In the charts on the following pages you will find all the recently tested 2.5-inch hard disks of 500 GB or larger, as comparison material.
The most important test remains PCMark Vantage which gives a score for real world performance by running simulations of hard drive activity of real programmes. The total score is the most interesting of course, but PCMark Vantage has some useful subscores as well, for example for gaming and starting up Windows.
PCMark 7, which gives realistic scores for the Windows 7 era, was not available when we did our last large-scale comparison test of hard drives. We have tested a few 1TB drives, including the popular Samsung Spinpoint F3, but there is far less comparison material there.
In addition to the PCMark benchmarks, we performed a number of synthetic tests. First there is the HDTune benchmark that measures the sequential read and write speeds. Contrary to SSDs, hard drives are faster when they are emptier than when they are almost full. The simple reason for this is that they start writing on the outside of the disk where there is more data per revolution. In the chart you will find minimum, maximum and average speeds for both reading and writing. HDTune also determines the average access time.
The HDTune Random Access test is actually a combination of access time and transfer rate. We measure how long it takes to read or write different sized data (512 bytes, 4 kB, 64 kB and 1MB) in random locations on the hard drive. The benchmark indicates how many operations per second can be achieved. There is an enormous gap with SSDs in this regard.
The Atto Disk Benchmark performs a similar test, but with four simultaneous commands at a time. The results are displayed here in megabytes per second.
In addition to the performance we measure the energy consumption when the hard drive is idle and when it's in use. In a soundproof box we measure the level of noise from a distance of 10 cm.
The Western Digital Scorpio 1 TB 9.5mm is marked in red in all of the charts, its 12.5 mm predecessor in green and all other hard disks in blue.