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Western Digital: Mainstream and Low Power

Tom’s Winter 2008 Hard Drive Guide

Western Digital introduced a new classification for its desktop hard drives only a few months ago. While they are all still Caviar class drives, WD now offers the Caviar Black for enthusiasts, Caviar Blue for the mainstream, and the Caviar Green for higher efficiency. We looked at the latest Caviar Black, the first, and second generation Caviar Green drives, thenconcluded with the RAID Edition 3 drive and Velociraptor drives for enthusiasts and business users.

Caviar Black (WD1001FALS)

The new Caviar Black by Western Digital is the company’s latest upper-mainstream drive, delivering maximum performance and high capacity. This model is called WD1001FALS, and it offers up to one terabyte of capacity at a 7,200 RPM spindle speed, with 32 MB of cache memory, a SATA/300 interface and an impressive five-year warranty. It seems like Seagate has been setting the trend, as the Barracuda family has had this warranty for a while. Caviar Black doesn’t run extremely cool and it is not particularly power efficient, but it performs very well.

The Caviar Black offers one of the shortest access times in the market at only 12.2 ms on average. Idle power is acceptably low at a measured 6.5 W. Only one comparable drive, Hitachi’s Deskstar 7K1000.B, showed a smaller power requirement when idle. The Caviar Black is better than the Deskstar 7K1000.B when it comes to performance per watt for workstation I/O, but the Hitachi drive is superior in streaming read performance per watt due to lower power requirements and faster sequential throughput. The Caviar Black and the similar WD RAID Edition 3 (RE3) drive provide the fastest I/O performance of all 7,200 RPM desktop drives and even keep a nice distance from the other drives.

Low Power: WD10EADS And WD10EACS

If you want to go for a low power drive then there is only one WD drive that we truly recommend: the Caviar Green WD10EADS. This is the latest power efficient drive, and it has been the most efficient green drive we’ve had in our lab, as well as being a good performer. Despite its 5,400 RPM spindle speed we found access time to be almost at the level of 7,200 RPM drives. The same applies to throughput: it almost reaches 100 MB/s, which is more than the first-generation Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 at 7,200 RPM. The idle power of measured 2.8 W is most impressive—the second place finisher in the benchmark chart requires 4.3 W.

Thanks to its extremely low power requirement, the WD10EADS turned out to be most efficient when it comes to performance per watt for streaming read operations, and it even is second for the workstation I/O performance per watt test, despite performance that cannot match a Caviar Black or a Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B. The WD Caviar Green WD10EADS loses in application performance and I/O performance, but it was never designed to dominate these benchmarks anyway.

We have to advise against getting the first generation Caviar Green drive—the WD10EACS—because the current model WD10EADS is just so much better. The first Caviar Green (known as Caviar GP) only reached 76 MB/s throughput, with rather slow access times and below-average application benchmark and I/O benchmark results. Even when it comes to power savings, its successor beats it with much improved idle and activity power consumption. If you want an efficient drive go for the WD Caviar Green WD10EADS, not the WD10EACS.

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  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 24, 2008 7:19 AM
    Thanks for the write-up.
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , November 24, 2008 8:05 AM
    I would be interested in seeing how SSDs have effected Raptor sales.
  • 0 Hide
    radnor , November 24, 2008 9:02 AM
    I honestly think SSDs wont touch Velociraptor sales. The price tag is just too different. Even 300Gb is kinda short. Not to mention 64Gb.

    SSDs for now are only rich lappy owners. For the rest, there is SAS.
  • 0 Hide
    arkadi , November 24, 2008 10:45 AM
    with the new x58 out, it will be nice 2 see how sas drives will do
  • -1 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 24, 2008 11:10 AM
    There are 30gb OCZ SSDs on newegg for $80 each. Anyone wanting a faster drive for the OS would definitely consider the SSD over a Raptor.
  • 3 Hide
    DFGum , November 24, 2008 11:12 AM
    Slomo4shOThere are 30gb OCZ SSDs on newegg for $80 each. Anyone wanting a faster drive for the OS would definitely consider the SSD over a Raptor.

    Except there not faster.
  • 2 Hide
    zenmaster , November 24, 2008 11:12 AM
    Have you seen the OCZ horror stories?
  • 1 Hide
    antiacid , November 24, 2008 12:38 PM
    SSD doesn't equate to better performances than raptors. Watch out for that :) 

    thanks for the review, it's nice to see the Hitachi's getting updated to such fast drives.
  • 3 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , November 24, 2008 12:48 PM
    EcoGreen F1 @ -60C operational temperature? That may not be the most ideal enviroment to run a pc ? might want to add a zero in front :) 

    ps. no noise measurements?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 24, 2008 1:05 PM
    yes, no noise measuring? That is a important as anything else for a HTPC?
  • -1 Hide
    malveaux , November 24, 2008 1:17 PM
    SSD's aSSD's, especially the MLC ones, are not effecting gaming machine sales (raptor). They're terrible for PC's right now that run Windows. They're better than their initial release. But they're still not something to overtake the markget for a while.
  • 6 Hide
    chikatana , November 24, 2008 4:27 PM
    The gallery thing is so user unfriendly. I hate it so much since its introduction. It takes much longer to load, and I have to switch between browser windows constantly to see all the images. Please go back to the old design and show all the images in a few pages directly. I don't want to keep switching!!!
  • -1 Hide
    Pei-chen , November 24, 2008 4:42 PM
    I am using two 1.5TB drive in RAID 0 under Vista x64 and it doesn't feel any faster than the two 320GB 7200.10 RAID 0 drives it replaced. The throughput for the 320GB is 70 MB/s or 140 MB/s on RAID 0; the 1.5TB should be noticeably faster but it isn’t.

    BTW, the maxima drive size windows can address is 2TB so my 2*1.5TB shows up as one 2TB + one 700GB drives.
  • -1 Hide
    Eggrenade , November 24, 2008 7:46 PM
    This is one of those articles that reminds me why I like Tom's so much: quantitative comparisons that are useful.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 24, 2008 8:55 PM
    Properly-designed flash-based solid state drives are not only faster than conventional drives, they can also require considerably less power

    LMAO! A couple of months ago Tom's had an article saying that the energy-saving of SSDs was a hoax. The title even had the word "hoax" in it. I called their bluff, and got down-rated in the comments on that article. Now, they're saying the exact opposite! How many times does Tom's say one thing to spark controversy and get website hits, and then say the exact opposite later on? This website is SO FULL OF CRAP.

    1. Post deleted like APPLE owns this site.
  • 1 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 24, 2008 9:03 PM
    SSDs ARE faster than HDDs, IF you have the right SSD. Furthermore, that is not the ONLY advantage to having an SSD. Heat, energy use, ability to handle more shock, and noise all contribute.

    XP and Vista is not correctly optimized for SSDs, but that doesn't mean that a high end SSD won't outperform hard drives on them.
  • 1 Hide
    doomsdaydave11 , November 24, 2008 9:33 PM
    DFGumExcept there not faster.

    Yeah those cheapo OCZ (etc) drives are incredibly slow. My next harddrive will be a 500GB Seagate 7200.11. That should last me at least 2 years, and then I'll go with maybe a 512GB SSD or something. Surely they'll have 512GB SSD's that provide at least 200MB/s read and 150MB/s write at a reasonable price in 2 years.... especially with all these memory prices dropping. Last year you could get 2x2GB of DDR2-800 for ~$200. Now, 2x2GB of DDR2-800 can be had for under $50, and even lower then that after rebates!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2008 12:09 AM
    The WD Raptor 36GB and above can still be used within a raid-0 array. Heck thats what i'm using now, i was looking for SSD's but too much SSD's that have their issues and wont come down at least for 350€ for a decent Raid-0 set.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2008 2:13 AM
    I checked Newegg and noticed that the following drives aren't readily available, yet Tom's is recommending them. What's up ?

    Hitachi 7K1000.B
    Seagate new 1TB
  • 0 Hide
    Codesmith , November 25, 2008 4:01 AM
    I look at not only the length of the warranty but the quality of the support. When my seagate failed I had to pay a total of $27 for advanced replacement. When my western digital failed advanced replacement was free and I only paid $7 for a optional prepaid return shipping label.

    Also I had to get to page idk 17 or 19 in the RMA process before I saw anything about an advance replacement fee.

    I am not saying I won't ever buy a seagate, just saying I lean heavily toward WD because of the way they handle replacements.

    I wish I new all the manufacturers policies on advance replacement fee's. But one's that charge don't advertise it so I am kinda in the dark.
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