WD Scorpio Black 750GB & Scorpio Blue 1TB

Storage
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Noise



The Scorpio Black 750G and Scorpio Blue 1TB at idle.

When idle both of our hard drive samples were reasonably quiet with the Scorpio Black 750GB measuring 16 dBA@1m and the Scorpio Blue 15 dBA@1m. The sound they emitted was very soft and inconspicuous though the Black generated a noticeably more prominent hissing sound, undoubtedly because of its higher rotational speed. As you can see from the spectrum graphs above, the Black's 7200 RPM spindle speed produced a substantial spike at a frequency of 120 Hz.



The Scorpio Black 750G and Scorpio Blue 1TB during seek activity.

The Scorpio Black's seeks were rather muted while the Blue's seeks were sharper and more pronounced. It seemed to us the Black was actually quieter in this regard, but because its background idle noise was higher, the Black turned out to be the noisier of the two by about half a decibel.

DRIVE COMPARISON TABLE

NOTEBOOK HARD DRIVES
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
Hitachi Travelstar 5K320-250 250GB
May 2009
firmware FBE0C40C
8
Idle
13
1.08 W (0.85 W heads unloaded)
Seek
13~14
2.15 W
Seagate Momentus
XT 500GB
ST95005620AS

June 2010
firmware SD22
7
Idle
13~14
1.34 W (1.16 W heads unloaded)
Seek
14~15
2.08 W
Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B 500GB
February 2009
firmware PB4OC60G
8
Idle
14
0.7 W (0.6 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15
2.2 W
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB ST9500420AS
March 2009
firmware 0002SDM1
7
Idle
14
1.1 W (0.9 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15
2.35 W
Seagate Momentus 750GB ST9750420AS
October 2010
firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
15
1.06 W (0.85 W heads unloaded)
Seek
15~16
2.60 W
WD Scorpio Blue 1TB WD10JPVT
July 2011
firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
15
0.89 W (0.75 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
1.86 W
WD Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000BEVT
September 2008
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15
0.95 W (0.8 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
2.5 W
WD Scorpio Black 750GB WD7500BPKT
November 2010
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
16
1.18 W (1.01 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16~17
2.28 W
WD Scorpio Blue 640GB WD6400BEVT
September 2009
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15~16
0.87 W (0.74 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
1.95 W
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB ST9500325ASG
February 2009
firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
16
0.8 W (0.65 W heads unloaded)
Seek
18
2.2 W

While not as quiet as some of the superb 500GB 5400 RPM models of the past, we consider the Scorpio Blue 1TB to be quiet enough especially considering its massive capacity. The Scorpio Black is the loudest 7200 RPM notebook drive we've reviewed in quite some time but it's not that much louder than the Blue and frankly can be forgiven thanks to its superb performance. The Seagate Momentus XT 500GB delivers the best of both worlds but can't offer as much capacity.

The Scorpio Black 750GB also had a noticeable amount of vibration scoring a 7 on our subjective scale, while the Scorpio Blue 1TB had very little. Hard mounted in a laptop, the vibration would transfer to the chassis unless dampened resulting in poorer acoustics. The vibration level was similar to that of the Momentus XT though, so it seems unavoidable if you want the good laptop drive performance unless you're willing to sacrifice storage space and use a solid-state drive.



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