120 GB Notebook Drives 

PCQ Bureau
New Update

If your notebook's hard drive has run out of space or you want to build a really sleek and compact portable storage system, then here are two good

options that would last you fairly long. Both the Hitachi Travelstar and Seagate Momentus hard drives have a whopping 120 GB capacity and 8 MB buffer memory. They can also be used in set-top boxes,

digital jukeboxes, compact external storage systems and even in entry-level DVR devices. The only difference being that Momentus has a spindle speed of 5400 rpm, while Travelstar has 4200 rpm. 


We tested both the drives on an IBM ThinkPad Centrino notebook with 768 MB RAM. As expected, the 5400 rpm Seagate drive performed much better than the Hitachi drive in all the tests, due to its spindle speed. 

While higher performance is definitely desirable, it does result in higher power consumption and heat dissipation, resulting in lower back-up times when on battery power. The real performance difference was felt in Business Disk Winmark, in which Seagate's performance was 23% higher. The Seagate drive scored 13% higher than the Hitachi drive in High end disk winmark. The average transfer rates were 12% higher in the Seagate drive. Both the drives gave same CPU utilization of 60%, while the Seagate drive resulted in lower disk access time than the Hitachi by 21%, which of course is good. 

Even though the notebook drive from Hitachi does not belong to the 5,400 rpm drive category, it still managed to get closer to the Seagate drive's performance. Interestingly, the Hitachi drive's performance was better than the 5,400 rpm

Seagate Momentus 40 GB drive reviewed a few months back. 


Performance Results
Specs Hitachi

Travelstar 4K120 HTS421212H9AT00

Momentus 5400.2 ST91208219

Speed (rpm)
4,200 5,400
Interface Ultra ATA/100 Ultra ATA/100

120 120

Memory (MB)
8 8

Seek Time (ms)
11 12.5


Utilization (%)
60.3 60.3

Disk Winmark(Mbps)
5.27 6.85

Disk Winmark (Mbps)
18.7 21.5

36.3 40.8

Rate-End (Mbps)
19.5 22.9

Rate-Average (Mbps)
27.9 31.85

Access Time (ms)
19.9 16.4
Hitachi Travelstar 120 GB (above) and Seagate Momentus 120 GB (above right)

Though the Momentus gives good performance, it also cost almost 6k more than the Travelstar. Also both the drives come with a five year warranty. 

Bottom Line: If your notebook already has a 4200-rpm hard drive, and you are happy with its performance,

then the Hitachi Travelstar will be a good option. However, if you're looking to improve the performance and pay extra for it, then go for