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Why are WD Green drives not good as primary drive?

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December 2, 2009 3:46:22 PM

Sorry all I tried looking for this and I looked though a lot of the benchmark stuff...but I'm not too technical yet. I'm just building my first computer. I have already bought a AMD955BE and a good Power supply and Case. The Motherboard selection is making my head spin a bit. However my current dilemma is that I am looking at hard drives and I don't understand why the WD Green drives don't make good primary drives? I want at least a 500GB drive as I do alot of photo editing, however I have a bunch of external drives where I backup and store most of the photos. Basically I'm looking for good value, reliable drive. Not sure what else

I am new to Tom's hardware, found it a couple weeks ago when I was researching and I must say I love the site. Thanks for your help.

Brett
a b G Storage
December 2, 2009 3:52:17 PM

The green drives are not considered good "Primary" drives due to the fact they will drop to 5400 rpm from 7200 rpm depending on workload. It takes time for them to spin backup to 7200. They WILL work just fine as a primary drive, they just won't be the fastest drive. I would look at getting a 7200 rpm or higher drive for the main drive and then using the Green drive as storage if you want to keep things faster.
Depending on what your doing you MAY not notice much of a difference or even care about the small drop in performance. If budgets are tight get the cheaper of the twol
December 2, 2009 4:18:26 PM

Budget is tight in that I would like to spend as little as possible and then possibly expand or upgrade later on. Would my best bet be to get a 7200 hard drive for the main drive and then add another drive later on for extra storage? If so how large of a drive would I want? I've only ever had a computer with 1 internal drive before. I'm guessing I probably wouldn't notice any difference as my current computers are a Dell 8600 from 2005 and a 3+ year old Toshiba laptop. However both have started to literally fall apart so I have decided to build a new system.
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a b G Storage
December 2, 2009 4:22:19 PM

A smart way to assemble a workstation is to install your OS
on a fast but inexpensive HDD spinning at 7,200 or faster,
or on an SSD if you can afford one. This Western Digital RE3
is a good candidate:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(the ratio of price per warranty year is also very good)


Generally, 30-50 GB are more than enough for any OS,
plus a smaller Windows C: partition will also result in
"short strokes" of the read/write armature.

Because modern HDDs start addressing sectors
from outer to inner tracks, a smaller C: partition
results in reducing the distance that the armature
must travel, on average. This has become highly
important, because CPUs and RAM are increasing
in speed much faster than HDDs are increasing
in speed.

If there is any additional space on your primary HDD,
format that as a data partition.

Then, a second HDD, either internal or external,
can provide lots of space for archival storage
e.g. 1TB - 2TB, and a "green" device is a very good
candidate for this second HDD.

We format at least 2 partitions on such secondary HDDs,
the first of which is IDENTICAL in size to the C: partition --
in the event that the primary HDDs fails, it's easy to restore the
latest drive image to the first partition on that secondary HDD.

And, when writing drive images of the C: partition,
that second HDD is a good destination for those
drive images: this will minimize armature movement
on both HDDs, reducing wear on each.

Then, copy the output drive image back to the
data partition on the primary HDD, for redundancy.

We've been doing the above on a regular basis
for many years now, and the results have been superb.


MRFS

a c 105 G Storage
December 2, 2009 4:29:52 PM

At about $80, it's hard to argue against a 1TB w/ twin 500GB platters.. Seagate 7200.12 or Spinpoint F3 ... The WD Black has 500 GB platters in the 2 TB model but it's fairly expensive.
a c 415 G Storage
December 2, 2009 6:25:30 PM

As the others have mentioned, the only thing wrong with a "Green" drive is that it's slower. If price is a problem and if you'll be able to upgrade later, my advice is to buy the fastest drive you can afford with whatever budget you have, favoring speed over capacity (ie, buy a 500GB "Black" drive if it's no more expensive than a 1TB "Green" drive).
December 2, 2009 7:02:12 PM

The 500 GB Black drive WD5001AALS or 1TB WD1001FALSlooks like a pretty good candidate to me. I think its about as fast as I will get because SSD are out of my budget and I'm not sure the Velociraptor(sp) is worth the money for me. I like all the reviews I have read about WD they seem very reliable. SO for ~$100 i think it will be a good choice? Should I still partition and area for the operating system?
a b G Storage
December 2, 2009 9:44:19 PM

sturm said:
The green drives are not considered good "Primary" drives due to the fact they will drop to 5400 rpm from 7200 rpm depending on workload. It takes time for them to spin backup to 7200. They WILL work just fine as a primary drive, they just won't be the fastest drive. I would look at getting a 7200 rpm or higher drive for the main drive and then using the Green drive as storage if you want to keep things faster.
Depending on what your doing you MAY not notice much of a difference or even care about the small drop in performance. If budgets are tight get the cheaper of the twol


They definitely do not vary in speed. They spin at a fixed speed, just like all other drives. The advertising was confusing on this point for a while, but it does not have a dynamic spin speed. They never specify the actual spin speed, but it's around 5400RPM from all of the tests I've seen.
December 2, 2009 11:23:34 PM

I use a WD 1TB Green drive on a Q6600 based XP system. Boot time is slightly quicker with the green 1TB WD than with the 2 year old 7200 RPM 200 GB sata drive it replaced. A WD Black 1TB drive (at $20 more) would be slightly louder and faster. I'm pretty happy with the performance with the green drive. You might want to trade off the (slightly more) noise and heat for more speed -- the $20 really shouldn't be a factor!)

If you decide to use two disks as suggested above look at a raid config. You get the benefit of improved performance plus can keep 1 big C drive. You could also start with the green drive and add a second later if you need more performance. (or add a flash based system drive).
December 3, 2009 12:06:24 PM

I'm not worried about the $20 or $40 etc. I think I might start off with the Green drive, then 4-6 months down the road add a SSD for the OS. I can then use the Green Drive as Storage only. I think in the end that will be my best option. I'm just not ready to buy a SSD right now.
February 8, 2013 8:53:41 AM

I bought a 2tb WD Green for less noise, lots of storage, and had initially bought it for a secondary while running an older wd pata 80gb as primary. With my new upgrade I'll be running it as primary. I don't expect to notice any performance issues as I'm not a gamer and use my computer for business use and watching movies. After reading this review, I was surprised to see such caution as using it as a primary drive. It can save on electricity and power. And if you want to keep it running at the full 7200 rpm I read somewhere you can set it that way, but I'd rather have it running at 5400 rpms for less noise just my 2 cents. Dan
February 8, 2013 9:24:49 PM

We've got a 800gb WD green drive and it's listed at 5900rpm right on the label. WEI score is the same 5.9 as every other rotating drive I've ever had, but the 64mb cache must help applications, because it loads and runs more quickly than any of my old WD Blue or Seagate drives.
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