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Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB Review


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#1 Brian

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 12:30 PM

If you are the kind of user who wants it all - performance, low power consumption, and copious storage capacity - in a single desktop drive, pay attention. Whether you're shopping for storage to fill up a home media server or you're just looking to max out the capacity of your current desktop, the latest high-capacity, low-power drives - like the 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green up for review today - make a lot of sense for the kinds of computing most of us do.

Full Review

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#2 Mkruer

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:49 PM

Performance wise going from a WD 640GB Blue to the WD 2TB Green, I have not noticed much difference other then when windows 7 pre scans the directory. Then the drive seems a little slower, but nothing major.
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#3 Mickey

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:51 PM

Just a nitpick: Intellipower does not feature variable speed spindle motors. The line, as a whole, has different (and fixed) spin speeds depending on the product. Any particular product does not vary its speed based on usage. This was a confusing point when Intellipower was first released and since has been clarified.

#4 Brian

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 06:41 PM

Good point Mickey, I'll clarify with an edit.

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#5 Spod

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 06:50 AM

Advanced Format:
"Windows users (including WHS users) from Vista forward should have no trouble,"
Followed by
"...you'll have to be even more creative in patching together a workable solution if you happen to use Windows Home Server 2003. We tested hits particular drive..."

So is WHS fine, or troublesome? Did you mean Windows Server 2003 in the second quote? And "hits" should read "this" in the second quote.

Is Advanced Format still an issue with older OSes if the drive's in a RAID array?

"Not that optimal performance on the 2TB Caviar Green is only observed when the tests are aligned for 4K read and writes." Should read "note".

What about acoustics? With many of these 2 TB, slower spinning, lower power, quieter running drives headed for HTPC and similar usage, what can you say about noise levels? I know you have future plans around noise testing, but the review's not complete without some comment.
Even just something like "full acoustic analysis of these drives will follow in a later article, but subjectively, all were equally quiet during idle, drive X was a tad noisier when seeking, but drive y produced more vibration than the other two. All were significantly quieter than 7200 RPM 2TB units"... or whatever.

Still, a good review, and I'd be interested to know why the Samsung uses so much less power at startup (though of course that's not likely to be a major issue for most people).
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#6 TSullivan

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 12:12 PM

The alignment tool would be needed with WHS 2k3 it appears although we didn't have a system to fully test on hand. Even Windows 7 threw of for a loop with some of the WD advanced format drives. During the 750GB Scorpio Blue review we had a problem where deleting the partition inside the Win 7 OS and creating a new one, it would show up unaligned and need to be corrected by the application. Switching from a MBR to GPT back to MBR partition style corrected it though. Linux has been one the only operating systems that has worked without fail time in and time out with these new drives. They are instantly recognized and fdisk will automatically pad the partition so it lines up on the correct sector borders. Windows it seems to work 80% of the time.

In regards to the RAID setup, from our testing with the LSI 9260 RAID card the OS still has to support sending 4k aligned packets to the drive to get optimal performance. If you are sending unaligned requests the performance will still be very poor. You see this same effect with some SSDs but at their insane speeds a small blip still has the drive vastly outperforming normal hard disks.

Noise has so far not been a problem with the green drives. Unlike a 7200RPM drive you generally cant even hear when these drives start up. You can tell when you are working obviously by picking it up and feeling the gyroscopic forces at work, but these things really are silent. Accessing the drive they are still pretty quiet, although not in the realm of a 2.5" notebook drive just yet.

Power on the Samsung has a simple answer right now for startup. The 12v value got a 1 chopped off in the chart making progress. We are rendering a new chart now. As a result it is still the lowest on the list, but not by such a huge amount.

Sorry about the errors, sometimes these things slip past the best of us. :o This review someone seems to have skipped their coffee in the morning while editing.

#7 kittle

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:20 PM

Thanks for the updates and such.
did you guys take any temprature measurements during the review? Thats always something I look for, but its getting harder to find.

#8 Brian

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 08:33 PM

Honestly, we haven't quite found a standard that we like for temps. We are considering ways to recreate the exact internal and external scenarios for every drive.

What temps are most important to you? Max, idle, ???

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#9 [ETA]MrSpadge

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 02:19 PM

Measuring temperature is really different, that's probably why it's not done very often.Well, it's easy to get some number, but comparing drives is difficult. You can't compare values from the internal sensor, because they can be mounted at any position. And the HDD case temperature can be distributed in different ways for different drives, depending on internal component choice and placement.

IMO power consumption is a better indicator, since ultimately all the consumed power ends up as heat in your case. It doesn't matter much how it gets there, as 7200 rpm drives aren't very hot these days anyway (mid 40C - absolutely fine).

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#10 Brian

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 03:59 PM

Right...that's the argument against temp readings, but I still think they have some value if there's a reliable way to get them. At least our power data is sound and repeatable.

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#11 spammeister

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 11:31 AM

Picking the same spot on all hard drives and taping a thermistor on it and taking a baseline reading and after it's gone through it's test and taking the max temperatue could be the easiest (and comparable and reproducable) way to show temps. Or if someone has money, a thermal imaging camera, cuz those pictures are always neato :P

Taking "at time of publishing" from newegg (or whoever) prices and comparing them could also be another factor.
110$ for Seagate, 120$ for WD, 130$ for Samsung.

I'm slightly biased as I have 5 of the 2TB beasties running on an XP media box, they replaced 5 of the old 1TB drives.

#12 jedH

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:14 AM

Hi,

First-up my apologies for coming to the debate very late on this drive!
Just curious, judging by the reviews conclusions, this drive is now bested by others in overall performance & power management.
What would those drives or drive be, and is this gap likely to close with subsequent fw updates for the WD20EARS?

Thanks!
Jed

#13 jedH

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:13 AM

...

Edited by jedH, 03 August 2010 - 07:57 AM.

#14 jedH

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 07:58 AM

Anyone? Can I get a response please? Thanks.

I haven't had time to read this thread or two other leads I've found, but I will v.soon.
No guarantee they'll make things any clearer for me though.

#15 Brian

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 09:56 AM

I'm not sure I get what you're asking.

this drive is now bested by others in overall performance & power management


The Seagate LP is really the best power usage performer. What else are you wanting to know?

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#16 jedH

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 10:03 AM

Thanks I'm reading more on all this now...
I'm referring to this statement in the conclusion:

The wow factor associated with some of these innovations, however, is mitigated in part by the drive's generally average performance - in terms of both speed and power consumption - compared to other competitors in this space. All in all, the Caviar Green was rarely at the bottom of our performance rankings, but we expected a few more top finishes from this long-time leader in eco-friendly storage.

So which 7.2k 2TB drive has the best overall performance & power management?
I guess I'm most interested in PM, as it's main function will be as a storage volume.
Although I may also use it as a scratch-disk of sorts on occasion.

Thanks again, night.
P.S.
this is the -00MVWB0 (3x 667GB platters) you've reviewed right?

Edited by jedH, 03 August 2010 - 10:38 AM.

#17 Brian

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:43 AM

You need to decide if you want performance or power management, you can't have both. However, the green market just got an update today from Samsung. While I prefer the Seagate LP right now in the green space, this new F4EG might change my mind.

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#18 jedH

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:59 AM

I think that won't be available in NA till Sept though right, which means prolly a bit later in Australia!?

Actually I think I'd prefer to determine the best performing green drive, so long as PM's still decent.
I can't tell from that review whether you guys reviewed WD20EARS-00MVWB0...
If you did, considering it's very new, isn't it possible that subsequent FW updates will improve it's performance?

Definitely good-night this time, thanks!

Edited by jedH, 03 August 2010 - 07:08 PM.

#19 Brian

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 12:26 PM

We reviewed the EARS, I'm not sure of the batch, etc.

As to firmware updates, those are very rare with hard drives. As to performance, even if the EARS falls behind in some areas, they're really all going to perform about the same. For the green line it's power consumption that's the big deal.

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#20 jedH

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 07:10 PM

Did you review an EARS with 3x 667GB platters instead of 4x 500GB?
Which of the green drives performs best overall IYE? Thank-you.

Edited by jedH, 03 August 2010 - 07:17 PM.

#21 jedH

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:05 PM

Are they actual shots of the drive you tested?
Or just images you pulled from elsewhere?

Edited by jedH, 03 August 2010 - 11:05 PM.

#22 Brian

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:09 AM

Shots other than what we included in the review?

Here's the end of the model number of one of our 2TB greens - 00S8B1

Made - April 19, 2010

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#23 jedH

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:12 AM

...

Edited by jedH, 04 August 2010 - 09:54 PM.

#24 jedH

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:54 PM

Damn, would've been interesting if you had the -00MVWB0 (667GB 3-platter).
I suspect all-round performance & power draw would've been slightly better.

Oh well, thanks for confirming....
Has anyone come across any thorough English reviews/discussions that compare the WD20EARS-00MVWB0 with other 2TB "green" makes/models?

I'm finding that there's a real lack of comparative data...
There's heaps of Japanese & German reviews/discussions, but gtranslate sux, & most of them focus only on figures for the one drive.

http://translate.goo...:en-US:official
http://translate.goo...wyGydz_KcaiGnVA
http://translate.goo...:en-US:official
http://translate.goo...:en-US:official
http://translate.goo...AQ#post14814629
http://translate.goo...:en-US:official
http://translate.goo...:en-US:official
http://translate.goo...:en-US:official

http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16822136514

Night.

#25 balrob

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 01:00 AM

Thanks for the review - it has been helpful.

However, you seem to be somewhat confused about the nature of the current generation of Advanced Format drives.

Firstly, they are 4k sectors internally - but externally they expose exactly the same 512 byte SATA interface as non-Advanced Format drives. i.e. they do not need drivers and there is no special support for them in Vista, Win 7, OS X or Linux. The reason that these OS's work so well with AF drives is because they naturally align their partitions on 4k boundaries - and this means that their clusters line up with the internal sectors. e.g Vista and Win 7 partitions start on the 1MB boundary.

Windows XP, by comparison, creates it's first partition at sector 63 - which is not a 4k boundary (it's out by 1), and therefore as it reads a cluster from the disk (using multiple 512-byte sector reads) the disk has to read 2 sectors from the disk since the cluster spans 2 sectors - and this is the only drawback with AF drives - a performance penalty when using unaligned partitions. To fix this, the WD Align tool shifts XP partitions to a 4k boundary - easy. Alternatively, you can use a jumper on pins 7 & 8 on the drive which offsets of the sector numbers by 1 (so that when you read sector 1 you are really getting sector 2 - and the real sector 0 is unaddressable) - and this has the effect of putting "sector 63" at sector 64 and therefore aligns XP partitions.

The WD Align tool does not provide "512-byte emulation" as claimed and there are other ways to achieve alignment on a 4k boundary. One example is when moving your existing XP partition to an AF drive using Symantec Ghost, use the "-align=1mb" command line switch when restoring the image and Ghost will align the partition for you.

So I am not really sure what the review tells us when it is comparing the WD20EARS non-4k - it's not useful data, as you have to go out of your way to make it perform badly, and the performance hit would apply to any AF drive when used with non-aligned partitions.



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