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Good things come in...
Small notebook drives are becoming readily available and with each rendition new technology from their desktop counterparts are appearing in these little beauties. So what I wanted to see is whether you can get away with having a notebook drive in your desktop computer. Ive tried a few Toshiba notebook drives and found their blend of features, size and price to be palatable.

My intention of trying to fit a notebook drive in a desktop system is driven by the fact that notebook drives are generally quieter than their desktop counterparts. Thanks to being designed for notebooks, they feature better protection from movement. One of the main reasons why hard drives fail is due to lack of ventilation. Notebook drives are designed to work in relatively confined spaces so when you place it in the vast expanse of your computer case the requirement for a big whirring hard drive cooler is gone. Its fairly obvious that a 5,400 RPM drive wont be able to cope with a 7,200RPM unit let alone the mighty Western Digital Raptor drives that run at 10,000RPM, the point of this exercise isnt outright speed.

The MK1032GSX (rolls right off your tongue) Ill be trying out today is actually the same drive as one tested a few months ago, except this features a Serial ATA or SATA interface.

Since the 90s we've seen hard drives based on the IDE interface. This was perfectly adequate when it was introduced and for some time subsequently, but with increasing drive speeds and data densities, known as areal density, the limitations of IDE's parallel data handling characteristics were becoming all too apparent.

The most visible advantage of SATA comes courtesy of the considerably narrower data cables. Not only easier to route, they are less likely to completely stifle your case's airflow characteristics. They can also be used in lengths of up to one metre without compromising data integrity.

In the past notebook drives some notebook drives sporting Parallel ATA connectors required the use of adapters which allowed connection to a standard IDE cable. With the GSX the SATA connector is exactly the same as youd find on a standard hard disk drive.

The drive is typically sized for a low profile 2.5" HDD at just 100mm x 69.85mm x 9mm. Integrating the SATA interface has clearly not involved any major changes to the external dimensions. Compensating for the mediocre 5,400 RPM spin rate, Toshiba have shoehorned in a rather generous 16MB of buffer RAM.

Next we see how the drive performs in our benchmarks.
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