Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Western Digital Updates "Black" Line of HDDs

By - Source: Xbit Labs | B 32 comments

The updated WD Black drives have increased performance over the previous models.

Western Digital has quietly updated its "Black" series of high-end consumer hard drives, replacing the older "FAEX" models with the zippier new "FZEX" drives. The updated HDDs promise higher performance of up to 48 percent, better accuracy, stronger reliability and a greater efficiency. The Black line still comes in 4 TB, 3 TB, 2 TB, 1 TB and 500 GB flavors, but the company is currently selling both variants until the older stock is depleted save for the 500 GB WD5003AZEX, which completely replaces the older 500 GB model.

"Our all new next-generation WD Black drives deliver improved performance that heightens the experience of your PC playground. These performance drives offer enhanced features over the previous generation to maximize system performance, allowing you to have more fun creating while spending less time waiting," a WD statement reads.

According to the specs, the new drives now support Advanced Format and have received a boost in sequential read speeds. The new 4 TB model now transfers at 171 MB/s, up from 154 MB/s, whereas the new 3 TB model transfers at 168 MB/s instead of the original 154 MB/s. The 2 TB drive has a 164 MB/s read speed, up from 138 MB/s, and the 1 TB drive has a 150 MB/s speed, up from 126 MB/s. The 500 GB drive reads at 150 MB/s.

The drives feature the company's HRC (High Resolution Controller) with an improved architectural design, increasing the accuracy of the data written, thus improving the overall speed. The drives also feature Vibration Control Technology, or VCT, that allows the platters to adapt to any mounting problems or vibration conditions, which increases reliability, accuracy and performance over time. The 2 TB, 3 TB and 4 TB models are also equipped with StableTrac technology that secures the motor shaft at both ends, reducing additional vibrations and extending the drives' lifespan.

"The worst thing that can happen during a rendering process is losing data due to power fluctuation or power failure," reads the updated product sheet (PDF). "The new generation of WD Black hard drives is equipped with Corruption Protection Technology (CPT), which helps to protect and limit the potential problem of data loss during power failure or power loss to the hard drive. Overall, Corruption Protection Technology can save you time and money on your project."

The updated Black line of drives also features a dual-core application processor that adds WD's Dynamic Caching Technology. This supposedly increases performance by improving caching algorithms in real time and optimizing the cache allocation between reads and writes. Thus the drive can automatically allocate more cache for read data, which in turn reduces data congestion and increases the drive's overall performance.

As seen here, both the old and new models are currently for sale.

UPDATE: Changed the 500 MB capacity to the correct 500 GB model. Sorry about that! -KP

Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Display 32 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    anort3 , October 14, 2013 7:07 PM
    Assuming prices don't jump crazily that is a nice little performance boost.
  • 21 Hide
    patrick47018 , October 14, 2013 7:19 PM
    500MB? What is this 1990?
  • -3 Hide
    drtweak , October 14, 2013 7:23 PM
    I was just about to say the same thing Patrick...I was like...ummm 500MB...What are these? Pin size flash drive? lol
  • 1 Hide
    ko888 , October 14, 2013 7:28 PM
    The source article, at X-bit labs, says 500GB.
  • 0 Hide
    DarkSable , October 14, 2013 7:30 PM
    I personally like this one:

    The updated HDDs promise higher performance of up to 48 percent, better accuracy, stronger reliability and a greater efficiency.

    "Higher performance of up to 48 percent," 48 percent... greater blackness?

    Your commas missed. :p 
  • 0 Hide
    ietrinidad , October 14, 2013 7:31 PM
    It appears that no one reviews the article prior to posting it.

    Thanks DaUnreal, I think we're all pretty aware that it was a typo. :) 
  • -2 Hide
    DaUnreal , October 14, 2013 7:33 PM
    its a typo.. its meant to say 500GB
  • 3 Hide
    blader15sk8 , October 14, 2013 8:37 PM
    I could see once.. but four times? 500 MB?
  • -1 Hide
    bochica , October 14, 2013 10:04 PM
    Cost Central is selling the 2 TB for around $160, up about $30 from the previous version. They are based out of PA, but I don't know if they are really selling this model yet.
  • 0 Hide
    bochica , October 14, 2013 10:07 PM
    Another thing to note, I wonder if they will sneak in updates for the Velociraptor. I was planning to get one of those soon, but the Black updates put it pretty close now in the sequential reads.
  • 0 Hide
    patrick47018 , October 14, 2013 11:11 PM
    @yannigr 500MB platters.

  • -5 Hide
    acyuta , October 14, 2013 11:45 PM
    Sorry but no WD Caviar Blacks for me after using Intel SSDs. I last bought a Black (2TB) in early 2011. With a SSD as a system drive, I can easily use Seagate 3TB/4TB as storage drives. As I see it, Seagate 4TB is $165-170 compared with $260-270 for WD 4 TB Black. Even the slower WD Red 4TB is for $200. Ok, so WD has a 5 year warranty for blacks but they have started sending out refurbished drives now as replacement. That USP also goes. Till 2011, they used to send new ones for Black RMA.
  • 2 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 14, 2013 11:52 PM
    I'd really like to see a review of these updated drives.
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 15, 2013 12:20 AM
    1TB platters?

    From what I've read elsewhere these still use the same 800GB platters. The biggest difference is that the drive capacities below 3TB appear to have been updated with the 800GB platters, where as before they were still using prior gen 500GB platters. Also, it looks like the new 3TB drive may have been reduced to 4 platters, where as the older drive was physically identical to the 4TB version and used 5 platters.
  • -2 Hide
    x2ruff4u , October 15, 2013 1:12 AM
    Believe it or not, but recently I used CrystalDisck to check my hard drives health. I have a Samsung HD501LJ that has 34,874 hours on it which is 1,453 days that's 4 years!! I think that's incredible for RPM hard drive made back in 2006.
  • -2 Hide
    x2ruff4u , October 15, 2013 1:13 AM
    Not to confuse anyone, but that's is the total power on hours. Just like a car has miles on it.
  • -1 Hide
    rokit , October 15, 2013 2:13 AM
    They silently upgraded the series and didn't call for more money?! WD changed alot.
  • 2 Hide
    mapesdhs , October 15, 2013 3:56 AM

    x2ruff4u, I have SCSI disks that are still running after more than 20 years. :D 


  • -2 Hide
    TeraMedia , October 15, 2013 6:30 AM
    Can anyone please explain this:
    ... increasing the accuracy of the data written...

    This isn't the age of analog dubbing and mix tapes. Either the data was written with 100% accuracy... or it wasn't. And I thought the bit-error rate on these things was supposed to be something on the order of 1 : 10^14 (plus or minus a couple of exponent points). So did they bump up that exponent, or what am I missing?
  • -2 Hide
    Ken Havens , October 15, 2013 6:43 AM
    Mechanical Drives are really just long term storage devices now imo. The bulk of research should go into improving the cost/gigabyte, speed and reliability of SSD drives.
Display more comments