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Benchmark Results: Power And Efficiency

Notebook Hard Drives: 750GB And 640GB Models Reviewed
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Power Consumption

Idle power is most important if your laptop is switched on and running on battery over long periods of time. WD’s 750GB Scorpio Blue performs best here, while Toshiba and Seagate share the last spots. However, compared to many other drives, all four contenders do well and require very little power in active idle operation. This means that the drive is spinning and no power management techniques are active, but the drive remains fully available.

At peak throughput, all four drives require between 2.5W and 2.7W. Clearly, the difference is small.

We like our additional streaming test that simulates HD video playback. This reflects a drive’s ability to deliver a limited stream of data at low power. Samsung and Seagate are best at only 1.0W, sipping almost as little as during idle. WD requires the most power here. This test is relevant for laptop battery runtime while watching HD video. A lower power drive can provide more minutes of use.

Workstation I/O entails the drive having to constantly relocate its heads, a condition similar to when you multitask a lot, download peer-to-peer data, or have server-like application profiles, like those we use for testing.

Efficiency

Our new power efficiency king is WD. The 750GB Scorpio Blue could technically be called a Scorpio Green because it delivers the lowest idle power paired with the best ratio between throughput and throughput power consumption, meaning streaming efficiency. Toshiba and Seagate share the second spot, and Samsung falls behind because of its higher power consumption at peak streaming reads.

Workstation efficiency is dominated by the drives that deliver the highest I/O performance, so Toshiba and Seagate dominate.