Hitachi is known for making some great desktop hard drives. The Hitachi Deskstar for example is known for providing excellent performance and bang for your buck value. So I was excited to see what Hitachi had in store, when it sent over the Travelstar Mobile Hard Drive.

No need for a diet

The Hitachi Travelstar (Z5K320) comes in 160GB, 250GB and 320GB capacities. The one being reviewed today is the 320GB version and is meant as a mobile hard drive for laptops and gaming consoles. The Z5K320 uses a 3.0Gbps interface and has been tuned for improved heat distribution and silence. A more detailed look at the specs are highlighted below:

  •      320GB capacities
  •      Single platter
  •      8MB Buffer
  •      5400 RPM
  •      Latency Average – 5.5ms
  •      1.6W read/write, .55W idle
  •      SATA 3Gb/s

Now let’s have a closer look at the Travelstar’s Design

Size does matter…well almost!!

The first thing that you will notice right off the bat is how ultra-slim it is when compared to other 2.5 inch hard drives. The reason for this is, even though it conforms to the 2.5 inch standard, it is physically thinner as Hitachi has managed to shave off 2.5 mm from its height to make it just 7mm.This provides a svelte look to the hard drive and makes it a great option for OEM manufacturers.

Other than that everything is standard with nothing distinguishing it from the other mobile hard drives out there. But then it is what’s on the inside that counts.

To test out the Travelstar’s performance, we will run it through some tests. These include taking it for a spin using everyone’s favourite HDtune Pro.

HDTune Pro

Don't let the downward graph fool you!

Good performance numbers

As you can see by the pictures above, the Travelstar performs quite well in the Read/Write test. It will obviously score a bit lower when compared to a 7200 rpm drive, because of the single platter disadvantage. But even so, it is good enough option to consider if you are looking for a cheap storage device.

Random copy tests
All is well in the synthetic world for the Z5K320, but what about real world tests where speed is all that matters. To see how the Hitachi performs, we copied over a few ISO’s and pictures from one drive to the Travelstar. Surprisingly it does hold its own against its much larger and faster rivals. With copy times ranging from 22 seconds for a 700MB linux ISO to 2.5 minutes for 500MB of pictures.

Final Thoughts
Netbooks are all the rage these days and with the demand for smaller and lighter netbooks always on the manufacturers' minds, the Hitachi Travelstar Z5K320 is indeed a step forward in bringing that vision to life. With its sleek and slim look, and great performance, it’s the ideal choice if you are the average consumer looking for a netbook hard drive that delivers a balance between price and performance. The Travel star carries a 3 year warranty, and will cost you Rs. 4,650 (MRP)

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