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Largest, fastest, standard height (9.5mm) laptop hard drive on the market
on July 10, 2011
I have purchased three of these hard drives, and love them. As of this writing, this is the largest, fastest, standard height (9.5mm) internal laptop hard drive on the market. It is also quite inexpensive, and fairly quiet. Like all SATA internal hard drives, this is fairly easy to install and use.
Some technical background:
Almost all internal hard drives are either 2.5" (for laptop computers) or 3.5" (for desktop computers). Almost all laptop computers sold today and in the last couple of years use SATA hard drives, like this one. The three main features to look for in a laptop hard drive are: capacity, speed, and height.
All SATA laptops can accept standard height internal SATA hard drives, which are 9.5mm tall, like this one. Some laptops can also use hard drives that are 12.5mm tall. The 12.5mm tall laptop hard drives contain an extra platter inside, so they can have higher capacity than standard height 9.5mm hard drives. Many Mac laptops can use both the 9.5mm tall and the 12.5mm tall internal hard drives, so you have a choice. The Dell laptops that I am familiar with can only accept the standard height 9.5mm internal hard drives. This particular Scorpio Black hard drive is the standard 9.5mm tall, so it can be used in any laptop computer that uses SATA hard drives, which is almost every laptop computer sold today.
Hard drive speed is another consideration. Most hard drives rotate at either 7200 rpm (rotations per minute) or around 5200-5400 rpm. For performance, 7200 rpm is significantly faster. Applications like Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing specify that you should use a 7200 rpm drive (if possible) for best performance. If top performance is not a big consideration for you, or if you are mostly using the drive just as extra storage, 5400 rpm is perfectly fine. This particular drive is 7200 rpm, so it is very fast and is excellent for performance applications.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The fastest internal laptop hard drives of all are the fairly new solid-state drives (SSD drives). These "drives" are really just special persistent memory chips, put into an enclosure with a SATA interface so it looks just like an internal laptop SATA hard drive. As such, SSD SATA laptop drives can be used in any laptop computer that uses SATA internal drives (which is almost all laptops sold in the last couple of years). If you want super fast speed, look at SSD drives. They are amazingly fast, and look and act just like a normal hard drive. (Plus, SSD drives are whisper quiet, because they have no moving parts.) Your laptop will boot up in a flash and your applications that are hard disk intensive will zoom along, it's quite impressive. SSD drives are more expensive than traditional hard drives, but if you only need moderate amounts of hard disk space, look at the pricing on SSD drives, you might find that it is worth it for you.
OK, back to "normal" laptop hard drives. They have gotten so cheap, you may as well buy the highest-capacity, fastest drive you can that will fit in your laptop, so you can sort of "future proof" your laptop. As of this writing, this particular Western Digital Scorpio Black hard drive is tied with the highest-capacity (750GB), highest speed (7200 rpm), standard height (9.5mm) laptop (2.5") internal laptop hard drives on the market, and it only costs around $100 or so.
If you want even higher capacity, and your laptop can handle 12.5mm height drives, and you don't mind the drive being a little slower (5200 rpm), consider the Western Digital 1 TB Scorpio Blue SATA 3 Gb/s 5200 RPM 8 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Notebook Hard Drive - WD10TPVT drive, which has a full 1TB of capacity (33% more than the 750GB capacity of this Scorpio Black drive), and costs about the same as this Scorpio Black drive.