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