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WD Black2 is a 2-in-1 SSD, HDD Combo Drive

Western Digital (WD) introduced on Monday a "hybrid" drive for consumers that combines a 120 GB SSD with a 1 TB HDD, thus cramming the high-speed performance of the former and the cheap, high capacity of the latter into one 2.5 inch 9.5 mm form factor. This combo solution is designed for enthusiasts, system builders, gamers and creative professionals.

Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of WD's Storage Technology business unit, said on Monday that although the company provides Solid State Hybrid Drive solutions, "tech savvy" customers asked for more control over where data is stored. Thus, enter the WD Black2 dual drive, which offloads data usage from the SSD to the HDD, thanks to the company's "Shift_Technology," and it is free of caching algorithms.

"The WD Black2 dual drives empower our customers to enjoy SSD performance and access high capacity storage in a no-compromise package. The WD Black2 dual drive is a direct result of our interaction with our customer base through WD Labs initiatives. WD devised its beta labs program to provide an exclusive testing arena for key customers and technology influencers of existing and emerging WD storage products."

According to WD, Shift_Technology allows users to migrate larger files to the hard drive, providing the SSD with less system drag. With less caching involved, there's less waiting and a longer-lasting SSD. The SSD portion is based on a 20 nm architecture with quad channel NAND processing for increased speed and performance. There's also a custom controller for increased efficiency, and 8 GB of space dedicated for provisioning.

"WD Black2 combines the shock and vibration resistance of SSD with the proven technology of the HDD for one truly agile and highly reliable dual drive storage solution. Advanced firmware and intelligent algorithms assist in heightened performance, resulting in cooler temperatures with nearly inaudible operation," reads the product sheet.

The specs show that this unique dual drive connects via a SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) interface, provides read speeds of up to 350 MB/s, and has a minimum of 600,000 load/unload cycles. The drive uses a minimum of 0.90 watts and a maximum of 1.80 watts, and measures 0.374 x 3.95 x 2.75 inches. The Black2 ships as a full kit with a web key, quick install guide, USB to SATA transfer cable, and warranty information; software download and Internet connection are required for installation.

The WD Black2, model WD1001X06XDTL, is available directly from WD and through other retailers like Newegg for $299.99 USD. This should be an ideal gift for PC gamers this Christmas, which is exactly one month away from today. Wasn't it just Halloween?

  • bochica
    I already bought a 256 Samsung PRO and 1 TB Velociraptor. Damnit WD! You took too long!

    Actually, I would like to see how real world numbers would do. The setup I have works pretty well. I almost went with Seagate's hybrid, but steered away from it for various reasons.
    Reply
  • PepitoTV
    Nice tech, however I feel that it's for a niche of small form factor systems or laptops, otherwise I don't think it justifies the pricetag versus just having two drives.
    Reply
  • m32
    I can't wait to see some reviews about this.
    Reply
  • JohnPMyers
    12031389 said:
    I can't wait to see some reviews about this.

    http://www.techwarelabs.com/western-digital-black%C2%B2-dual-drive-review-two-drives-in-one/

    http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Storage/Western-Digital-Black2-Dual-Drive-Full-Review-120GB-SSD-1TB-HDD-single-25-package

    Having both an SSD and an HDD are going to be faster than this. That's why the intended market is laptops/notebooks that only have 1 HDD bay and that also need a nice amount of storage space. For them, this idea is brilliant.
    Reply
  • SlitWeaver
    This drive would be perfect for Mini-ITX cases with limited drive bays. For instance, the newly released EVGA Hadron Air only supports 2 hard drives in total.
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    http://www.storagereview.com/wd_black2_ssd_hdd_review

    The SSD isn't the fastest and the hard drive has no hybrid portion itself and is 5400RPM. But the SSD is plenty fast for any desktop/laptop user. The 2 drives show up as 2 drives in 'My Computer.' No native support, needs windows drivers, otherwise you will only see the SSD portion.

    I think it's a great product and over time the price will come down. Would be nice if the mechanical drive had 16GB of flash to work with too, and a 256GB SSD option.

    My only concern with the device is that the controller is kind of unstable if you try to intensively access the mechanical and SSD drive simultaneously, storagereview found. WD will probably revise the firmware.
    Reply
  • tsnor
    If the laptop has a MSATA slot free then buying a normal disk drive and an msata SSD would be much cheaper. (disk = $100, 120GB ssd MSATA = $100-$125. vs. current newegg for the WD Black2 = $300.) For $300 you could get a 256GB msata ssd and the 1TB slow drive.
    Reply
  • awesomedude911
    it will only be good if the price is right, why pay more for "New" technology?
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    Great for SFF and laptops if you're an advanced user. For the tech illiterate? Smart caching is better. I'd really like to see something like Seagate's software-agnostic hybrid, only with 64GB+ of fast cache. Their existing models were OK for a while (I used one of their last 7200RPM models, it was pretty fast for a large laptop drive), but they've fallen behind and now they just seem dated.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    12031370 said:
    I already bought a 256 Samsung PRO and 1 TB Velociraptor. Damnit WD! You took too long!

    Actually, I would like to see how real world numbers would do. The setup I have works pretty well. I almost went with Seagate's hybrid, but steered away from it for various reasons.

    I am not sure why anyone buys Velociraptors as their price is not really worth it. A Seagate 1/2TB HDD (the 1TB platter ones) already push almost 200MB/s + and the IOPS on Velociraptors is still low.

    When I worked at a PC shop we had a customer buy our top end build only to take out the 120GB Samsung 840 and replace it with a 640GB Velociraptor then had us install Windows on the 1TB WD Blue and he put FSX on the VR.

    This is the first thing WD has done for a while I would be interested in design wise. Their Blacks are no longer the fastest 7200RPM drive and only their REs have any real world use as their Greens and Blues are not supposed to be put in RAID of any kind.
    Reply