WD Scorpio Black 750GB Laptop HDD

You can never have enough storage and if you primarily use a notebook you more than likely know that storage space is a precious commodity. Most pre-configured notebooks that are available at brick and mortar stores come with 250GB or 320GB hard drives is seems. That may sound like a bunch of space when you are standing in the store, but after you put all your programs, games and digital media on the drive it usually doesn't leave you with much space for future growth. If you have reached or are nearing full capacity on your storage drive then you might want to consider upgrading to a larger 750GB or 1TB 2.5" notebook hard drive. If you are after performance then you'll want to stick to a 750GB drive as they are available at 7200 RPM and offer the fastest data transfers possible on a notebook hard drive. If you don't really care about performance and just want as much storage space as you can get in a 2.5" notebook drive then a 1TB 5200 RPM hard drive  is the ideal choice for you. 

Western Digital Scorpio Hard Drives

Today, we'll be looking at a the WD Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT 750GB 7200 RPM 2.5" SATA notebook hard drive. With a 7200 RPM drive speed, 16MB cache, and 3 GB/s SATA interface speed, the 750GB Western Digital Scorpio Black hard drive is the largest 7200 RPM drive that Western Digital offers right now. When it comes to pricing, the WD Scorpio Black 750GB Hard Drive retails online for $104.98 shipped, which makes it $0.14 per Gigabyte. For comparison sake the Western Digital Scorpio Blue 5400 RPM 750GB notebook hard drive can be purchased online for just $89.99 shipped, which comes out being $0.12 per Gigabyte. If you are looking for more performance then the cost for that speed is only a couple pennies per Gigabyte, which isn't going to break the bank for most people. 

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB Hard Drive

The WD Scorpio Black 750GB is sold under the part number WD7500BPKT, and is obviously part of the Black series. WD has color coded their products, which makes is easy to see who they are aimed at. Their mainstream products are called “Blue,” power-efficient drives are named “Green,” and high-performance drives are called “Black.” All of the WD Black drives spin at 7,200 RPM, utilize a SATA/300 interface with Native Command Queuing (NCQ) support, and have 16 MB of cache memory. Those not needing performance like this should look at the Scorpio Blue series as they feature 5,400 RPM drive speeds (5,200 RPM on some), 8 MB of cache memory and a slightly lower prices.

WD Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT Hard Drive Features:

WD Scorpio Black 750GB hard drive

The WD Scorpio Black 750GB uses three 250GB platters to reach the full capacity rating of the drive, which is impressive for a drive of this size. What is also impressive is the 12.0 ms average seek time! The back of this 2.5" notebook hard drive is pictured above and gives a better look at the SATA power connector and the SATA NCQ interface.

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB Hard Drive Jumper

The WD Scorpio Black is the first WD notebook drive that we have tested that uses 'Advanced Format' technology. For years now most hard drives have written data blocks in traditional 512 byte sectors. Over the past three years the industry have been moving to a larger sector size of 4 kilobytes (4,096B) for obvious reasons. The Advanced Format (AF) nomenclature that WD is using is just their way to ID what drives are using 4KB sectors. If you purchase this hard drive and install a brand new operating system on it from scratch then you won't even notice the changes, but if you are cloning an older storage drive to the WD Scorpio Black 750GB drive that we have here or any WD Advanced Format drive you will have to run the WD Advanced Format Hard Drive Download Utility as you need to properly align the drive after the cloning is done.

Sony Vaio 11.6-inch Notebook

To show you the performance of this drive and how to do the drive alignment we will be using a retail Sony VAIO Y Series notebook.  This notebook came with a Hitachi 320GB 5400RPM hard drive that is slow and the drive uses 512b sectors and after using Acronis backup software we'll have to align the WD drive to get optimal performance from it! First run read/write performance tests on both of the bare drives so you can see how the drives perform and then we'll get to the cloning and another quick look at the performance of the drives in the Sony VAIO Y series notebook.

The Test System

Before we look at the numbers, here is a brief glance at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.

Intel Z68 Platform

Intel P55 Test Settings

The Intel Z68 platform that we used to test the WD Scorpio Black 750GB hard was running an Intel Core i3-2120 processor on the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 motherboard with BIOS F4 that came out on 6/22/2011. We used one of the white SATA III 6Gbps ports on the board to test the hard drives performance with the drive as a secondary. The G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB 1866MHz memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-28 1T memory timings.

Intel P55 Test Settings


AMD Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i3-2120

Motherboard

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3
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Memory

8GB GSKILL Ripjaws 1866
Click Here

Video Card

n/a

Click Here

Hard Drive

Crucial C300 256GB SSD

Click Here

Cooling

Intel Retail Boxed

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Power Supply

Corsair HX850W

Click Here

Operating System

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

Click Here

HD Tach v3.0.4.0

HD Tach is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read/write storage devices such as hard drives, removable drives (ZIP/JAZZ), flash devices, and RAID arrays. HD Tach uses custom device drivers and other low level Windows interfaces to bypass as many layers of software as possible and get as close to the physical performance of the device possible.

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

HD Tach Benchmark Results

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

HD Tach Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The WD Scorpio Black 750GB 7200RPM drive smoked the Hitachi 5K500 320GB 5400RPM hard drive that we used for comparison.  The WD Scorpio Black 750GB drive had an average read speed of 105.7MB/s and an average read speed of 80.6MB/s!  The Hitachi 5K500 320GB drive had an average read speed of 58.3MB/s and an average write speed of 56.1MB/s. The WD Scorpio Black also had an impressive burst speed of 237.2MB/s, which was far faster than the 133.1MB/s seen on the Hitachi drive.

If you have a 320GB 5400RPM hard drive in your notebook like many do, upgrading to a 7200RPM drive looks like a quick and easy way to get a quick performance improvement.

HD Tune v4.61

HD Tune Pro 4.61 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Read Performance Testing

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Write Performance Testing

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Benchmark Results: The Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB had average read speed was found to be 100.7MB/s with an average write speed of 98.4MB/s with the latest version of HD Tune Pro.  The Hitachi 5K500 320GB drive scored 55.7MB/s in the read test and 55.1MB/s in the write test. The WD Scorpio Black was also the same temperature or cooler, which is a shock as it is a 7200RPM drive with more than twice the capacity!

HD Tune 64MB File Test

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Benchmark Results: Running the built-in file benchmark test in HD Tune 4.61 shows how the drive performs with various file sizes. This test shows the Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB topping out at nearly 125MB/sec in the read test and 110MB/sec in the write test. The Hitachi drive was under 70MB/sec in the same test.

HD Tune v4.61 - Random Access

The random access read and write test is a very important performance area to look at on solid state drives and hard drives as some controllers have problems with random writes. In recent years the controllers have improved and the firmware has been better optimized for random read and write performance.

Random Access Read Test Results

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Benchmark Results: When it comes to the random access read performance test the Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB drive scored 64 IOPS in the 4KB test file size versus just 48 IOPS on the slower Hitachi drive.

Random Access Write Test Results:

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

HD Tune File Benchmark

Benchmark Results: The write performance test results of the Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB were better than the read tests as we are seeing 122 IOPS 4K IOPS.

SiSoftware Sandra 2011 SP4a

SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. Sandra provides most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. In order to test the hard drive, SiSoftware Sandra 2010c was used as part of the test suite. The graphical results that Sandra gives you after the test is completed nicely shows how drives perform over time and where on the drive the performance is seen.

READ Performance Testing

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

HD Tach Benchmark Results

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

HD Tach Benchmark Results

WRITE Performance Testing

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

HD Tach Benchmark Results

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

HD Tach Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB HDD has solid performance in Sandra 2011 and was found to have an average read score of 101MB/s with a write average of 101.84MB/s. The read and write access times also looked good, at 12.46ms read and 5.41ms write.

CrystalDiskMark v3.0.1

CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random read/write speeds.

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

CrystalDiskMark v3.0 Benchmark Results

Hitachi 5K500 320GB:

CrystalDiskMark v3.0 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: With Crystal Mark v3.0.1 run with a file size of 1000MB we were able to see huge performance differences between the WD Scorpio Black 7200 RPM drive and the Hitachi 5K500 5400 RPM drive.  The sequential read/write speeds of the WD Scorpio Black 750GB drive averaged 126MB/s versus just 74MB/s on the Hitachi 5K500 320GB drive.  

ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46

ATTO is one of the oldest hard drive benchmarks that is still used today. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that you can easily interpret. The test was run with the default runs of 0.5kb through 8192kb transfer sizes with the total length being 256mb.

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB:

ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46 Results

Hitachi 5K500 320GB:

ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46 Results

Benchmark Results:  The WD Scorpio Black 750GB notebook drive was able to reach 129MBps on the read test and 124MBps on the write test in the Overlapped I/O benchmark.   This was much faster than the 73MB/s read and 74MB/s write speeds sen on the Hitachi 5K500 320GB drive.

 

PCMark 7

PCMark 7 Benchmarking

This is our first use of Futuremark PCMark 7 for a processor review. PCMark 7 which is specifically designed for Windows 7. It measures the performance of the latest PC hardware across a variety of common scenarios. PCMark Vantage 7 supports both system level and component level benchmarking and comprises several different test suites but for the purposes of this review, we employed the secondary storage suite. The nice thing about it is that you can submit your scores online and compare against others.

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB Results:

PCMark Vantage Benchmarking

Hitachi K5K500 320GB:

PCMark Vantage Benchmarking

Benchmark Results: Looking at the PCMark 7 secondary storage test the WD Scorpio Black drive scored 1911 points versus the 1357 points seen on the Hitachi 5K500 hard drive. Looking at the detailed results you can see the individual test results in the images above. For example in the gaming test the WD drive hit 4.87MB/s versus just 3.02MB/s on the Hitachi.  This makes the WD Scorpio Black 750GB roughly 61% faster than the Hitachi 5K500 320GB drive!

Drive Alignment and Real World Testing

Sony Vaio 11.6-inch Notebook

As we told you in the introduction we really wanted to show you the performance of this drive and how to do the drive alignment. We also wanted to show the performance gains that can be had by replacing a 5400RPM hard drive to a faster 7200 RPM hard drive. Luckily, we have a Sony VAIO Y Series notebook on the shelf and it became the perfect test platform for our needs.  This notebook came with a Hitachi 320GB 5400RPM hard drive that is slow and the drive uses 512 byte sectors. We used Acronis backup software to clone our OEM install over to the WD Scorpio Black 750GB drive and after doing so we noticed the performance numbers weren't that hot.

WD Advanced Format Drive Alignment Utility

In order to align the drive you need to download WD Align - Powered by Acronis. You can't just go download the utility though.  You must register on the WD support site, then register your drive and then you can download the free utility. You need the serial number off your drive in order to register it, so most notebook owners will have to shut the notebook down, write down the serial number and then re-install the drive in order to download this freeware utility.  Not the easiest of downloads, but it's free and worth it.

WD Advanced Format Drive Alignment Utility

Once you get WD Align installed you just need to run the alignment wizard!

WD Advanced Format Drive Alignment Utility

As you can see from the image above, after using Acronis to clone the drive we still had alignment issues since we were coming from the Hitachi 5K500 320GB drive with the 512 byte format and we moved to the WD Scorpio Black 750GB drive with with 4 KB format. The WD Align utility showed that our new drive was not optimally aligned, so we checked all the partitions and clicked next.

WD Advanced Format Drive Alignment Utility

The system powers down and boots back to a DOS mode for the utility to work.  It took about 15 minutes for this to complete and then the system rebooted saying that it was done.  We opened the utility up again and not it shows that all three of our partitions on this drive were optimally aligned.

CrystalDiskMark Performance

Now that the WD Scorpio drive is aligned we ran some performance benchmarks with the new drive versus the old.  As you can see in CrystalDiskMark the sequential read and write speeds were roughly twice as fast!  The 4K read speeds are three times faster with the WD drive, but for some reason the 4K write speeds were slower.

PCMark Vantage HDD Performance

We also ran PCMark Vantage's Hard Drive Test Suite on the two primary OS drives and noticed a 47% difference in the overall HDD performance score. As you can see upgrading to a new hard drive really woke up the storage drive performance numbers on this notebook!

Harry Potter Extract

We wanted to run some real world performance tests, so we got out timed the extraction time and install time using Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 PC Game Demo. This game demo is 1.0GB in size and is an example of a drive intensive task that you do whenever you install a new application.

Harry Potter Extract

We extracted and installed the game over a series of five times and took an average of the results.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows benchmark

We found that extraction and installation times greatly improved by just switching hard drives on the notebook. For example it took nearly three minutes to install the PC game demo of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on the Hitachi drive that came with the Sony VAIO Y series laptop, but after upgrading it to the WD Scorpio Black 750GB drive it took under two minutes. We found a 37% improvement in extraction times and a 47% improvement in installation times on this notebook. Not bad for cloning the drive and a couple hours of work! One of most frustrating things about using a computer is waiting for applications to load and things to install and installing a new hard drive is one of the easiest ways to improve your PC experience.

Free Capacity and Final Thoughts

Capacity

WD Scorpio Black 750GB Hard Drive Actual Capacity

When it comes to storage capacity, the WD Scorpio Black 750GB Notebook hard drive has a free capacity of 698GB as shown above.

Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB Hard Drive

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

With a 7200 RPM drive speed, 16 MB cache, and 3 GB/s SATA interface, the Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB hard drive was found to be a very fast hard drive with respectable drive speeds. It won't be able to keep up with Solid-State Drives, but good luck being able to find one that can match this capacity! The largest 2.5" SSD is the Intel 320 Series 600GB drive and it costs $1,119.99 plus $5.99 shipping! That makes the WD Scorpio Black 750GB hard drive look like a steal at $104.98 shipped over at Newegg

The WD Scorpio Black 750GB laptop hard drive is no slouch as we saw really impressive performance numbers that actually shocked us a bit. For example we saw 128MB/s read and 125MB/s write speeds in the CrystalDiskMark sequential read/write tests and these are great for any traditional hard drive.  Just because notebook hard drives are only 2.5" in size doesn't mean that you can't find good performance with them and the WD Scorpio Black is a great example of a drive series that is constantly at the top of its class.

Our real world testing turned out being fun to do as we were able to show the performance improvements that can be had on a popular retail notebook like the Sony VAIO Y Series. By doing this we were also able to show off the WD Advance Format software and show you how to properly use the free utility to align the WD Scorpio Black drive after cloning an older drives data to it. It's always good to show the full potential of a drive on the test bench, but we always like doing some real world testing with an OS on the drive! We found up to a 47% performance gain by going from a 5400RPM drive to a 7200RPM drive by doing so, which is what we wanted to show you. 

When it comes to traditional hard drives noise is also an issue, and the WD Scorpio Black is fairly quiet with an average acoustics rating of 28dBA at idle and 28dBA during a seek operation. We were not able to hear the WD Scorpio Black 750GB hard drive when it was installed in the Sony VAIO Y series laptop over the cooling fans inside the notebook.

The entire Western Digital Scorpio Black notebook hard drive series comes with a 5-year warranty. Having a five year warranty is a very nice touch on a high-performance notebook drive like this. Most notebook drives only offer a three year warranty, so if you are shopping around for a notebook drive be sure to keep an eye on the warranty as well.

At the end of the day the Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB 2.5" laptop hard drive impressed us when it came to both pricing and performance. You can get some serious storage space and performance with this drive and at $105 shipped you don't have to break the bank either. Just remember to backup that 750GB of data as if your laptop ever gets stolen or the data gets lost you have a backup!

Legit Reviews Editor's Choice Award

Legit Bottom Line: If you want a traditional 7200RPM Notebook hard drive the WD Scorpio Black 750GB drive is the largest 7200 RPM drive offered by the company and uses 4KB storage sectors, meaning it's using the latest in storage technology!