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Western Digital's 4 TB WD4001FAEX Review: Back In Black

Benchmark Results: 4 KB Random Reads/Writes And Streaming Reads/Writes

The random read/write performance of hard drives is usually dictated largely by spindle speed. However, our Iometer benchmarks demonstrate a handful of exceptions that blur the line between 7,200 and 5,400 RPM disks. The WD4001FAEX turns out to be one of the slower 7,200 RPM models. Only Seagate's Barracuda fares worse.

Of course, when you compare these results to those on the previous page, it's clear that Seagate is optimizing most heavily for sequential transfers. Western Digital does as well, to a less degree. The outcome is a compromise in random performance. We think that's a smart trade-off, considering conventional drives aren't well-suited to random I/O anyway, and it's probable that an enthusiast using a 7,200 RPM disk with 4 TB of capacity would probably also have an SSD under the hood handling more performance-sensitive duties.

The WD4001FAEX does moderately well in our streaming read and write tests. Its performance is neither really good nor really bad. Seagate's Barracuda leads our line-up by a significant margin, clearly outmaneuvering the competition.