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Western Digital Scorpio Blue (WD5000LPVT) 500 GB Slim Mobile Hard Disk Drive Review
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The Western Digital WD5000LPVT

At first glance, the new 500 GB Scorpio Blue (WD5000LPVT) hard disk drive looks like any other 2.5" mobile hard drive, with a label on the top plate and an uncovered PCB on the underside. But when you pick it up, you will immediately notice that it's thinner (6.8 mm, instead of 9.5 mm) and lighter (90 g, instead of 100 g).

The label on the top has a lot of important information, like the hard drive model, storage capacity and serial number. There are also interesting details like its date and place of manufacture. This particular drive was manufactured in Malaysia on 6 March, 2012. The underside is SOP for Western Digital - completely bare of any surface-mounted components.

Do note that this is an Advanced Format drive. If you're using an older operating system like Windows XP or Windows 98, you will need to use the WD Align software to ensure the drive performs properly.


Advanced Format Technology

Western Digital used their Advanced Format Technology (AFT) to help achieve the areal density necessary to create the 500 GB platter used in this WD5000LPVT hard disk drive. However, AFT has some effect on performance.

By allow for a higher areal density, AFT will boost a drive's sequential transfer rate. The closer spatiality of the data blocks also improves sequential seek times. The larger ECC block will not only improve data integrity, it will also allow for faster error checking and correction for the same amount of data.

When used with operating systems that have native support for Advanced Format Technology, the larger sector size will reduce the command overhead as fewer commands are needed to transfer the same amount of data. However, we will only see this benefit in future AFT drives that do not use the 512-byte emulation mode.

The WD5000LPVT uses the 512-byte emulation mode for compatibility reasons. This actually incurs a significant performance penalty, which we have dubbed as the "Advanced Format effect". To counter this effect, Western Digital normally doubles the size of their Advanced Format drive's SDRAM buffer. However, this appears to apply only to desktop hard disk drives. Mobile hard disk drives like the WD5000LPVT are still stuck with a puny 8 MB SDRAM buffer.

Finally, data accesses that are less than 4,096 bytes in size will incur some performance penalties. This is because the Advanced Format drive will read the entire 4 KB sector even if you only needed a single byte. The good news is that in this day and age of files that run into tens, if not hundreds of megabytes, such small accesses are uncommon.

For more details on Advanced Format Technology and the "Advanced Format effect", take a look at The Western Digital Advanced Format Performance Comparison Guide.


Usable Capacity

This Western Digital Scorpio Blue drive officially has a formatted capacity of 500,107,000 bytes. We checked that out by formatting both in NTFS using Microsoft Windows 7.

The actual formatted capacity was 500,104,537,408 bytes. This is slightly (2.5 MB) lower than the official formatted capacity. With about 109 MB allocated to the NTFS file system, the actual usable capacity remained slightly below 500 GB.

Let's take a look at its specifications.




• WD5000LPVT

Formatted Capacity

• 500,107 MB

Guaranteed Sectors

• 976,773,168

Bytes Per Sector

• 512 bytes (Emulated)


• 1 Platter

Read/Write Heads

• 2 Read/Write Heads

Spindle Speed

• 5,400 RPM

Cache Buffer


Average Seek

• 12.0 ms

Track-to-Track Seek

• 2.0 ms (average)

Average Latency

• 5.5 ms

Drive Ready Time

• 3.5 seconds (average)

Internal Data Transfer Rate

• 147 MB/s (sustained, maximum)

Maximum I/O Transfer Rate

• 300 MB/s


• Serial ATA 3 Gb/s

Supported SATA Data Transfer Modes

• 3.0 Gbits/s
• 1.5 Gbits/s

SATA Hotplug Capability

• Yes

Maximum Height

• 6.8 mm
• 0.27 inches

Maximum Width

• 69.85 mm
• 2.75 inches

Maximum Length

• 100.2 mm
• 3.94 inches

Maximum Weight

• 90 g
• 0.20 lb

Power Requirements

• +12V DC ± 10 %
• +5V DC ± 5 %

Power Consumption

• 1.4 W (Read / Write)
• 0.55 W (Idle)
• 0.13 W (Standby)
• 0.13 W (Sleep)

Ambient Temperature

• 0 °C to 60 °C (Operating)
• -40 °C to 65 °C (Non-Operating)

Maximum Shock

• 400 G @ 2 ms (Read)
• 1000 G @ 2 ms (Non-Operating)

Drive Acoustics

• 17 dBA average (Idle Mode)
• 22 dBA average (Quiet Seek Mode)

Non-Recoverable Read Errors

• < 1 error per 1014 bits read

Load/Unload Cycles

• 600,000 (minimum)


• NA


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Western Digital WD5000LPVT Overview


Introduction, Packaging


The Western Digital WD5000LPVT
Advanced Format Technology
Usable Capacity, Specifications


Connectors & Jumpers, Breather Hole
New Top Plate & Headstack Design


Testing The WD Scorpio Blue
Maximum Surface Temperature


Transfer Rate Range
Platter Transfer Rate Profile


Business Disk WinBench 99 Results
High-End Disk WinBench 99 Results


IO Meter Random Access Performance


IO Meter Sequential Access Performance



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