For those who demand performance wherever they may be, Western Digital's Scorpio Black offers the ultimate in mechanical storage.
SSDs are lovely little boxes for those who demand a solid platform of performance for the rest of their notebook, but they’re still far too expensive for those of us with serious storage needs. Anything over 256GB requires a trust fund to purchase, yet the step back to mechanical drives in the portable realm usually involves a leap back to prehistoric 5,400rpm speeds. Not anymore! WD’s new Scorpio has a 7,200rpm sting in its tail that bridges the gap between SSD and mechanical drives.
Like most of WD’s new drives, the Scorpio packs the new Advanced Format sector formatting, which utilises 4k sectors. While this is necessary for drives over 2TB in size, it also improves the performance of the drive’s Error Correcting Code (ECC). The drive packs a 16MB cache and SATA 3Gbit/s interface, all while spinning at a healthy 7,200rpm. Yet, despite the boost in specifications, it only uses as much power as a standard 5,400rpm drive.
Testing the drive in Crystal Mark gave us very impressive results. Sequential read and write speed posted at 132MB/s and 128MB/s respectively, equalling that of desktop drives and exceeding many SSDs. As the files got smaller, the speeds decreased, with the 512k read/write test posting a read result of 48MB/s (about a fifth the speed of a decent SSD), while the write result of 65MB/s is around half that of most SSDs. At just $129, the Scorpio is one critter we wouldn’t mind finding in our sleeping bag. It’s fast, affordable and uses hardly any power — perfect for the portable performance user.Available from Western Digital, retailing for $129
.APC rating: 9/10 (Editor's Choice)