Review: Western Digital Black 2.5″ Laptop Hard Drive

Because of my recent run of bad luck with hard drives in my MacBook Pro, I decided to replace the most recent one that failed with a third party drive rather than use an Apple supplied drive. After some research, I decided on the Western Digital Black hard drive. The Black line of hard drives from Western Digital are their highest performing models as they run at 7200 RPM and they feature a 16 MB cache to speed things along. Now 16MB doesn’t sound like a lot, but it works. My MacBook Pro boots in under 45 seconds versus 1:30 for the 5400 RPM hard drive that was in there previously. Applications also start noticeably faster which is good as well. One thing that I did notice is that in a very quiet room, you can hear the drive if you’re right next to the notebook. Now that doesn’t bother me and I am pretty sure that you will not find it objectionable. But I thought I would mention it. Another thing to note is that all this extra power doesn’t seem to affect battery life. I did a couple of rundown tests and I noted a 11 minute difference in battery life versus what I noted with the drive that my MacBook Pro came with. In either case, I got at least 6 hours of battery life which is good as it would really suck if increasing your performance meant sacrificing battery life.

The drive itself is thin. It’s only 9.5 mm high which means it should fit into most laptops including ultra-portable ones. You can tell that Western Digital thought out the design of the drive because when you flip the drive over, everything is tucked away on the other side of the main circuit board. This will keep the surface mount components safe. In terms of mounting, you can use the four mounting points on the bottom of the drive, or the four mounting points on the sides of the drive. I needed to use the latter, but it’s great that you have that level of flexibility at your disposal. Another thoughtful touch comes from inside the drive. According to Western Digital, the recording head never touches the disk media. That means that your data is better protected and the drive is more robust from the rigors of transport. Seeing that I travel a fair amount, I’ll be able to put that to the test. Having said that, if your drive does go bad, Western Digital offers up a 5 year warranty which is unusual as three years is the general standard for warranty periods. Having said that, Western Digital does have an excellent reliability reputation and their drives have been the ones that I have recommended to my customers for some time now. Thus I’m fairly confident that I will not have to take advantage of their warranty.

Now the model I got was the WD5000BPKX which uses a SATA 6 Gb/s interface to transfer data to and from the drive. You can also get it in a SATA 3 Gb/s variant. The choice depends on what your laptop will support. It also comes in capacities from 160GB all the way up to 750GB. I chose 500GB as that’s all the storage I needed. In my case, the drive was under $60 before taxes which is a great price for a drive these days. But if I did want to go up to 750GB, it was only $10 more. That’s still a great price. From my perspective, if you want to upgrade the hard drive in your notebook, the Western Digital Black hard drive should be your first choice. It’s fast without affecting your battery life too much, and comes with a great warranty. Plus Western Digital has a great reputation when it comes to reliability. All of this means that you cannot lose if you choose this drive to be in your notebook.


One Response to “Review: Western Digital Black 2.5″ Laptop Hard Drive”

  1. […] I dropped an SSD into my wife’s MacBook Pro, I had a perfectly good 2.5″ Western Digital 500GB Black hard drive left over. So I decided to turn it into a portable hard drive. To accomplish this, I used an Orico […]

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