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Hitachi 500GB Travelstar 5K500.B

The Hitachi Travelstar 5K500 500GB laptop hard drive is a 5400 rpm drive whose sustained transfer performance is superior to the lower capacity, but 7200rpm Hitachi 320GB 7K320 drive. Newer technology and higher data density modify the traditional rules about 5400rpm vs 7200rpm — at least until we see 500GB 7200 rpm drives, where 5400rpm will again look slow.

Get the Travelstar 5K500.B at site sponsor OWC Computing. OWC is one of the few vendors with a drive replacement guarantee, well worth the piece of mind and convenience. Please give OWC your business by clicking any of the ads or links in this Guide.


Hitachi states that the 5K500.B is the “first mobile drive to feature Hitachi patented Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS) technology”. Sounds like a great idea for users on the go with laptops. It is also designed to “deliver 24 x 7 access to data”, so it might make a great drive for a computer like the MacMini (see review).

Fill-volume, MacBook Pro 2.93GHz

The graph below shows performance across the drive as it was filled to capacity with 1000 equal-sized files, written 32MB at a time. This is on the 2009 MacBook Pro 17" 2.93GHz (see review), using the internal SATA port (system was booted off an external drive to allow testing of the entire drive).

See Why you need more space than you need to understand this performance decline across the drive; this is why 500GB is a good idea even if you think you only need 200-300GB.

Variance of file write times (ms)
Read speeds were effectively identical

DiskTester results

Test mule: MacBook Pro 2009 17" 2.93GHz
SATA hardware: internal port
Driver: Apple standard
Drive model: HTS545050B9A300

Sequential sustained transfer with different chunk sizes

Performance with varying transfer sizes is excellent, this is one of the most laptop drives yet tested in this regard. Some drives fail to perform well at smaller chunk sizes. Outstanding!

# Sequential sustained transfer
--- Averages for "Hitachi5K500" (512MB/start, 3 iterations) ---
Chunk Size Write MB/sec Read MB/sec
32K 70.1 80.3
64K 80.4 80.7
128K 80.6 80.5
256K 80.3 80.5
512K 80.7 80.3
1MB 80.3 80.6
2MB 80.7 80.2
4MB 79.9 80.7
8MB 80.8 79.7
16MB 80.4 80.6
32MB 81.3 79.8

Area tests

These across-the-drive tests with 1MB and 32MB transfers are fast approximations of drive performance across the drive. See the Fill-volume graph further below.

--- Averages for "Hitachi5K500" (512MB/1MB, 3 iterations) ---
Area (463.4GB) Write MB/sec Read MB/sec
0% 79.6 80.6
10% 77.5 78.0
20% 74.7 74.2
30% 70.4 71.0
40% 67.0 67.5
50% 63.7 63.9
60% 60.2 59.7
70% 55.5 55.7
80% 51.4 51.5
90% 45.7 45.9
100% 38.5 38.3
Average write speed across the volume: 62.2MB/sec
Average read speed across the volume: 62.4MB/sec ------------ Averages for "Hitachi5K500" (512MB/32MB, 3 iterations) ------------
Area (463.4GB) Write MB/sec Read MB/sec
0% 80.8 80.7
10% 78.6 77.1
20% 74.7 74.8
30% 70.1 71.0
40% 67.2 67.5
50% 63.4 64.3
60% 60.1 60.3
70% 55.7 55.3
80% 51.5 51.2
90% 45.9 45.6
100% 38.2 38.1
Average write speed across the volume: 62.4MB/sec
Average read speed across the volume: 62.4MB/sec
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