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Test notes and methods
We've assembled a small collection of competitors to square off against the Caviar Black 2TB. The Barracuda 7200.12 and Caviar Black 1TB are the most direct rivals (at least until the Barracuda XT arrives), but we've also included low-power Barracuda LP and Caviar Green models that match the new Black's two-terabyte capacity.

Numerous factors affect hard drive performance, including spindle speed, areal density, cache size, and even total capacity. We've summed up the key specifications for each of the drives tested in a handy chart below.

Spindle speed Areal density Platter size Max host transfer rate Cache size Total capacity
Barracuda 7200.12 7,200 RPM 341.5 Gb/in² 500GB 300MB/s 32MB 1TB
Barracuda LP 5,900 RPM 341.5 Gb/in² 500GB 300MB/s 32MB 2TB
Caviar Black 1TB 7,200 RPM 235 Gb/in² 334GB 300MB/s 32MB 1TB
Caviar Black 2TB 7,200 RPM 400 Gb/in² 500GB 300MB/s 64MB 2TB
Caviar Green ~5,400 RPM 400 Gb/in² 500GB 300MB/s 32MB 2TB

Despite the fact that Seagate and Western Digital both have 500GB platters, WD's disks have a higher areal density. The Caviar Black 2TB is also the only one in the bunch sporting a 64MB cache.

We're using the same test system as in our Vista SSD round-up, so the results from that article are directly comparable to the scores on the following pages, if you'd like an idea of how the Caviar Black stacks up against the latest solid-state drives. We have a Windows 7-based storage test platform under construction, and you can expects the fruits of that effort soon.

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz
System bus 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard Gigabyte EP45-DS3R
Bios revision F10
North bridge Intel P45 Express
South bridge Intel ICH10R
Chipset drivers Chipset
Memory size 4GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Edition at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL) 5
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 4
RAS precharge (tRP) 4
Cycle time (tRAS) 15
Audio Realtek ALC889A with 2.24 drivers
Graphics Gigabyte GeForce 8600 GT 256MB with ForceWare 185.85 drivers
Hard drives Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB
Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB
Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB
OS Windows Vista Ultimate x64
OS updates Service Pack 2

Our test system was powered by an OCZ GameXStream power supply unit.

With the exception of our power consumption and noise levels, all tests were run at least three times, with the results averaged. We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.