500GB Per Platter: Three Next-Gen 7,200 RPM Hard Drives

Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB (WD2001FASS)

Western Digital’s Caviar has been the company’s main 3.5” hard drive brand for many years, and recently the brand was divided into Caviar Blue, Green, and Black. Blue represents mainstream hard drives, Green conveys power efficiency, and Caviar Black is the premium performance family. This drive is the latest member of the Caviar Black family, reaching a 2TB capacity. Compared to previous Caviar Black models, this is the first WD drive that comes with a 64MB buffer memory.

WD here leverages four 500GB platters. This is also the first Black Edition drive based on WD’s dual actuator technology, utilizing two independent actuators to improve head positioning accuracy. The first actuator is an electromagnetic solution while the second one is piezoelectric. According to Western Digital, the latter is what provides the accuracy improvement. Finally, WD still provides a comforting five-year warranty for Caviar Black drives as well as RE models (see next page).

A high surface temperature of 46°C is expected due to the four platters spinning at 7,200 RPM. This impacts power consumption, as well. We measured 6.4W idle power, which is a lot when compared to similar drives. Read/write power reached up to 10.3W, and draw maxed out at 11.3W during high I/O activity. Playing HD video limited power consumption to 8.2W, which isn’t too far away from the idle power reading.

Let’s not forget to talk about performance. This drive is currently the fastest desktop hard drive available. Its 11.9 ms access time and 141 MB/s maximum throughput are best in class. The WD2001FASS also provides the highest I/O performance across our benchmarks and, finally, the drive dominates the PCMark Vantage application benchmark. You’ll find it also beats WD’s own VelociRaptor with the exceptions of access time and minimum throughput, making this the best choice in performance and high capacity desktop storage for enthusiasts. Since there is no match for the Caviar Black on the market today, it deserves our Recommended Buy Award.