Western Digital’s Caviar Black 2TB hard drive

Manufacturer Western Digital
Model Caviar Black 2TB
Price (Street)
Availability Now

The progression of the mechanical hard drive market is fueled not by ever-increasing spindle speeds, but by the availability of higher-density platters. Cramming more bytes onto each physical disk obviously enables greater storage capacities. At the same time, it also facilitates improved performance by allowing the drive head to access more data over shorter physical distances.

Conveniently, at least for comparative purposes, drive makers have settled on similar per-platter capacities over the last few generations. Sure, actual areal densities have varied a little, and each manufacturer has moved up the platter ladder at its own pace, but they’ve largely hit the same rungs. For example, Seagate and Western Digital both had drives with 125, 188, and 250GB platters. They went their separate ways through the 300s, with WD offering 320 and then 334GB while Seagate jumped all the way up to 375GB. However, it looks like the two are in agreement on the next battleground: 500GB.

Western Digital was the first to squeeze 500GB onto a single disk with the Caviar Green 2TB. Of course, the Green is one of those hippie low-power drives that’s most comfortable sitting quietly in the corner, its reflexes hindered by a slower spindle speed and probably more than a few bong hits. That’s just what you want for a closet file server, external enclosure, or home theater PC, but it’s not really fast enough for a performance-oriented desktop.

Seagate’s Barracuda 7200.12 cranked 500GB platters up to a full 7,200 RPM. However, the ‘cuda was only available with up to two platters, capping the total capacity at just one terabyte. The 7200.12 wasn’t the performance revelation many had hoped, either. Comparatively lethargic access times ultimately held back the drive’s performance under more strenuous loads.

Now, it’s Western Digital’s turn to show what it can do with 500GB platters at 7,200 RPM. The company has brought four of those platters to the table in the latest Caviar Black 2TB.

The Black started shipping back in September, and it’s been in and out of stock at online retailers since. As I write this, Tiger Direct does have drives in stock, although it’s only one of a few e-tailers that do. Still, that’s more than can be said for Seagate’s 500GB/platter Barracuda XT 2TB, which was announced last month, but still isn’t available for purchase.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this latest Caviar Black was in high demand. After all, its predecessor, the Caviar Black 1TB, has reigned as the fastest all-around 7,200-RPM hard drive for quite some time now. The terabyte model’s platters have only 334GB each, so the new Black represents a substantial 50% jump in per-platter capacity. And there’s been an even more impressive boost in areal density. WD’s 334GB platters shoehorn 235 gigabits into every square inch, while the new ones boast an areal density of 400 GB/in²—an increase of 70%. Obviously, the potential performance implications of such a leap are quite exciting.

Maximum external transfer rate 300MB/s
Maximum sustained data rate 138MB/s
Average rotational latency 4.2 ms
Spindle speed 7,200 RPM

Cache size
Platter size 500GB
Areal density 400 Gb/in²
Available capacities 2TB
Idle power 8.2W
Read/write power 10.7W
Idle acoustics 29 dBA
Seek acoustics 30-34 dBA
Warranty length Five years

Speaking of performance expectations, the 1TB Caviar Black is rated for a maximum sustained transfer rate of 106MB/s. The 2TB model’s theoretical sustained peak is 138MB/s, which works out to a 30% advantage, but isn’t anywhere close to the sort of linear increase one might expect. The fact is that data get a lot harder to access when you make them smaller, pack them tighter, and then have them rotate at close to an effective 120 km/h.

To help the new Black hit these smaller moving targets, WD equips the drive with a trick dual-stage actuator mechanism. The first stage uses a traditional actuator that, according to Western Digital, gets you into the right zip code. Stage two uses a piezoelectric motor to drive a second actuator that provides 500 nm of fine-tuning precision, taking the drive head down to the right house. 500 nanometers works out to about five tracks, and any so-called “short” seeks within that range can use the piezoelectric actuator without needing to hit the main one.

The piezoelectric-powered actuator is apparently too small to photograph easily (not to mention sealed within a casing I’m not inclined to tear apart just yet), but it’s illustrated in the diagram below. Circled in yellow is the main actuator, with the secondary stage highlighted in blue.

Source: Western Digital

The piezoelectric actuator is more energy-efficient than the main arm, but because it adds a second motor to the drive, Western Digital says that overall power consumption is probably slightly higher than it would have been with a single-stage design. However, the company also claims this dual-stage approach is faster. For a drive like the Caviar Black, marginally higher power draw is a small price to pay for improved performance.

Western Digital tops off this latest Caviar with 64MB of cache memory, double what’s available on other models in the line. The lower capacity points in the Caviar Black line haven’t been upgraded to the denser platters just yet, either. That migration will happen over time, although it looks like model numbers won’t change, making it difficult for end users tell which drives use which platters. At least with the 2TB drive, you know what you’re getting.

Because the 2TB derivative stacks four platters, Western Digital outfits it with a StableTrac motor that secures the drive shaft at both ends rather than just one. The Black also inherits NoTouch ramp load tech, which moves the drive head right off the disk at idle rather than letting it rest on the outer, unused portion of the platter.

Like other members of the Caviar Black family, the two-terabyte model comes with five years of warranty coverage. Three-year warranties are typical for desktop hard drives, with five years generally reserved for high-end and enterprise-oriented offerings.

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
300MB/s 64MB

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.


Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz
System bus 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)

Gigabyte EP45-DS3R
Bios revision F10
North bridge
P45 Express
South bridge Intel ICH10R
Chipset drivers
Memory size 4GB
(2 DIMMs)
Memory type

OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Edition
at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL)
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 4
RAS precharge (tRP) 4
Cycle time (tRAS) 15


Realtek ALC889A with 2.24 drivers

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

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 1280×1024 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.

WorldBench uses scripting to step through a series of tasks in common Windows applications. It then produces an overall score. WorldBench also spits out individual results for its component application tests, allowing us to compare performance in each. We’ll look at the overall score, and then we’ll show individual application results.

Just four points separate the fastest drive from the slowest in WorldBench, with the Caviar Black 2TB sharing the lead with Seagate’s Barracuda 7200.12.

Among WorldBench’s multimedia editing and encoding tests, only Photoshop performance really seems to be affected by our choice of hard drive. The two-terabyte Black takes the lead in that test, followed closely by its predecessor and then a Caviar Green.

Scores are very close through WorldBench’s office and multitasking tests.

In the Nero test, the Caviar Black 2TB pulls up a little short of the 7200.12. The new Black is faster than the old model, though.

Boot and load times
To test system boot and game level load times, we busted out our trusty stopwatch.

The Caviar Black comes out on top in two of three load time tests, but its margins of victory doesn’t amount to more than a second. Call of Duty load times are virtually identical across the board.

File Copy Test
File Copy Test is a pseudo-real-world benchmark that times how long it takes to create, read, and copy files in various test patterns. We’ve converted those completion times to MB/s to make the results easier to interpret.

Vista’s intelligent caching schemes make obtaining consistent and repeatable performance results rather difficult with FC-Test. To get reliable results, we had to drop back to an older 0.3 revision of the application and create or own custom test patterns. During our initial testing, we noticed that larger test patterns tended to generate more consistent file creation, read, and copy times. That makes sense, because with 4GB of system memory, our test rig has plenty of free RAM available to be filled by Vista’s caching and pre-fetching mojo.

For our tests, we created custom MP3, video, and program files test patterns weighing in at roughly 10GB each. The MP3 test pattern was created from a chunk of my own archive of ultra-high-quality MP3s, while the video test pattern was built from a mix of video files ranging from 360MB to 1.4GB in size. The program files test pattern was derived from, you guessed it, the contents of our test system’s Program Files directory.

Even with these changes, we noticed obviously erroneous results pop up every so often. Additional test runs were performed to replace those scores.

Given its spindle speed and per-platter capacity, one would expect the Caviar Black to do well here—and it does. WD’s latest two-terabyte offering registers the highest transfer rates across all three test patterns. However, it’s not that far ahead of the 5,900-RPM Barracuda LP, which trumps the Barracuda 7200.12 despite having a sizable spindle speed disadvantage.

The 7200.12 bounces back when we turn our attention to read performance, but it’s not quick enough to catch the Caviar Black. Note the dramatic improvement in performance going from the old 1TB Black to the new model.

With the Caviar Black 2TB dominating the file creation and read tests, it’s no surprise that the WD drive offers the quickest file copy performance, as well. The 7200.12 comes close with our video test pattern, which is made up of a small number of extremely large files, but the Western Digital drive has a bigger lead with the other test patterns.

IOMeter presents a good test case for both seek times and command queuing.

The Caviar Blacks thoroughly outclass their rivals in IOMeter, and the latest 2TB flavor offers a healthy performance boost over the old terabyte model. Three of our four IOMeter test patterns include a mix of read and write operations, but the web server pattern is made up exclusively of reads. The Blacks don’t have quite as big of a lead with the web server pattern, especially at heavier load levels, suggesting that strong random-write performance deserves much of the credit for their domination here.

Our peak load of 256 concurrent I/O requests is well outside the norm for PC desktops, but it’s not unreasonable for multi-user or enterprise environments. Hard drive makers often repurpose desktop drives for those markets, keeping the mechanical internals intact while adding a few RAID-specific features along the way. Western Digital’s RE4 is essentially a Caviar Black dressed up for servers, and these IOMeter results certainly bode well for its ability to handle the demanding multi-user loads presented by enterprise applications.

There’s very little difference in IOMeter CPU utilization between these drives. The substantially higher transaction rates offered by the Caviar Black don’t cost much in the way of CPU cycles.

HD Tach
We tested HD Tach with the benchmark’s full variable zone size setting.

Score another one—or make that two—for the Caviar Black. The 2TB drive trumps the competition yet again, this time with a 10MB/s lead over the Barracuda 7200.12.

In addition to offering double the cache of its predecessor, the 2TB Caviar Black’s embedded memory is a little quicker, bursting 12MB/s faster than the terabyte model. The Seagate drives are a little slower in this test, managing only 215MB/s.

Quick random access times have been a hallmark of the Caviar Black line, and the 2TB variant doesn’t disappoint. Its advantage over the 7200.12 may only amount to 2.3 milliseconds, but that’s a virtual lifetime within the multi-GHz confines of a modern PC.

The Caviar Black 2TB’s CPU utilization looks a little high here, but keep in mind that HD Tach’s margin of error for this test is +/- 2%. With that factored in, the Black doesn’t come out looking all that bad.

Noise levels

Noise levels were measured with a TES-52 Digital Sound Level meter 1″ from the side of the drives at idle and under an HD Tach seek load. Drives were run with the PCB facing up.

The terabyte Caviar Black has always been a little on the loud side, and this new 2TB model is no different. Generally speaking, the more platters a drive has, the louder it is, making the four-platter 2TB drive’s higher noise levels no surprise. The Barracuda 7200.12 is so quiet at least in part because it only has two platters. What about the four-platter Barracuda LP and Caviar Green? They’re low-power drives with slower spindle speeds—a perfect recipe for lower noise levels.

Power consumption
For our power consumption tests, we measured the voltage drop across a 0.1-ohm resistor placed in line with the 5V and 12V lines connected to each drive. We were able to calculate the power draw from each voltage rail and add them together for the total power draw of the drive. Drives were tested while idling and under an IOMeter load consisting of 256 outstanding I/O requests using the workstation access pattern.

Drives with fewer platters also tend to consume less power than those with more, which is why we see the 7200.12 hanging with low-power drives like the Caviar Green and ‘cuda LP in our power consumption tests. The Caviar Black 2TB consumes at most a couple more watts than the terabyte drive, which actually translates to fewer watts per gigabyte.


The Caviar Black line has been a favorite of ours for quite a while now. Some hard drives tend to perform exceptionally well in one or two tasks but comparatively poorly in others. The Blacks have traditionally offered excellent performance in a wide range of applications, from straight-line sequential transfers to real-world file operations to highly-randomized access patterns. They’re jacks of all trades, and better yet, masters of many. This latest Caviar Black 2TB is no different. In fact, it’s the fastest 7,200-RPM hard drive we’ve ever tested—not just in one or two benchmarks, but pretty much across the board.

While the new Black’s performance credentials are beyond reproach, the drive does have an obvious weakness: relatively high noise levels, especially when seeking. This characteristic doesn’t come as a surprise given the comparatively high noise levels of the original terabyte Black, which has one fewer platter than this new model. Still, it’s a concern for anyone looking to put together a quiet desktop, especially given Windows’ propensity to perform seek-heavy indexing and optimization in the background.

There’s also the matter of the Caviar Black 2TB’s rather expensive $300 asking price. Price premiums are par for the course with flagship products, though, and this is the only two-terabyte drive you can actually buy today that spins 500GB platters at 7,200 RPM.

Of course, it may not be for long. Seagate has already announced a 7,200-RPM Barracuda XT that pairs a faster 600MB/s Serial ATA interface with four 500GB platters. The Caviar Black 2TB may wear the 7,200-RPM performance crown for now, but there’s already a challenger to the throne waiting in the wings—and in our labs.

If you need to buy a high-performance 2TB drive today, the Caviar Black is obviously the one to get. It’s your only option, after all. However, I can’t wholeheartedly endorse the drive without first seeing how Seagate’s latest stacks up in comparison, which is my next project. One thing is certain, though: the Barracuda XT is going to have to be a huge improvement over the 7200.12 to upset the Caviar Black’s reign.

Comments closed
    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    Indeed, something is certainly wrong there. I have not had a drive failure in years – probably 6 years now. During that time I have used WD and Seagate. At work, same story, no drive failures for the last 4 years on 35 or so computers using a mix of Seagate, Hitachi, and Samsung. I just never see drive failures anymore. So this guy has something causing this if he has experienced more than two failures in just one or two years (unless he is managing a hundred disks at a time). Is this all in the same computer, I wonder?

    • Dissonance
    • 13 years ago

    The Caviar Black and Barracuda XT both support NCQ, as does just about any recent SATA drive. TLER and read-ahead fast-forward features have typically been restricted to enterprise-class fare, though.

    • beq
    • 13 years ago

    – Hitachi 2TB Deskstar 7K2000 HDD with 3yr warranty, 32MB cache, 5 platters
    §[<http://www.hitachigst.com/portal/site/en/products/deskstar/7K2000/<]§ - WD 2TB Caviar Black desktop HDD with 5yr warranty, 64MB cache §[<http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=733<]§ - WD 2TB RE4 enterprise drive with 5yr waranty, 64MB cache, 1.2M-hour MTBF, NCQ, time limited error recovery (TLER for RAID) §[<http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=732<]§ - Seagate 2TB Barracuda XT HDD with 5yr warranty, 64MB cache, 750K-hour MTBF, SATA 6G §[<http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/desktops/barracuda_hard_drives/barracuda_xt<]§ BTW has Seagate announced a 2TB drive for enterprise (with 1.2M-hour or longer MTBF)?

    • beq
    • 13 years ago

    I was considering the 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black for RAID NAS use, since it has the same 5yr warranty as the recently-announced 2TB Western Digital RE4 enterprise drive (*not* to be confused with the slower 2TB RE4-GP model).

    But it seems that unlike the 2TB RE4, the 2TB Caviar Black doesn’t support some features useful for RAID or server use, such as NCQ and TLER (Time Limited Error Recovery). I don’t know how expensive the 2TB RE4 will be though?

    I would expect the 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT to also have NCQ (not sure about TLER)…

    • nerdrage
    • 13 years ago

    lol, that’s my thread at SPCR (I’m Dave)

    • Kaleid
    • 13 years ago

    I usually have trouble with harddrives with over 2 platters. So I never purchase harddrives with more than 2.

    • coyote
    • 13 years ago

    unfortunately compared to speed testing, it’s not as easy to find out what a hdd’s failure rate will be. next to waiting until it’s been in use for years, AFAIK the best way is to compare relatively similar hardware by the same manufacturer. (I wish storagereview’s database wasn’t so out of date.)

    but all hdd’s will fail; even the one’s with the best failure stats aren’t so safe that a wise person doesn’t make sure that whatever is on there is backed up. which means it’s really just a matter of how soon one needs to experience the delay of replacing the brick, and whether doing so is within the warranty and thus free.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    That’s a whole lot of failures, it almost makes me think there’s something else going on like your PSU being wonky. Do you use a good surge protector too?

    • Al Slitter
    • 13 years ago

    Am I the only person who is more concerned about reliability of hard drives?
    Price and performance do not mean much when drives are away getting replaced. I purchased several Seagate drives and they all have been replaced at least one in the past six months. Moved to Western Digital and within three months they failed. It is time to get things together and make drives that stay working!

    • Freon
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah heard about that the other day. *grumpyface*

    • Freon
    • 13 years ago

    Think of two 1TB drives vs. one 2TB drive in terms of watts/GB. Even if the 2TB drive takes 7 watts where a 1TB takes 6 watts, the 2TB drive is more power efficient for the capacity.

    • TheBob!
    • 13 years ago

    Thank you for actually comparing this to the 1GB Western Digital Black. I have that drive and really wanna get this one, but no one compared them in reviews. It seems only logical that more people have my drive that would want the 2TB version.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    What, are you another maths-deficient reader?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    I’ve been using Vista since SP1. I said it’s funny that I don’t mind HD seeks, I do always soft mount HDs in some way but it doesn’t hide the seeks completely.

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    You’re still on Win XP? Vista makes even quiet seeking drives a little annoying, with the insane amount of hard drive activity that it engages in. Don’t know how Windows 7 does with that.

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    Seriously, I’d like to see an even older drive included. Something with a 160 GB or 250 GB capacity. Those are in a TON of machines, and that would give a real indication of what an upgrade is worth. Just another two cents on the pile of pennies.

    • Generic
    • 13 years ago

    I’m sorry, but “watts per gigabyte”??

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    It’s funny because even though I’m a ‘quiet computer’ guy now I don’t mind and in fact sort of like hearing HD seeks…go figure.

    • Drifter639
    • 13 years ago

    I bought the 1T version of this drive as a boot drive. It was so noisy in seek that I could not live with it. I replaced it with an Intel SSD which is of course silent and very fast.

    Just as phez says, it has ended up as a storage drive along with a 1.5T Green which is silent and almost as fast. Better drive really.

    Listening to the seek on the Black was nostalgic. Took me back a few years when the racket was acceptable.

    Cheers all!

    • squeezee
    • 13 years ago

    Also with smaller SSDs you may want a larger ‘fast’ apps/data drive as well.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 13 years ago

    Are there any comparisons between this and the 640GB drive?


    Nevermind, found one:

    §[<http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=55014<]§ (scroll down near the bottom of the thread for links, ignore the HDtach images in the middle, they use the wrong drive)

    • nerdrage
    • 13 years ago

    There is a 500GB single-platter Caviar Blue available now.
    §[<http://yertech.blogspot.com/2009/08/single-platter-wd-caviar-blue.html<]§ Not sure about 1TB drives though.

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    You make good points, in my opinion, but it has to be impossible to please everyone. I do tend to think a WD 640 should be in any hard drive benchmark for the next year or so. I agree with you about the GTS 250 not being as important as the 9800 GT, until you factor that someone out there might want to see the GTS 250 since it is a “current” product, and I’d also argue that the 9800 GTX is more important than the 9800 GT – which all gets back to the fact that no matter what component gets picked, it’s impossible to please everyone.

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    Well, I imagine there are two types out there that would be interested in this drive: those who want the fastest drive and those who need the biggest drive. I figure that most people in the first category could be interested in seeing the fasted mechanical drive pitted against a SSD. I dunno.

    • ew
    • 13 years ago

    It would have been fun to see how an SSD compares but nobody who needs a drive this big is considering SSDs as an alternative unless they just won the lottery. I would like to always see the fastest mechanical hard drive mixed in with SSD benchmarks though. That would give you some real perspective on whether or not they are worth the premium.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago


    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    That’s the price of playing bleeding edge.

    • bwoodring
    • 13 years ago

    You’re assuming a “fast” OS/Apps drive and a “Slow” storage drive. This is a really common setup (I run something similar myself), but this drive would be tempting to use as the only HDD in a computer.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 13 years ago

    Any idea if WD is going to do a re-release of their 500GB and/or 1TB hard drives using the 500GB platters? Or has this already been done?

    • CampinCarl
    • 13 years ago

    Probably because they’d have to pay someone to implement it. I’m not privy to their conversations so I can’t say why this hasn’t been implemented yet. Their data is probably all recorded in spreadsheets (and probably in a standardized format) so the implementer(s) could even write a chunk of code to zip through all the spreadsheets and grab all the data to put it into the database (using the Apache POI or rolling their own).

    • sigher
    • 13 years ago

    I also think a samsung should be in the comparison list since it’s a very popular drive because it’s cheap and available but still pretty good and a serious contender.

    As for SSD, well let’s be realistic, HD’s are no match for SSD and it’s apples vs oranges.

    • Welch
    • 13 years ago

    Chalk up another for the database idea. I love the level of detail you guys put into your reviews, but what is the point of you doing all of that work if it ends up becoming lost somewhere on the sight where you have to search for it and pick the article apart. Sure your older testing rig will not provide perfectly scientific/comparable results. It does however provide your readers a point of reference.

    Its not to say that I agree with the original poster, I do not… If you have enough knowledge to understand this article, chances are you know how previous drives have performed and can see “Ohhh I remember that previous drives from 1…2….3 years ago only had 80mb/s sustainable bandwidth… these are well above 100!” At that point, you know its better than your old drive.

    Thanks for the review, very informing… Again the Database idea would be amazing, dont let all of the awesome benchmarking and tests you guys do be lost after a few months where it has to be searched for. A video card database would be great too 😀

    • Delphis
    • 13 years ago

    I was thinking the same thing. I don’t know why on a standard testing rig for hard drives you wouldn’t just have the results of tests (as they’re reviewed) in a database and could then pull of historical views/charts very easily, or even make it searchable by us end-users. The testing rig wouldn’t need to change much at all for a long time.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 13 years ago

    That is faster than my 80 GB 10K WD… On average, I get around 20mb. But that is going from the 80 to a 160 7200 rpm one. So, really, I think your setup is not too bad. Unless you are transferring 1000 GB at a time, well…

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 13 years ago

    They did test it with a SSD, all the results are off the charts. Seriously!

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 13 years ago

    Cuz I don’t have one! The key word being “I”.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 13 years ago

    Yea, you have the result of a 80 GB WD drive that I can compare with? Really, I don’t much care. Yea, the numbers are nice, but we have the awesome ability to think, so I’m sure we can come close to making some sort of comparison.

    But the DB idea is nice where people can take the wealth of info that TR has compiled and use it for reference. Get your new IT man to work!

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    I appreciate the work you guys do but surely you realize that extrapolating results is a pita at best. TR has so many benchmark results going back maybe some kind of sortable comparison database that is customizable would be useful. That’s something I would really love to see on TR because while some people will always go for what’s best the majority of people want to know ‘Is it worth changing from what I have right now?’

    • ClickClick5
    • 13 years ago

    …The gap between the old and the new is not /[

    • Dissonance
    • 13 years ago

    I have a stack of platters from old drives I tore up a while ago. The ones in the picture can trace their origins back to a batch of 20GB Maxtors.

    • Dissonance
    • 13 years ago

    I’m not sure what sort of previous generation you’re looking for. The Caviar Black 1TB was released last summer, and as a 3x334GB design, it would seem to fit the bill. Plus, as the 2TB drive’s predecessor, it’s the most logical previous-gen drive to include.

    Time is also a finite resource. At the moment, mine’s better spent on our new Win7 storage testing platform, the Barracuda XT, TRIM-capable SSDs, and the like.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    Thank you for clearing that up.

    But then that begs the question, if the information is already comparable, why not thrown in at least one popular “previous generation,” and other types of drives, to minimize confusion and make the review as effective and concise as possible?

    The way it reads on its own, you really don’t even know whether it’s a fast drive or not, and so you have to go look at the other reviews and try to piece it together. That pretty much defeats the purpose of the review to me.

    I’ve noticed the same thing with graphics cards, like how the latest reviews did not include the 9800GT and 4770. One has been and will continue to be *[

    • Jigar
    • 13 years ago


    • clhensle
    • 13 years ago

    The drive in the pictures (even the one with the platters on it) shows the screw cover stickers still intact. I bet (and hope) they just got 4 junk platters and put them next to the drive for the pictures.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    wow, don’t remember ever seeing a hard drive so thoroughly dominate the competition before (SSDs notwithstanding). It’s a bit loud, but I have a hard time quantifying that kind of HDD noise and comparing it to the 640GB Caviar Blue I have.

    • yehuda
    • 13 years ago

    bit-tech recently reviewed it and they have some good points of reference.


    • Saribro
    • 13 years ago

    Agreed, I, too, would like a point of reference.

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    Thanks for the review. For what it is worth, I think it prudent, at this juncture, to always include a Solid State Drive in the charts.


    • anamericangod
    • 13 years ago

    I would like to see a review for the 1TB F3. There’s a severe lack of reviews from legitimate sites. I don’t to have to rely on a random guy named Sven posting stats on a message board I have to translate with Babelfish.

    • Mourmain
    • 13 years ago

    Well, if it’s not perfectly 0.1 it’s at least stable at whatever value it is. So you can still rely on the accuracy of *[

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    You still can, and you’d end up with 8 TB of space, half of which wouldn’t be slow either. You can store the whole universe on that.

    • Hyperneko
    • 13 years ago

    Great Article, although now I’m having to mull over getting this drive to replace my current system drive (I currently use a lowly Caviar Blue 640GB from an old system). I was set to buy the 1TB Black but with this drive out I’m not so sure anymore. Sigh, back to the drawing board.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    Enormous capacity and good speed, but it’s making a ruckus.

    • phez
    • 13 years ago

    Seeing as the Caviar Green is nearly 80-100mb/s sustained read, I’m not sure why’d you want to opt for the black for a drive that will undoubtedly end up as storage option rather than a performance/OS option.

    • Dissonance
    • 13 years ago


    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    Exposed HD platters = death of data.

    • CampinCarl
    • 13 years ago

    ? Their old test bench was a P4 EE-based system. They have done other tests on their new, Core 2-based system (see SSD reviews), but not many yet so they don’t have the massive backlog of data to compare against. For a while, we’re all going to have to chill wrt that.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah, but it makes all the new drives pointless when you don’t have a common “old” one to compare to. And the ones I mentioned aren’t even old. There are probably thousands of people who visit this site using them.

    • no51
    • 13 years ago

    Not enough space to hold all your HD pr0n?

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Notice that the “frame of reference” is expanding as their testing more hard drives on their new test bed. It would be an invalid frame of reference if they included drives tested on their previous set up.

    • jackaroon
    • 13 years ago

    It’s a shame about the noise. I’m not really their ideal customer anyway, though.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 13 years ago

    I hate to be a complainer, but I’m increasingly noticing that reviews on TR aren’t including very much for a useful frame of reference.

    Where’s an SSD, the Velociraptor, and/or a recent popular drive, like the 640GB WD or 1TB Samsung? That’s not even old stuff.

    Yes, I click on the review and read it, anyways, but I feel like we’re getting too small a part of the picture for it to mean much to most people.

    • coyote
    • 13 years ago

    when all three 2TB 7200rpm drives are shipping, I’d love to see how this (WD Caviar Black) performs compared to the Seagate XT and the (budget) Hitachi. thanks TR!

    • shank15217
    • 13 years ago

    I wonder how much the cache plays in the performance of this drive compared to the 1TB drive.

    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    [looks at picture]
    NO!!!! Not the pr0n!

    • CampinCarl
    • 13 years ago

    Good article as usual, but I have a question–how accurate is that 0.1Ohm resistor? I.e. have you measured it with an accurate ohmmeter to verify the resistance?

    PS I don’t mean to be insulting, I know you guys aren’t dumb, I’m just curious. Very accurate resistors (<0.05%) tend to be very expensive, especially with that low of a value.

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