WD Scorpio 80G & Fujitsu SATA 80G notebook drives

Storage
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June 5, 2005 by Devon Cooke with Mike Chin

Products
Western Digital Scorpio WD800VE
80GB, 5,400 RPM Notebook drive
Fujitsu MHT2080BH
80GB, 5,400 RPM SATA Notebook drive
Sample Suppliers
Market Price
Scorpio WD800VE: ~US$120
Fujitsu MHT2080BH: ~US$200

A notebook drive is an excellent alternative to a standard 3.5" drive for use in a quiet computer system. The light, compact design of a notebook drive means that a smaller, less powerful drive motor can be used, and the smaller disc size and lower spindle speed tend to cause less vibration than a 3.5" drive. We at SPCR have been recommending notebook drives for demanding silent PC seekers since the article Is the Silent PC Future 2.5-inches wide? was posted back in March 2004.

Notebook drives do have certain drawbacks. They're more expensive than desktop drives, and, although their shock resistance is usually better, they are generally less solidly built. They also lag behind a bit in both capacity and performance. The two notebook drives reviewed in this article seek to address these issues.

WD SCORPIO

The Western Digital Scorpio addresses the problem of drive fragility by manufacturing the top cover out of thick stainless steel. According to Western Digital, this makes it 50% more rigid, which should make it less easy to squash it inadvertently. The top end of the series features an 80 GB capacity and an 8 MB cache, which makes it competitive with most other notebook drives.

WESTERN DIGITAL SCORPIO (quoted from Western Digital's data sheet)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
Fast — spins at 5400 RPM and delivers seek times of 12ms. It has a standard 2 MB cache, with an 8 MB option.
We tested the 8 MB version.
Low Power — spins at 5400 RPM for fast performance but has power specifications similar to slower 4200 RPM drives. Low power consumption yields longer battery life and increased overall reliability.
Usually, there's a bigger difference in power consumption between form factors than spindle speed.
Quiet — features WD's exclusive WhisperDrive™ technology with SoftSeek™ algorithms to deliver the quietest 2.5-inch hard drive on the market.
Quite a boast for a dual platter 5,400 RPM drive. We'll see if it's true...
Reliable — provides ShockGuard™ to protect the drive mechanics and delicate platter surface from shocks, both when it's in use and when it's not. This leading-edge technology enables WD drives to meet the highest combined shock tolerance specifications in its class: 250 Gs while in operation, 900 Gs when it's idle.
More important in a notebook than a desktop system.
DuraStep Ramp™ locks the heads off the data disk to provide additional shock protection. Utilizing the most technologically advanced material available on the market, the drive is able to execute a minimum of 600,000 load/unload cycles without contamination — up to twice the performance of its competitors.
Most notebook drives unload the heads when not in use to reduce power consumption and increase shock resistance.
Rugged — WD Scorpio has a rigid stainless steel cover, unlike other devices, that will withstand greater than 5 pounds of pressure — nearly 1.5 times the industry average without pinching the motor hub or other internal components. Makes the drive less easily damaged during handling / installation.

FUJITSU MHT2080BH

Unlike desktop drives, most notebook drives still use the PATA interface. This interface is fine for a single drive notebook configuration, but it is quickly becoming obsolete in the desktop market. Many newer motherboards (notably those with Intel's 9xx chipsets) have only a single IDE channel, which makes it difficult to compensate for the limited capacity of notebook drives by using more of them.

Fujitsu is the first company to market a SATA-based drive in the 2.5" form factor. Aside from increased compatibility with desktop systems, the SATA interface also makes it easier to set up a RAID configuration. The SATA interface also makes it possible to support native command queuing, another first in the notebook market.

FUJITSU MHT2080BH (quoted from Fujitsu's data sheet)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
Serial ATA (SATA) enables the high-speed transfer of data (1.5Gb/s), outstripping older, 16-bit parallel bus technology. The 2.5-inch SATA disk drives feature Native Command Queuing (NCQ), which simultaneously coordinates up to 32 instructions to be queued and reordered by the hard disk controller.
The first SATA notebook drive on the market. It is far more convenient to use than with a PATA adapter for a desktop motherboard.
The 2.5-inch 9.5mm hard disk drive is quieter, uses less heat and power.
Quieter than what?
Three to four 2.5-inch SATA drives can fit in the same space as one 3.5-inch drive, allowing it to be used in a RAID array.
Makes it easier to install many more drives into a minitower or SFF system.
The small form factor allows for the design of compact, space efficient storage products, including notebooks and storage towers, as well as non-PC devices.
The form factor is not supported by most ATX cases, but easily adapted by the average user.
Fujitsu has nearly 20 generations of 2.5-inch form
factor product expertise.
OK, they say so.

SPECIFICATIONS

The specifications below are specific to models that we examined. Capacity, cache size, platter number, interface, and even performance vary from model to model even within a single product line. Acoustics and power dissipation also vary depending on the number of platters in the drive; smaller capacity drives tend to have fewer platters, and tend to produce less noise and use less power.

Manufacturers' Specifications
HDD Model
Western Digital Scorpio WD800VE
Fujitsu
MHT2080BH
Capacity
80 GB
80 GB
Cache
8 MB
8 MB
Platters
2
2
Rotation Speed
5,400 RPM
5,400 RPM
Interface
EIDE
SATA / SATA-II
Latency
5.50 ms
5.56 ms
Average Seek
12 ms
12 ms
Weight
117 g
99 g
Operating Temperature
5 - 60°C
5 - 55°C
Power Dissipation:
Idle / Seek
0.85 / 2.5 W
0.80 / 2.3 W
Acoustics:
Idle / Seek
20 / 21 dBA (no distance/angle given)
34 / – dBA @ 30 cm


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