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WD Caviar GP: The "Green" 1 TB Drive

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October 11, 2007 12:04:05 PM

Terabyte drives from Samsung and Seagate have been delayed, but WD just released a new 1,000 GB hard drive called the Caviar GP. It's no performance champion, but it's probably the most efficient desktop hard drive ever.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/10/11/wd_caviar_gp/index.html

More about : caviar green drive

October 11, 2007 1:01:33 PM

-quoted from article for context-
"Although Samsung and Seagate announced their 1 TB hard drives months ago, Samsung is past due, and Seagate's first 7200.11 sample had to be sent back because of faulty firmware - what a pity."

That's weird... I've been running a pair of Seagate sata 7200 1TB drives (Raid1) for almost a month now. ($379 each at newegg). Not a single glitch out of either of them.

Not that I've got a problem with Hitachi... I just tend to buy brands I'm familiar with when it comes to HDD's (Seagate/WD)
October 11, 2007 2:32:02 PM

It seems the reviewer is a little confused. Not too surprising considering the way WD is attempting to obfuscate the actual spin speed.

http://www.storagereview.com/1000.sr?page=0%2C1

Under "Rotational Speed," the manufacturer cites "IntelliPower (5400 to 7200 RPM)." This does not mean the drive dynamically changes its spindle speed during operation... indeed, such a feature would entail considerable mechanical engineering and would in many ways defeat the point -- rapidly accelerating and decelerating the spindle's speed would increase rather than decrease net power draw.
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October 11, 2007 3:42:19 PM

What WD is doing kind of reminds me of a scene from Star Trek:

"Sir, sir! We're under attack by the environmentalists! Shall we fire phasers? Photon Torpedoes?"

"No, Lieutenant- Fluctuate the shie - er - DC motor rotations per minute!"

"Aye aye , sir!"

It only fends off the attack for a little bit.

The daft thing is its not like WD, Seagate, etc couldn't have done this before now. It's only been the past few years that computing power has become an issue.

If WD wants to be serious about conserving energy in their products - get to work on making MUCH cheaper solid state drives of similar capacity. As Tomshardware articles on these drives have shown, their power consumption is a vfraction compared to their mechanical brethren.
October 11, 2007 4:48:46 PM

whoa, sorry but I must be reading a diff article. Less than 1/2 of the power usage on idle an 12.2w vs 18.4w under load.

I think that is very significant. Not only from a micro perspective, but more importantly from a macro perspective.

If this drive proves to be a seller, it will send a message to the industry to follow their footsteps.

I love my 8800GTX and 30" screen, so I am no tree huger obviously, but I tell you watt, I definately think this industry is getting away with murder when it comes to power consumption.

The porn industry/users alone, could save a small forest by using these drives, for their digital entertainment needs. :D 
October 11, 2007 8:01:31 PM

While I admire Western Digital's efforts on power efficiency, I just can't see this drive being used for the mainstream. The drive is way too slow to become a primary drive. Even in a performance mode, it runs a third slower WD's own 750GB model. Resources should be spent developing NEW technology instead of trying to make 25+ year old technology faster. Spindle rotational media will be a thing of the past as soon as solid-state drives catch up with what a defacto hard drive can do.
October 11, 2007 8:42:51 PM

In the micro environment (ie, home users with 1 hard drive), a difference of 6W will amount to perhaps a dollar, maybe two, in savings per year. Couple the 33% decrease in power with a 16% decrease in performance, you can rightfully state the WD 1TB has a higher performance/power ratio than the Hitachi. But, who will slow down their computer by 16% just to save $1-$2/yr?

In the macro environment, where you have hundreds of servers, each with multiple HDs, if each used this instead of the Hitachi, you're savings get added up very quickly. Plus, you can figure these values based on 24/365 operation as opposed to regular home users, maybe 4 hours/day, 6 days/wk. When you take the assumption that a server has 6 HDs, each being a WD 1TB, and that company X has 100 such servers, then you can say that each drive will use 6W less than if they used Hitachis. Now, figuring electricity at 13c/KWh, I came up with an annual savings of $4100. No need to spend that to run Hitachi's, that's for sure. They should be able to provide good performance in RAID5 as a 5TB array using a good RAID controller.

As Timinator said, the current way of thinking of what a HD is will be replaced, whether its in 5, 10, 20 years, who knows. Solid state drives do exist, in small capacities and at high prices, so we know they are feasible. Finding a production method to allow mass production of high capacity drives using solid state methods is years away. We'll get there, though.
October 12, 2007 1:38:51 PM

I don't get some of you. A few of you state this drive is too slow? Why? Because it's not the absolute performance king? In most desktop applications, the difference in load times of all the drives in this comparison would probably be at most a couple seconds.

This drive would be fine as a primary drive on any workstation. It's in the same ball park performance wise with other mainstream drives of similar capacities, and probably a lot faster than your old 200gb your currently using. So get a grip people.

I don't really care about the green aspect. It would take replacing all the hard drives in the world with this model to make a very small dent in overall power consumption. WD would like that I guess, but it's not going to happen. If you really want to save energy, turn your unused lights off, your unused eletronics, and stop "folding" at home or whatever and turn your computer off. I think it's grand that millions of PCs are busy (some may say wasting time) trying to find cures for cancers when they are contributing to cancer causing agents in the environment themselves! CURE CANCER - TURN YOUR PC OFF!
October 12, 2007 1:48:34 PM

I love how within the first page, it basically says that this drive is kind of pointless.

Won't really save much at all to people who are concerned about the environment.
Operates worse than other drives for people who are concerned about performance.

lose/lose.


From a macro environment? Nah. If I were a business and I was looking at a new purchase, I would buy something more reliable than a variable speed drive. That just SCREAMS HD failure. For database/webserver people, I'd invest in the incredibly expensive solid state drives.
October 12, 2007 5:39:12 PM

I purchased 3 of them when they were on sale at Best Buy for 259.00 for use in my Thecus N5200 PRO NAS and let me tell you these things run cool. When I pulled on out after running for days it was barely warm to the touch and I haven't even enabled power management yet and they are also very quite. I’m hoping the cooler operation will translate into more reliability and longer life. I can see these drives being very popular in SOHO NAS implementations.
October 13, 2007 12:39:44 AM

I don't get some of you. A few of you state this drive is too slow? Why? Because it's not the absolute performance king? In most desktop applications, the difference in load times of all the drives in this comparison would probably be at most a couple seconds.

This drive would be fine as a primary drive on any workstation. It's in the same ball park performance wise with other mainstream drives of similar capacities, and probably a lot faster than your old 200gb your currently using. So get a grip people. said:
I don't get some of you. A few of you state this drive is too slow? Why? Because it's not the absolute performance king? In most desktop applications, the difference in load times of all the drives in this comparison would probably be at most a couple seconds.

This drive would be fine as a primary drive on any workstation. It's in the same ball park performance wise with other mainstream drives of similar capacities, and probably a lot faster than your old 200gb your currently using. So get a grip people.


Load times are only a fraction of the whole drive performance picture. The comparison of the Caviar GP 1TB drive to the Caviar SE 750GB drive is a 20MB+ difference in every aspect. This definately does not fit an "in the ball park" comparison. Take another look at the drives THG compared in the benchmarks. The WD Caviar GP was almost at the very bottom of all benchmarks. Also comparing it to an older 200GB drive also isn't a good comparison. But for arguments sake, I have a WD 200GB SATA 150 drive and it benchmarks a good bit faster than the Caviar GP 1TB drive.

This drive is being marketed for the general computer population not the server or enterprise community. While it may be fine in a general workstation, most workstations don't need this much hard drive space and if they do, they likely will not want to take a huge performance hit for a meager power savings of a few bucks a year. For instance video editing stations require large amounts of drive space to manipulate video. Using this drive would add a lot more than a few seconds to their project.

I don't really care about the green aspect. It would take replacing all the hard drives in the world with this model to make a very small dent in overall power consumption. WD would like that I guess, but it's not going to happen. If you really want to save energy, turn your unused lights off, your unused eletronics, and stop "folding" at home or whatever and turn your computer off. I think it's grand that millions of PCs are busy (some may say wasting time) trying to find cures for cancers when they are contributing to cancer causing agents in the environment themselves! CURE CANCER - TURN YOUR PC OFF! said:
I don't really care about the green aspect. It would take replacing all the hard drives in the world with this model to make a very small dent in overall power consumption. WD would like that I guess, but it's not going to happen. If you really want to save energy, turn your unused lights off, your unused eletronics, and stop "folding" at home or whatever and turn your computer off. I think it's grand that millions of PCs are busy (some may say wasting time) trying to find cures for cancers when they are contributing to cancer causing agents in the environment themselves! CURE CANCER - TURN YOUR PC OFF!


Which is exactly why the 1TB "Green" drive should have been classified in WD's Enterprise category rather than the general purpose Desktop category. The general purpose Desktop users likely will not choose this drive for their every day computing needs. Not to say that it won't find its way into a server system somewhere down the line. I would have to agree with Phrozt that this drive screams failure. I would definately not use it for a data center file server.
October 14, 2007 5:57:02 PM


I wonder how well the reliability is for 24/7 operation.

After reading this, my particular interest is in the lower heat generation of these drives. (the lower power is also a plus since I planned to build a server with at least 4-6 of these 500GB drives for data).

This would be a great drive for areas where heat (and lower noise possibly?) might be an issue and top performance is not., such as storage RAID arrays, DVRs, "living room media centers".. etc.

Also, user building external hard drives and NAS boxes with these would certainly benefit from lower heat (which will help prolong the life of the drives).

I would not use this for my OS or any HD intensive applications where speed is needed most, as the savings in power/"less performance" are not worth it. But, these drive would be my choice for my RAID storage and other less hd-intensive applications.

:) 
October 14, 2007 6:54:48 PM

A savings of $1/year on electric translates to a price difference of less than $10/drive in purchase price. Electric savings will never match competitive pricing.

On the other hand large drives make backing up easier and speed is seldom a factor, but 500GB drives are so much cheaper.

It appears that the drive is a problem looking for a solution.
October 14, 2007 8:27:20 PM

This drive is the perfect answer for a HTPC. Low power, quiet, large capacity. Once again. The drive does not vary spin speed! The rating is simple marketing BS. Compare to a car for example. One driven consistently at 60 MPH, and the other is constantly changing speed between 50 and 70. Who uses more gas?

Newtons First Law: An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Performance geeks don't like this drive. This is similar to the way Ferrari owners view Hondas.

We should all be thrilled that drive vendors aren't all answering the same question with the same answer.

Go HTPC!
July 13, 2008 5:05:53 PM

Ferrari suck a##, honda ftw !! lol
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