Western Digital’s Scorpio Black 500 GB hard disk drive is a 2.5-inch form-factor internal SATA-2 model (model code WD5000BEKT). This series of WD is targeted at performance, and speedy it sure is considering it is a laptop drive! It spins at 7200rpm which is faster than most laptop drives and has a buffer of 16 MB. The looks of this drive are not going to be a factor beyond the first time you take it out of its packaging and view its label, since it is going to be out of sight during operation.
The WD Scorpio Black 500GB performs atleast 20% better than a normal (5400RPM) laptop hard drive
If you are looking to get closer to the performance of a desktop HDD using a laptop HDD, this large capacity internal drive could well be the answer. Since it uses normal SATA 3Gb/s connectors for data and power, you can hook it up to a laptop, desktop or even encase it for use as an external USB drive. Presumably, it uses two platters to achieve the drive capacity of 500 GB. As expected, the WD Scorpio Black 500GB capacity drive offers a usable data storage space of 465.8 GB after being formatted. All through intense testing, it did not become audible nor did it go beyond getting slightly warm to the touch, both of which are good signs. WD claims power usage averages of 0.85W at idle and 2.5W during normal read/write operation, which places it better than a standard desktop HDD (3.5-inch) which would consume 6W on average.
We run synthetic benchmarks and real world tests on a high-end testbench to eliminate bottlenecks. We measured a read speed average of 88.7 MB/s, and a write speed average of 83.6 MB/s. Real world file read/write speeds conducted when the drive was empty, showed a speed of 95.2 MB/s for a single large file (6.42 GB), but fell to 61.9 MB/s as expected, when copying multiple smaller files (1287 files totaling up to 2.33 GB). Transferring these small files from the first partition to a second one on the same drive (simultaneous read/write) was at a lower speed of 28.5 MB/s which was expected because the speed chart naturally dips as it approaches the end of the “partition table. Read and write access times averaged 14.87 ms and 7.40 ms (milli-seconds) respectively, with a CPU usage of 1 per cent.
These performance numbers are on par with what we expected of it, and it is atleast 20% better than normal (5400RPM) laptop hard drives. Performance-wise, the WD Scorpio Black 500GB drive ran neck-and-neck with the Hitachi TravelStar 7K500 500GB drive that we have tested earlier. Western Digital offers a warranty of 5 years upon this drive.
While this laptop drive may not reach the dizzying heights scaled by desktop HDDs, it still is a satisfying product for those who’d like more speed but don’t want to buy SSDs which offer low storage capacity currently. Its performance is comparable to that seen on Seagate and Hitachi’s 7200rpm laptop HDDs but offers a higher warranty period. Those who want more storage space instead of drive speed might like the WD Scorpio Blue 750GB drive better.