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

Western Digital's Performance-Oriented 4 TB Hard Drive

Western Digital recently added a new model to its Black family of performance-oriented hard drives. The new disk, technically referred to as WD4001FAEX, sports 4 TB of space. It spins at 7,200 RPM, employs a 6 Gb/s SATA interface, and includes 64 MB of cache.

Although the company won't divulge how many platters this behemoth uses to hit its capacity ceiling, our benchmark/power data suggests the magic number is five. You can’t tell by simply looking at it; the drive is 26.1 mm-thick, just like many other 3 and 4 TB repositories.

As a general rule, the more capacity a hard drive hosts, the longer it takes to benchmark. Western Digital's WD4001FAEX is certainly no exception. It took us 19 hours of testing to get a complete picture of its performance. Fortunately, the company kept this in mind when it sent out samples, providing us with some much-needed sugar. It's too bad that you don't get chocolate as part of the disk's standard bundle. When you spend $330, a bare 4 TB hard drive is all you get.

Technical Specifications

ManufacturerWestern Digital
Model NumberWD4001FAEX
Form Factor3.5"
Capacity4 TB
Other Capacities500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
Cache64 MB
InterfaceSATA 6Gb/s
Operating Temperature0-55° C
Power Consumption at Idle (Manufacturer's Specifications)8.1 W
Power Consumption at Idle (Measured)7.9 W
Maximum Allowable Shock Level (2 ms, read)65 G
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Benchmark System

Benchmark System Hardware
CPUIntel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge), Stepping D2, 32 nm, 4C/4T, 3.3 GHz Base Clock Rate, 3.7 GHz Maximum Turbo Boost, 4 x 256 KB L2 Cache, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache, HD Graphics 3000, 95 W TDP
MotherboardGigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3, Revision: 0.2, Chipset: Intel Z68 Express, BIOS: F3
RAM2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333, Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D
System SSDIntel X25-M G1, 80 GB, Firmware 0701, SATA 3Gb/s
Benchmarked Hard DriveWestern Digital Black WD4001FAEX, 4 TB, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/s, 7,200 RPM
ControllerIntel PCH Z68 SATA 6 Gb/s
Power SupplySeasonic X-760 760 W, SS-760KM Active PFC F3
Benchmark SoftwareCrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 h2benchw 3.16 PCMark 7 1.0.4
I/O Benchmark SoftwareIOMeter 2006.07.27 Webserver Benchmark Database Benchmark Fileserver Benchmark Workstation Benchmark Streaming Reads Streaming Writes 4K Random Reads 4K Random Writes
System Software and Drivers
Software and DriversDetails
Operating SystemWindows 7 x64 Ultimate SP1
Intel INF9.2.0.1030
Intel Rapid Storage Technology10.5.0.1026