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Western Digital Scorpio (WD3200BEVT)

Western Digital Scorpio (WD3200BEVT)

Watch the video review here.

When you pull the Scorpio from its packaging, it's hard to believe that such a small component can hold up to 298GB of data. It's less than 1cm thick and its 2.5in form factor allows it to slot into any notebook that has a Serial ATA hard drive connection. Not only that, it can be used in 2.5in external hard drive cases as a portable storage solution for large files or archives and, if you're game enough to try, you could also install it in a media centre PC.

Indeed, thinking outside the square, the Scorpio is small enough to fit into the tiniest of PC enclosures (although it might require some retro-fitting) and it's practically silent when it's undertaking read and write operations. Of course, its performance isn't as good as a 3.5in desktop hard drive, but it's enough to sustain recordings of digital TV programs, and its formatted capacity of 298GB is ample for storing days upon days worth of recordings.

For a replacement notebook drive, the Scorpio has standard specifications; its spin speed is 5400rpm and has an 8MB cache. You won't find niceties like NCQ or built-in flash memory on this drive, but Western Digital has implemented technologies to combat bumps and shocks from excessive movements. The standout features of this drive are definitely its capacity and size. It's 0.9cm thick, thanks to the high data density Western Digital has achieved, by cramming 160GB of data onto two internal platters using perpendicular recording technology. It's currently the largest capacity you will find in a drive with this thickness.

In read and write tests, the Scorpio was about 16MBps slower than a typical desktop hard drive. It averaged 56.37MBps in our write test and 58.82MBps in our read test. Working hard to copy files from one location on the drive to another, the drive averaged 20.11MBps, which isn't a bad result at all for such a tiny critter. In fact, this particular test result almost matches some of the slowest desktop hard drives we've seen.

So while it's not the fastest drive for intensive tasks, such as data compression and decompression, for example, it will get the job done and it will complement a high-end, or even mid-range notebook configuration nicely. It costs $299, which equates to just over $1 per formatted gigabyte, and this is a competitive figure for such a small device. As a replacement or upgrade drive for a Serial ATA-based notebook, this drive sure is enticing, but it could realistically be considered for a media centre or silent PC project, too.


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