Review: Toshiba 500GB USB external hard drive

Drive has sleek design and fits easily in a pocket; performance a bit below average.

Toshiba Corp. recently sent in its new 500GB USB external disk drive for review. While the 2.5-inch device is a slick-looking drive with its diminutive size and shiny-black plastic case, I took issue with a couple of things after using it.

As far as high-capacity external hard drives go, the Toshiba one - officially known as model HDDR500E03X - has a convenient size to go along with its good looks. The drive, which was introduced in January, is 3.2 inches wide, 5 inches long and .65 of an inch thick, and it weighs 6 oz. At those dimensions, it's small enough to easily fit in a pants or shirt pocket.

The Toshiba drive also performs relatively well, though a little below average for such devices. I tested it on my ThinkPad with a 1.86GHz Intel Pentium M processor, 2GB of memory and the Service Pack 2 version of Windows XP Professional 2002. I ran two performance tests using Version 3.0 of Simpli Software's HD Tach, a low-level hardware benchmark application, and the HD Tune v2.5 hard disk utility from EDF Software.

I found myself running the HD Tach test over and over again because I kept getting widely varying results. But the bottom line is that this drive is no speed demon. The average read rate was 27.7MB/sec., the burst-read speed was 33.8MB/sec. and the average access rate was 17.7 milliseconds.

The amount of CPU cycles that the drive used also was all over the place. Its processor utilization rate started at 22%, dropped to 5% and seemed to level off at 10%. Still, I felt the utilization levels were too high. Anything over 20%, I find, will have an impact on other applications that you're running.

The results of the HD Tune tests were very similar to the HD Tach ones, in that the average read rate was 26.6MB/sec. Average random access time was 18.5 milliseconds, and the CPU utilization was 10.1% on average. The only number that differed greatly from the HD Tach results was the burst-read rate, which was 26.3MB/sec. with HD Tune.

I also copied to the drive a 4GB folder that contained 1,669 files consisting mainly of photos and videos. That took 11 minutes and 23 seconds - decent enough performance.

By comparison, earlier this month, I tested the Apollo Expert, a similar 500GB USB external drive from Imation Corp. My testing of that device with HD Tach showed an average read speed of 31MB/sec., a sequential read speed of 38MB/sec. and a burst-read speed of about 90MB/sec.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags hard drivestoshiba

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucas Mearian

Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?