Western Digital's Caviar SE16 hard drive

— 12:00 AM on June 30, 2005

300MB PER SECOND Serial ATA transfer rates are all the rage these days. Cutting-edge core logic like Intel's ICH7 south bridge chips and NVIDIA's nForce4 family support the faster I/O interface, and hard drives are beginning to follow suit—not that a faster interface is really needed. Even 15K-RPM SCSI drives struggle to sustain transfer rates that would saturate a 150MB/s Serial ATA pipe.

Western Digital's Caviar SE16 is the latest hard drive to jump on the 300MB/s bandwagon, and fortunately, this Caviar is sporting more than just support for a faster Serial ATA interface. The drive also features a beefy 16MB cache and a stealthy all-black aesthetic that's unlike any other hard drive on the market. Curiously, though, Western Digital has elected not to support Native Command Queuing (NCQ) on its latest high-performance desktop drive. Will that decision hurt the new Caviar's chances against the latest NCQ-equipped Serial ATA drives from Hitachi, Maxtor, and Seagate? Let's find out.

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