Does Toshiba's penchant for thinking up
interesting product names know no bounds?
In terms of laptop-scale hard drives, those
wanting 1TB have had a rather stark choice between Samsung, Hitachi, Seagate or
Western Digital. And prices of those ranging from roughly $120 to $375,
depending on how fast they'd like that experience to be.
The Toshiba MQ01ABD100, which I'll call the
'MQ' from this point onwards, is pitched at the shallower end of the price pool,
and comes in 250GB, 320GB, 500GB and the 1TB unit reviewed here. The smaller
two units have a single platter, where the larger models have a dual platter
To get this much storage onto such a
relatively small drive is no mean feat, and the MQ can quote an amazingly high
data density of 744.1GB/ inch. However, some of the other specifications to the
drive are more modest, like the 5400rpm rotational speed and the small 8MB
On desktop drives, higher rotational speed
is vital, but on a unit like this, designed for mobile use, slower spinning
conserves power. Toshiba is pushing the MQ's battery friendly aspect hard, and
it's quoted as using just 0.55W at idle, and typically 1.5W operational.
The flipside of those choices are the
performance you can realistically expect, which aren't the best you can get in
this format/capacity combination. That said, initial testing of the MQ returned
maximum read and write speeds of around 107MB/s, which isn't abysmal by any
standards. More exhaustive testing showed that it could go marginally faster,
maybe 112MB/s, downhill, with a following wind.
To achieve that it did require a SATA3
interface, so older laptop designs might well see more like 80MB/s on a SATA2
slot. If speed is your ultimate goal, then you need to embrace the expense of
an SSD, because this is an option for those who are primarily pressed for
Another potential use might be to combine
this with a USB 3.0 external drive caddy, although you can probably buy a
GoFlex unit for almost the same combined price.
What did impress me was the bare drive
price, which is just a few pounds more than a typical 1TB 3.5" mode, where
we've come to expect, probably irrationally, that laptop drives should cost
more, despite using less resource. It's also worth noting that while the MQ
performance doesn't put its peers in the shade, a few years ago and this would
have been quicker than the fastest desktop units.
Looking back through my archive, the MQ
bests the Enterprise version of the Hitachi 7K1000 3.5" mechanism. And
that only came out three years ago, and cost twice this amount.
Traditionally, most Toshiba drives aren't
actually bought by end users, but are sold through the OEM channel, so you
might not find this drive easy to locate. That said, if space is more important
to you than performance, then it might well be worth a bit of hunting for.
Price: $115 (Amazon)
Required spec: System with SATA connections,
either laptop or desktop
A cheap 1TB laptop drive for those with