Western Digital has been shipping a 320GB laptop hard drive for some time now, but its latest line of 2.5-inch HDDs up the ante in another department: speed. Available in 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, and 320GB models, the new Scorpio Black family of notebook hard drives combine 7200rpm spin speeds with a SATA 3 GB/s interface and 16MB cache.

The company is pitching the drives to makers of high-performance notebook computers and portable storage devices. WD says the drives have an average read seek time of 12 ms with an average latency of 5.5 ms, and besides packing all of the usual features one has come to expect from HDDs such as shock protection, they are also claimed to be some of the quietest 2.5-inch drives on the market, with them emitting between 22 and 25 db of noise during idle and seek modes.

The WD Scorpio Black hard drives are now available in pre-built machines and retail stores, with a suggested retail price of $249 for the 320GB version.