Consumer HDD Reviews
Consumer hard drive reviews include 2.5" HDDs with 5mm, 7mm or 9.5mm z-heights and 3.5" form factor hard drives. The consumer hard drive review category also includes solid state hybrid drive (SSHD) reviews which focus on hard drives united with flash storage for caching and better overall performance.
by Josh Shaman

HGST Travelstar 7K1000 Review

The HGST Travelstar 7K1000 is a 1TB, 7,200RPM HDD that comes in a 2.5", 9.5mm form factor and interfaces over SATA 6Gb/s. The Travelstar 7K1000 is fairly unique in the space. Many drives are migrating to slimmer z-Heights at 7mm or even 5mm to meet the needs of space-constrained applications such as upgrading HDDs in ultrabooks. However, the 7K1000's target is a larger market - consumers that require robust capacity in their notebook computer or small form factor desktop at an economical price. Matching well with notebooks, the drive also features low power consumption and the highest shock tolerance in the industry. The 7K1000 also leverages Advanced Format which increased the physical sector size from 512 to 4096 bytes (4k). This helps to improve capacity and error correction capabilities.

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by Josh Shaman

WD Blue Slim 1TB HDD Review

The WD Blue Slim is a 7mm, 2.5" hard drive that fits many form-factor limiting applications such as implementation in ultra-thin notebook computers, and it does so while being one of the first 7mm drives offered at the robust 1TB capacity-point. The 5,400 RPM Blue Slim, which ships ranging from 320GB to 1TB, demonstrates WD's continual commitment to driving innovation in this segment. Previously the 2.5" portable hard drives required three platters and a 9.5mm form factor to hit the 1TB mark; WD's new 500GB platters open up the opportunity for smaller form factors. Nowhere is this more obvious in the New Blue Slim and the recently released 5mm WD Blue UltraSlim which comes in at the industry's thinnest height at 5mm while still delivering 500GB of capacity.

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by Josh Shaman

Seagate NAS HDD Review

The Seagate NAS HDD is a 3.5" form factor, 6Gb/s SATA interface hard drive that spins at 5,900RPM, ranges up to 4TB in capacity and is specifically engineered to be installed in one to five-bay NAS devices. With the consumer and small office NAS market growing quickly and with buyers usually opting for diskless models, Seagate is responding to market demand with this specific use-case drive. Of course there are loads of drives out there that users could implement to populate a NAS, but most are overkill or otherwise sub-optimal for the need. Seagate joins the NAS HDD market by designing a drive to handle NAS workload and operational requirements with their NASWorks specialized firmware, three-year warranty and support from many leading NAS vendors.

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by Josh Linden

Seagate 5mm 500GB Laptop Ultrathin HDD Review

Seagate’s latest single-platter laptop hard drive that was announced today has slimmed down to just 5mm thick while maintaining standard SATA connectivity and interoperability with 7 and 9.5mm drive bays. The 5mm HDD market is centered around laptops, tablets, ultrabooks, and other mobile storage; product lines which are also transitioning from larger form factors to 5mm. If its performance is competitive with other third-generation slim drives, the Laptop Ultrathin's flexible form factor may give Seagate an edge in the mobile storage market.

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by Brian Beeler

WD Blue UltraSlim 500GB Review (WD5000MPCK)

The WD Blue UltraSlim blends affordability with capacity and is WD's latest effort at a mainstream hard drive designed for OEMs. This WD message has long been utilized by the Blue line of hard drives, but this time WD has pushed the boundaries even further, or perhaps you could say contracted those boundaries by releasing the drive in an amazingly thin 5mm body and 2.5" form factor. Just how thin is a 5mm hard drive? About half as thick as a standard 9.5mm form factor and thinner than three SD cards. An engineering feat for sure, UltraSlim 500GB contains just a single platter that spins at 5400 RPM and connects via the diminutive SFF-8784 edge connector and SATA 6Gb/s interface. The drive isn't just thin for thinness sake; OEMs are demanding thinner hard drives for their increasingly skinny portable computing designs and on the enterprise side, embedded solutions have the same requirement. Hardware designs are slimming down and manufacturers either don't want to give up the capacity hard drives offer or don't want or need to take on the expense profile of SSDs.

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by Josh Shaman

Seagate SSHD Thin Review (Gen3 500GB, ST500LM000)

Seagate's third generation SSHDs (solid state hybrid drives), now for both laptops and desktops, are marketed as a replacement for HDDs and serve as a good option for those otherwise considering an SSD. SSHDs aim to offer users the price-point and robust capacity of HDDs while also utilizing NAND flash to provide the performance attained with SSDs by caching critical applications. Slimmed from 9.5mm to 7mm, our review model third generation Seagate 500GB SSHD Thin with 8GB of MLC NAND would fit well in any user configuration and is especially well-suited for ultra-thin, ultra-light laptops.

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by Kevin OBrien

WD Black 4TB Review (WD4001FAEX)

The 4TB WD Black is Western Digital's top-capacity and top-performing 7,200 RPM client system hard drive. The standard 3.5" form factor is designed to provide bulk storage for desktop use, while still offering top class performance. WD is using their standard five platter design for the 4TB Black (note: Caviar has been dropped from the branding) that is also highlighted by a 64MB cache, SATA 6Gb/s interface to deliver 154MB/s throughput.

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by Kevin OBrien

Western Digital Red NAS Hard Drive Review [WD30EFRX]

It's an interesting decision - WD is expanding their low-power 3.5" hard drive offerings with a second line at the same time Seagate  exists the "green" market, claiming low-power drives aren't really all that beneficial or quite frankly, special. The Western Digital Red family of hard drives is designed for the 1 to 6 bay SOHO NAS space, which is about as specialized as it gets. WD has several features that they're touting as critical for the NAS user including; NASware specialized firmware, Intellipower low power spindle, robust NAS compatibility list, three year warranty and a dedicated WD Red 24x7 customer support line (1-855-55-WDRED if you need them).

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by Josh Linden

Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 Review

The arrival of the Travelstar Z7K500 marks the widespread availability of second-generation 7mm portable hard drives. Hitachi’s first-generation Travelstar line demonstrated the technical viability and affordability of the 7mm portable HDD form factor in a marketplace that is pushing for smaller devices and lower power consumption. Second-generation Travelstar drives like the Z7K500 bring added performance to the mix with a 7200RPM rotational speed and 6Gbps SATA interface that translate into better performance than previous 7mm Travelstar drives across a variety of applications.

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by Josh Linden

Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 Review

Hitachi continues to innovate in large-capacity hard drives, and it is easy to see from products like the Deskstar 7K4000 why Western Digital found Hitachi's hard drive division an attractive acquisition. The 7K4000 provides four terabytes (TB) of storage at 7200RPM, and like the Deskstar 5K4000 which we recently reviewed, the 7K4000 uses a five platter design, paired with 800GB platters and 4KB sectors to increase maximum capacity and improve error correction. Compared to the 5K4000, The Deskstar 7K4000’s specs emphasize performance, so we’ll see some key differences emerge between the drives during benchmarks.

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