After a few weeks of delays, it is finally available: the WD2000JB from Western Digital, a high performance drive and impressive storage monster. It offers a whopping 200 GB, although, on the surface, it looks exactly like its preceding models, with no trace of sex appeal or emotion.
The improvements are to be found under its aluminum and cast iron casing: Western Digital has managed to give each platter 60 GB. Hard drives with 120 GB and 180 GB (with two and three platters, respectively) were to be expected, but the top model with 200 GB serves to show that more than 60 GB per platter should be possible - because this hard drive uses only three platters.
Those who are interested in the new 120 GB model should be on the alert, because this drive is available at the store in two versions: one with the previous inner mechanisms and three 40 GB platters, and another one that is technically the same as the WD2000 tested here, but with two 60 GB platters. The new model has higher performance capabilities, so if the prices are the same, then go for the newer model. The model number of the new drive doesn't allow you to identify which is which, so we recommend that you take a look at the total number of sectors (indicated on the drive as "Drive Parameters"): the "old" model has 234.375 billion; the latest model has 234.442 billion. An alternative is to look at the manufacturing date - models dated starting September 2002 are most likely the ones that have 60 GB per platter.
We would like to take a moment and a talk about the situation with hard drive warranties. The current trend in general, has beenfor hard drive manufacturers to reduce their warranty to one year on ATA hard drive products. Maxtor, Seagate, and Western Digital have all made moves to adapt this new warranty policy after October 1st 2002. From our understanding this policy does not currently apply to end users in within the European Union. As for end users in the US and Canada, Western Digital has made no changes to the warranty policy on the "JB" Special Edition hard drives. Since the WD2000JB in this review is a member of the "JB" Special Edition series of drives its warranty continues to stand at three years, at least for the moment. We will have some additional coverage on the hard drive warranty issues in an upcoming article.