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When the first 2.5" (15mm thick) drives were unveiled to the world roughly 20 years ago the popularity of 3.5" ones thanks to their highest capacities and performance didn't leave much room for debate regarding which form factor was best. In the end it wasn't until several years later with the introduction of the next-gen portable personal computers (laptops) that use of 2.5" drives was deemed necessary mostly because of their size. Today things have changed quite a bit however and although 2.5" drives are still the number 1 choice for notebook manufacturers due to their small size (5-9.5mm thick), lower temperature levels and lower electrical demands they are also starting to take the place of their larger 3.5" brothers both in regular personal computers and in data intense application environments (enterprise-class). Because of that the leading manufacturers are dishing out many new models based on the 2.5" form factor for use with regular laptops, ultra-thin ones and of course with portable enclosures. Lately Toshiba introduced their latest MQ01ACF050 500GB 2.5" SATA III hard disk drive aimed towards casual users and as always we got out hands on one to see what it has to offer.
Toshiba Europe Storage Products Division (SPD) has remained at the forefront of the storage industry for over 40 years and is the world's only storage supplier that owns design, development, manufacturing, sales and other infrastructure functions spanning the enterprise, mobile and retail environments for both HDD and SSD products. Customers are original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), system integrators and distributors within the EMEA region. As a leading provider of integrated storage solutions and as the principal inventor of NAND flash storage, Toshiba sets many of today’s industry standards for storage technology. Throughout its history, Toshiba SPD has revolutionized the design and development of storage devices and its drives can be found inside the world's leading GPS navigation systems, consumer electronics, computers and enterprise solutions. In addition, Toshiba Storage Products Division offers an extensive range of advanced technology drives such as high durability 24/7, extended temperature and SSDs for the consumer, industrial, enterprise and automotive sector.
The MQ01ACF050 model already features a small capacity of 500GB but still Toshiba chose to also launch an 320GB variant the MQ01ACF032 and although we don't really know why (for system integrators is the most likely answer) i think that it's never a bad idea to have more models available (i would however like to see a larger capacity variant and not a smaller one). Specs-wise the MQ01ACF050 is one of the latest 7mm thick SATA III drives by Toshiba featuring a rotational speed of 7278RPM paired with 16MB of buffer RAM. Now normally 7278RPM is more than just plenty for 2.5" drives (5400RPM is the standard) but what really had us thinking is the 16MB RAM (data buffer) used with the drive especially since most similar ones to hit the market lately feature twice as much. Regardless this wouldn't be the first time that specifications and real world performance are worlds apart so let's see just how good the latest offering by Toshiba really is.