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

Western Digital RE4 (RAID Edition 4, WD2003FYYS)

As expected, the 2TB RE4 drive shares the same technical foundation as the 2TB Caviar Black. The RE4, however, was modified and validated to be ready for the strain of intensive 24x7 operation, hence the “RAID Edition” name.

To better guard the surrounding system against drive vibration, the RE4 implements secured motor shafts. There’s also an electronic vibration surveillance system that WD characterizes as capable of significantly improving performance in high-vibration environments. An internal, multi-axis shock sensor helps the drive take appropriate action in case of shock to maximize data safety. The drive’s specs are largely the same as the Caviar Black 2TB: 7,200 RPM, four 500GB platters, 64MB cache memory, and the same power consumption.

There are only small but still measurable results to show for WD’s efforts to make the drive more robust. The differences in access time are marginal, but the RE4 drive does provide higher maximum, average, and minimum throughput as well as noticeably better results in the PCMark Vantage application test.

However, the RE4 also requires slightly more power. Pick this drive if you insist on maximum performance and durability. Otherwise, consumers can stay with the Caviar Black.