When my macbook started to play up towards the end of last year I did what all sensible people do and ignored the problems in the hope they would fix themselves. This worked for a while, but eventually I had to bite the bullet and take it to the Apple store to find out what was wrong. It turned out my hard drive was basically caput and living on borrowed time.
Rather than pay Apple's prices for repair and replacement I decided to attempt to sort it out myself. After a bit of research online I decided that I may as well upgrade the hard drive a bit. I went for this Western Digital drive as I'd had Western Digital external drives previously and always been pleased with them. For this Scorpio drive with a whopping 750gb capacity and 7200rpm speed the price was a bargain £65 from Amazon, compared to the nearly £200 I would have paid Apple for their repair.
The hard drive was very easy to install, even for a complete novice like myself, there are numerous instruction videos and websites online that guide you through the process and its surprisingly simple. The drive itself is smaller than I expected and very lightweight.
In terms of performance I've been mostly very pleased. Because the old drive was broken, I basically restored the macbook to its original state and its felt like having a brand new computer! The new drive is noticeably faster thanks to the 7200rpm rather than the 500 of the old one. The 750gb capacity is brilliant, I used to store film and video content on an external drive as they take up so much space, but now I've transferred everything on to the Scorpio and still have loads of room left over.
My only small issue with this drive is that it gets hot. In fact it gets very hot quite quickly if you aren't careful! I knew that this might happen, the disk spins faster so physics and common sense mean more energy and therefore more heat is generated, but that doesn't mean I'm not slightly annoyed by it! Its not a huge problem, the macbook has a metal body, but it does mean I need to be careful about the surfaces I put the laptop on, and make sure to give it a nice break to cool down every now and then!
On the whole, I've been really really happy with this hard drive. Solid State Drives are the new big thing, but if you aren't prepared to sacrifice storage capacity for speed, or to pay the insanely high prices of the biggest SSDs, then this is just fine as a great value alternative until the price of the newer technology comes down.
Anyone who has a laptop can attest to the fact that no matter how much space your harddrive has, it will always become full just as you need to download a video for work or rip one of your favorite CDs. Worst of all, when you get down to the last 10GB or so your computer will start to freak out, slow down and generally act up until you clear some space. This happened to me recently on my old laptop which has a 250GB hard drive, between downloading HD youtube videos and my sizable music collection it was full to the brim. Finally I had to succumb to upgrading it to save myself from buying a whole new laptop!
Thankfully hard drive prices have dropped like a stone in recent years meaning you can purchase quite a sizable drive for very little. When buying electronics I try to buy from a brand that has been producing that type of product for a number of years, so I went with Western Digital, a very well established brand which seem to produce more hard drives than all the other manufactureres combined! I ordered the WD Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT 750GB drive from Misco.co.uk for £78 including VAT. I felt this was a fair price for a huge hard disk drive with a speed of 7200rpm. The 5400rpm models are available for less unfortunately were not in stock when I went to purchase.
The drive itself arrived in sturdy cardboard packaging and wrapped in a vacuum packed anti-static bag, a standard across the electronics industry at this point. The packaging was very easy to open and also contained all the usual manuals and warranty information. Installing a new hard drive in a laptop is a bit different from a desktop as laptops typically only have one bay to insert the drive. Thankfully a more computer literate friend intervened and provided me with a USB driven enclosure into which I could insert my new drive, making it essentially an ugly looking portable hard drive! Using some Norton Ghost software I was easily able to copy my existing harddrive over to my new, larger model. Western Digital can provide this software at an extra charge but as I already had Norton Ghost installed on my system I felt there was no need.
Once my drive had been properly installed into my laptop I set about performing some basic tests, namely battery life performance, boot time, copying speed and a very subjective noise exam. I found that the new 7200rpm drive, when compared with my older 5400 number seemed to drain the battery significantly faster than before. I would say I've lost around 20-35 minutes from my battery life because of the switch, though keep in mind my laptop is quite old and this may be different on newer models. similarly it is noisier than my other one but not so much that it has changed my computer experience. I'll happily take this though as it has reduced my full boot time by a nice 12 seconds (2:34 to 2:22) and copies files around 1.5 times faster, not to mention tripling my storage space! Just keep in mind all my tests are fairly subjective and may not reflect the drives performance on your own machine.
Overall I'm very happy I bought this drive, installing it was a breeze (with help!) and it came very professionally packaged from the factory. Pricing was fine, I had expected to pay well above £100 for a drive of this size and speed. Finally performance, the drive easily out performs my old one while only causing me minimal disruption. The reduced battery life and slightly noisier environment I can easily handle. Overall a 5 star product.