Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB (WD10JPVT) review

High-capacity, low-cost notebook hard disk
Photo of Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB (WD10JPVT)
£90

While SSDs get all the plaudits for speed, the good old mechanical hard disk drive still can outdo its flashier cousins when it comes to offering huge capacities at a reasonable cost – which in turn means very low cost per gigabyte. A prime example of this is the latest member of Western Digital’s Scorpio Blue notebook drive range. The WD10JPVT comes with a whopping 1TB of storage for a mere £90, or if you like – 9p per gigabyte.

How do they do that?
As with many of today’s drives, WD uses Advanced Formatting Technology to squeeze more data onto a disk – or, to use the technical jargon, to increase the ‘areal density’ of its platters. With WD10JPVT, Western Digital has managed to cram 500GB onto each of just two platters, which is how it has managed to produce a 1TB drive that measures just 9.5mm high. The two discs spin at 5,400rpm and the drive comes with an 8MB buffer.

The WD10JPVT only has a SATA 3Gbit/s interface, rather than the newer SATA 6Gbit/s one – but that’s nothing to worry about, as most mechanical drives rarely break the original 1.5Gbit/s top data transfer rate of the original SATA spec, let alone worry the 3Gbit/s one.

What’s in a number?
Just to confuse matters, though, this isn’t the only 1TB notebook drive that WD offers in its  Scorpio Blue range. The first to appear was the WD10TPVT, which has a slighter slower spin speed of 5,200rpm, but which much more importantly uses three platters to get to its 1TB capacity, so it has to be built into a deeper, 12.5mm enclosure. This narrows down the number of notebooks it will fit into.

And we’re off!
…to a standing start. Well, not really standing – but you wouldn’t really expect anything close to the fastest data transfer rates from a drive that only spins at 5,400rpm and has just 8MB of cache. For the combination of capacity, performance and cost in this drive format we’re going to have to wait to see if WD decides to bring out a Scorpio Black version of the drive.

Tested with the HD Tach benchmark, the WD10JPVT gave us a burst speed of 189MB/s, while the sequential read/write scores from the ATTO benchmark were 93MB/s and 94MB/s, respectively – hardly earth-shattering, but pretty consistent with a notebook drive in this class. In the real world, booting into Windows 7 from a cold start took 55 seconds, while copying a 5GB file took 135 seconds.

Western Digital hasn’t rested on its laurels with its three disc 1TB drive and has amazingly fitted the same capacity into two discs for a much more useful drive.

Company: Western Digital

Website: http://www.wdc.com/

Positives
  • Huge capacity in the small, 2.5in notebook hard disk format.
Negative
  • Not the fastest drive around.

Verdict

The Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB WD10JPVT's smaller size makes it ideal not only for notebooks, but for compact set-top PCs and other situations where else huge amounts of storage space is required in a small unit.