The Seagate Laptop Ultrathin could give your Ultrabook plenty of extra capacity, but its performance is disappointing
Capacity: 500GB, Cost per gigabyte: £0.11, Interface: SATA3
Ultra-thin laptops, such as Ultrabooks, can create a problem for storage upgrades. Many don’t even let you upgrade the disk at all, and some of those that do have drive bays too shallow for a standard 7mm-thick 2.5in disk. This is where ultra-thin 5mm hard disks, such as Seagate’s Laptop Ultrathin, come in.
Aside from its thinness, the disk is a standard laptop model in terms of mounting points and interface, so, depending on your laptop, you may be able to use it in 2.5in drive bays that support 7mm and 9.5mm drives. However, there are better-value thicker drives available, so we’d only recommend getting this drive for its intended purpose. The Ultrathin weighs 93g, which might be important if you want to keep your Ultrabook lightweight.
With only space for a single disk platter, the Laptop Ultrathin range tops out at 500GB in capacity; larger capacities would require a second platter and would make the disk too thick. 500GB of capacity works out at 11p per GB, which is quite expensive for a mechanical hard disk.
The Seagate Laptop Ultrathin uses a standard SATA3 connection, whereas other rivals such as Western Digital produce ultrathin drives with proprietary connectors. The Ultrathin has 16MB of cache and a spindle speed of 5,400RPM, which is standard for all but the fastest laptop drives.
Our benchmarks test file transfer speeds by moving data to and from an ultra-fast RAMDisk. The drive’s overall performance was underwhelming. It could write large files at 100.8MB/s and read them at 106.7MB/s, for an average of just 103.8ms; one of the slowest results we’ve seen recently. The drive was also slow at writing small files, with a score of 66.9MB/s putting it near the bottom of the laptop hard disk pack. It was quicker at reading small files, managing 78.3MB/s, which led to a more respectable but still below-average 72.6MB/s overall in the small file transfer test.
There’s little reason to buy the Ultrathin drive unless you explicitly need an ultra-slim model. Its performance is eclipsed by other larger drives, and its cost per GB is far higher, making it poor value.
If your laptop supports more standard 7mm-thick 2.5in drives, we’d recommend the Seagate Laptop SSHD instead, thanks to its faster overall performance and boot times. Alternatively check out our Best SSD or Best Hard drive guides.
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