Today Western Digital announces a 750GB addition to its Caviar SE16 line of desktop hard drives. The new WD7500AAKS uses perpendicular recording technology to cram 188GB onto each of the drive's four platters, giving it an areal density similar to Seagate's 750GB Barracuda 7200.10. As one might expect, the new Caviar is equipped with a 300MB/s Serial ATA interface, support for Native Command Queuing, and a 16MB cache. Drives will be available starting today through Western Digital's online store for $249, and should start popping up at other online retailers, as well.
Along with additional capacity, the Caviar SE16 750GB incorporates a number subtle enhancements to improve drive reliability and reduce power consumption. The most interesting of these is IntelliSeek, which adopts a just-in-time approach to actuator movement. Hard drive actuators normally move as quickly as possible to the next data point, regardless of when that point is actually in a position to be accessed. This creates unnecessary vibration and consumes additional power, which IntelliSeek reduces by taking advantage of rotational latency and only moving the actuator as fast as is necessary to get it into position for the next data point. Western Digital insists IntelliSeek doesn't slow drive performance, and they've put together a handy illustration of how it works here.
Western Digital is also rolling out what it calls a StableTrack motor in the new Caviar. This motor is apparently more vibration-resistant than previous models, and it's been designed to preserve performance when drives are subjected to vibration generated by speakers placed too close to a system. The 750GB Caviar also raids WD's mobility group for a SecurePark head parking mechanism that moves the heads off the disk during spin up and spin down to reduce the creation of microparticles that can damage the drive.
Like other Western Digital desktop drives, the 750GB Caviar SE16 will be covered by a three-year warranty. Don't fret, though; an RE version of this drive aimed at enterprise environments is on the way, and that model should carry five years of coverage. Western Digital has no plans to bring five-year warranties to its desktop drives, in part because of the added overhead and bookkeeping associated with longer warranties. WD says the additional cost isn't worth it given the fact that bare drives make up such a small share of the market, adding that its drives have very low failure rates between years three and five. The fact that bare drive sales make up a small slice of the market also helps explain why we haven't seen an update to the 10K-RPM Raptor. WD claims most Raptors go into server and workstation systems built by PC makers who have qualified the drive and don't want it changed.
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