Purchase Guide: Hitachi Travelstar 7K750 750GB Hard Drive

Owing to advancements in 4K sector technology, we now have notebook-friendly 2.5-inch hard drives with 500GB per platter and a maximum Z-height of 9mm. Even power-efficient 5400RPM discs can achieve impressive transfer rates due to their great data density.

Internal 2.5-inch hard drives from Hitachi are divided into two categories: mobile hard drives and high-performance mobile hard drives. Drives in the first category spin at 5400RPM, while the ones in the second category spin at 7200RPM, resulting in better performance. 

For about a hundred dollars, the Hitachi 750GB Travelstar 7K750 delivers excellent performance for notebooks, compact desktop computers, all-in-one devices, and multimedia systems. You can easily install it in a USB or eSATA-based case to use it as an external storage system as well.

As previous drives are being pushed out and new versions are being added, Hitachi’s portfolio includes a mix of options with 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s SATA interfaces, as well as a few models that still use 512-byte sectors.

The Hitachi Travelstar 7K750 750GB 2.5-Inch Hard Drive has 16MB of cache and a 3Gb/s SATA interface, along with AF sectors. Although the physical sectors have a size of 4KB, they are emulated as 512-byte sectors. Data is saved on two 375GB platters with a data density of 502Gb/in2. Because the drive only has two platters, it may easily sit inside a 9.5 mm Z-height and, hence, should fit into any notebook.

Performance

The Hitachi Travelstar 7K750 is a fast mobile drive, featuring sequential read and write speeds of up to 98MB/s, which puts it on par with the Western Digital Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT. After aggregating the maximum average and minimum data rates of its competitors, Western Digital’s drive comes out on top by a razor-thin margin. Other 7200RPM drives, like Seagate’s Momentus and Momentus XT, are 6MB/s slower than the Hitachi Travelstar 7K750 and the Scorpio Black.

The three other drives on our list, Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K1000, Western Digital’s Scorpio Blue, and Toshiba’s MQ010A, are all limited by 5400RPM spindles and lag far behind the 7200RPM Hitachi Travelstar 7K750.

The Hitachi Travelstar 7K750 sits in the middle of the pack, with average access times of 16.4ms for read and 15.5ms for write. However, it has a somewhat higher power draw than normal at times. Idle power, for example, is 0.8W, whereas competitors’ maximum value is 0.6W. However, its average power consumption appears to be normal, and the performance-per-watt rating of 59.6 is higher than the other three models. With a score of 78.1, the Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT takes the top spot on the performance-per-watt ranking list.

Throughput and Interface Bandwidth

The only drive that claims to be a performance-oriented 2.5-inch drive is the 7200RPM Travelstar 7K750. It performs admirably in the benchmarks for sequential read and write operations, averaging 98 MB/s in each. Western Digital’s Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT comes in a close second.

The other three drives, with spindle speeds of 5400RPM, lag behind the 7K750. Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K1000, Toshiba’s MQ01ABD100, and Western Digital’s Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT, on the other hand, are not slow in the slightest. On average, the slowest of the three is only 10MB/s slower than Hitachi’s 7K750.

The only one of the four new hard drives with a 6Gb/s SATA interface is the Hitachi Travelstar 5K1000. This would theoretically provide the drive with a large performance edge over its competitors. However, in practice, this metric primarily reflects performance between small data caches and the interface. If you get hit, you will get a big speed boost. However, because these drives have only 8 or 16MB buffers, Hitachi tops the charts.

4KB Random Reads/Writes and Streaming Reads/Writes

Streaming workloads are best handled by the Hitachi Travelstar 7K750. The Toshiba MQ01ABD100 and the Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT, on the other hand, trail it closely. Although Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K1000 lags behind, it is still a strong performer in terms of streaming.

In random read/write testing, drives with fast spindle speeds and short access times typically perform well. In Iometer’s random read/write test, however, the three 540RPM drives outperform our only 7200RPM model.

The WD Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT is the quickest, followed by the Hitachi Travelstar 5K1000 and the Toshiba MQ01ABD100 in the mid-range, and the Travelstar 7K750, despite its 7200RPM spindle, coming in last.

Power Consumption and Performance Per Watt

Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K1000 draws the least power of the three power-efficient discs, trailed by the Toshiba MQ01ABD100 and the Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT. Hitachi’s Travelstar 7K750, which places a premium on performance, is the least successful of the four options.

Due to its strong sequential performance, the Travelstar 7K750 dominates the other three candidates on the streaming performance-per-watt ground. Despite being slower, the Toshiba MQ01ABD100 is highly power-efficient.

The WD Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVt, however, outperforms its three opponents in the database-oriented performance-per-watt test.

Conclusion

Our three other contenders are led by the high-performance Hitachi Travelstar 7K750. It is a fast notebook-friendly drive, with the maximum average sequential read and write speeds of any 2.5-inch hard drive. In I/O-based tests, however, it fails to create a considerable lead. Even though the other three samples are 5400RPM drives, it falls behind rival models in some tests. When compared to the other three drives, the Travelstar 7K750 reigns supreme. Quite impressive, eh?

The fact that we believe Hitachi’s 7K750 is just average is influenced by strong performances delivered by its “green” competitors. Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K1000, Western Digital’s Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT, and Toshiba’s MQ01ABD100 are all faster than the 7200RPM drive, despite not being tuned for performance. As an added advantage, all three 5400RPM drives use very little power. In our performance-per-watt assessment, Western Digital’s Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT and Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K1000 even outperformed the 7200RPM drive.

Overall, Western Digital’s Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT closely follows the Hitachi Travelstar 7K750, but the Toshiba MQ01ABD100 and the Hitachi Travelstar 5K1000 lag way behind it. However, this does not imply that they are slow.

As we come to an end, we would like to highlight Advanced Format once again, which offers increased data density and helps squeeze 1TB of storage into a 9.5 mm Z-height, which is required for wide notebook compatibility. While increased data density is beneficial, it has an unfavorable side effect. Most of the time, seek times are increasing. This is because positioning and stabilizing tiny read/write heads over the correct track is becoming increasingly challenging. This may not be a huge concern for slow-turning user data repositories, but it could hinder future attempts to develop high-performance drives.

Christophe Rude
Christophe Rude
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