Hitachi travelstar 7k100 review

£97
Price when reviewed

The Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 is the only 7,200rpm drive here this month, and it immediately showed its pace in our tests. Not only did it top our sustained transfer rate table, scoring 43MB/sec compared to the next highest score of 36MB/sec, but it carried through this theoretical pace into our real-world tests too: Photoshop completed in 404 seconds, 7.5 seconds quicker than its nearest rival.

Hitachi travelstar 7k100 review

There’s no power-consumption penalty either; in fact, Hitachi claims lower power consumption than many 5,400rpm drives. Instead, the area you pay the price is per gigabyte of storage – this 100GB drive costs £8 more than the 120GB Samsung. It’s also not the quietest disk on test, although not by so much that most people will notice.

We’ve long been fans of Samsung’s desktop hard disks, and the Samsung SpinPoint M60 Series didn’t disappoint. Some of the best news is in its cost: £89 is the lowest price here, and thanks to its 120GB capacity – for the model we tested, the HM120JC – that translates into a wallet-friendly 74p per gigabyte.

It isn’t quite as remarkable when it comes to speed, ending up in the middle of the pack in almost all areas of testing. For example, 414 seconds in our Photoshop test is slap bang between the Hitachi’s 404 seconds and Toshiba’s 423. However, it’s a good choice if you’re after a quiet hard disk: its claimed sound output of 26dBA will be barely audible even in the dead of night.

The only reason it doesn’t walk away with a Recommended award is the Western Digital Scorpio, which is even quieter. You’ll have to place your ear right up next to the Scorpio at 3am in the morning if you want to hear it search for data – truly remarkable. It isn’t the drive to choose if you’re after the fastest performance, though, as it generally found itself in the middle of the pack in our speed tests. That said, it managed to claim second place in our Photoshop benchmark, taking 412 seconds on average to complete our demanding set of photo-editing tasks.

This leaves one drive: the Seagate Momentus 5400.3. It may be the most expensive disk here, but as you’re buying 160GB of storage instead of the more common 120GB it still works out joint-cheapest per gigabyte; namely, 74p. Seagate achieves this extra density by using perpendicular recording technology (rather than the more standard longitudinal), which it’s claimed will eventually increase storage densities by up to ten times.

This leads to a higher areal density, which in turn helped the Momentus to the fastest score in our sustained transfer rate tests at 36MB/sec – for a 5,400rpm drive at least. The 7,200rpm Hitachi managed 43MB/sec and, more importantly, the Travelstar was also 3% faster in our Photoshop benchmark.

Where the Seagate Momentus loses out to Western Digital’s offering is noise, but only those of a sensitive disposition should be put off. Upgrade your notebook to a 160GB Momentus and not only will you get that promised speed boost, you’ll also get a quite phenomenal amount of storage.

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