the fastest possible hard drive performance. These drives sacrifice high capacity (only up to 320GB rather than 500GB) and consume more power in order to achieve the best possible performance. Some Scorpio Black drives (WDxxxxBJKT models only) are equipped with free-fall sensors that detect when the drive is falling and, in less than 200 milliseconds, parks the head to help prevent damage and data loss. Scorpio Black drives come with a 5-year warranty.
Both types of Scorpio notebook drives share much of the same technology, such as "WhisperDrive" for quieter operation and "ShockGuard" and "SecurePark" to protect the drive mechanics and data platter surfaces. We'll talk about these in more depth later on, but the point is that both these drives have features that make them excellent potential candidates for your next laptop hard drive.
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