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WD Black2 SSD/HDD Review Discussion

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#1 Brian

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 08:01 AM

 

The WD Blackdeserves plaudits for its innovative design. Unfortunately outside of fringe use cases, there aren't many applications where this configuration is a perfect fit. The high launch MSRP and the lack of Mac support further limits its potential.

 
WD Black2 SSD/HDD Review

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#2 jtsn

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 08:20 AM

This product is a joke, isn't it? I'm not very convinced by SSHDs already. But this? I can't stop laughing... :D

 

How do you do a backup or bare metal restore on this thing using Linux-based boot media of industry standard disk imaging software? How do you ever upgrade to Windows 9 with this weird proprietary driver installed?

 

BTW: The Mac support is not a big problem. Apple has either fusion drives or gone full solid-state. So they have absolutely no need for such a product. Their PC technology is already beyond of what WD can offer.


#3 Brian

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 10:43 AM

There are a ton of MacBook Pro owners who might enjoy something like this, but yes, you can tell we're not sold on this. Fun idea but we'd be surprised if many people find it compelling enough to buy, especially at this price point.


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#4 Cosmin.Net

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 02:33 PM

one word: COMPLICATED!
i read Anand's comment today. the western digital guys say they asked the customers and they said that they want control over what happens. i say this is false and taken out of context.

cons:
- you see the ssd part and after a windows driver install you see the rest of 1TB... i don't care much about linux and consoles (i'm a windows/android guy) but this extra step makes it complicated and limited.
- you have two drives that you have to be conscious of. for regular folks using one normal drive is complicated as it is.
- both drives are accesed through same port so simultaneos usage will impact performance.
- the ssd controller is at most mediocre
- the price is rather high to consider using this

pros:
- a single physical enclosure and a single port needed
- it's manageable for someone that has a little know-how

what i think makes sense:
- single enclosure
- transparent caching that gets good performance. seagate kinda got it but the amount of cache is too low and the price is too high. i am a geek and still i do not want to mess with two drives to look like one. it's more convenient to have the caching side transparent and not have to have special drivers, configuration, mantainance etc. the extra driver needed does not seem as a big deal but it is. i want the drive to be seen as a single drive and not have to mess with it besides connecting it, partitioning it, using it.
- they drive has to work out of the box. it's ok if i have some control over the caching. don't mind if config is limited or absent. but i has to work out of the box!
- either seagate solution with reasonable amount of cache, at least 32gb, maybe 64 or 128. probably 64gb is the sweetspoot now.
- eiter use a ssd as a cache like intel does. maybe microsoft will implement this so we could use one/several ssd(s) as cache for one/many mechanical drives. using one ssd as cache for one/many disks would be good enough.
- we have to have write caching also! reading is done usually once and windows does a good job caching reads. caching the writes is done too conservative in some scenarios.
- great price per gb of space usable. seagate made some good steps but not enough.
- wd solution simply is niche and needlesly complicated and limited, making it ok in few scenarios but a bad overall solution.


#5 schaki

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:23 PM

This SSD/HDD should have been named WD Blue2, not Black2 considering what drive it in fact in based on and the filthy SSD unit. Wasn't hard at all to guess that the SSD performance not would be very good considering that most 128mb SSDs usually performs less well compared to their 250 or 256mb "relatives" from same manufacturer.

As said by jtsn, this SSD/HDD is a joke, a very filthy such.

May I ask if it is known what manufacturer is behind these two 64gb SSD chips?


#6 danwat1234

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 06:08 PM

The power consumption graph is confusing. What is the WD Black2 dual drive HDD vs WD Black2 dual drive SSD?

 

I always thought that the SATA interface allowed for a master/slave on each SATA cable, not physically but through logic but I guess this is not the case. I really wish instead WD would have made this 1 volume with this product being an SSHD. This way it would be universal and speedy with read and write caching.

 

It (might be) over-engineered. The people who appreciate having the SSD and HDD as separate volumes are enthusiasts, but enthusiasts don't like products that require proprietary drivers, wondering how to access each drive in an external enclosure if they are doing backups or trying to recover data. Also no enthusiast would care for a relatively slow SSD. So an SSHD would have been better, and 64GB would be plenty but 120GB is good too.

But alas, the SSD is plenty fast for home desktop/laptop use. If they can make the controller stable then it might sell. Would be great if it had an SSHD mode though, or if the 1TB HDD had 16GB of NAND flash cache on it's own so you had an SSHD + SSD!


Edited by danwat1234, 25 November 2013 - 08:06 PM.

#7 Kevin OBrien

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 07:26 PM

The power chart is showing isolated access to either the SSD-only or the HDD-only to show how power consumption varies from the baseline Blue Slim that the Black2 is based around.


#8 ChrisMcPole

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 03:21 AM

WD is at it again. I thought Seagate went crazy when they introduced SSHD, but this one is the champion of all Jacks and of all trades. But hey, when I see the word - "testing", one way or another, in a press release, I know what I'm reading ;)


#9 schaki

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 03:42 AM

Too bad that Samsung sold their Hdd division. They may have been able to get it right with a decent SSD chip and at least a reliable hdd.


#10 Bleh

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 03:39 PM

Now they've lost it.. this appears like a product someone in management had the company make for his private use.

 

There's only one option to make that thing even remotely sensible and that would be selling it normally priced.

hdd-value: 70$ ssd-value: 70$ "innovation"-value: 20$ = 160$.

 

For 300$ i can buy a decent and faster 500GB SSD.. can they not see that?


Edited by Bleh, 26 November 2013 - 03:42 PM.

#11 jtsn

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 01:34 PM

Too bad that Samsung sold their Hdd division. They may have been able to get it right

 

Samsung got it completely right by selling their HDD business, while it was still worth something.

 

It was the right decision.

 

Samsung now concentrates on making good revenue with great SSD products, while their HDD competitors struggle with weird expensive Frankenstein products like this one.

 

There's a technology revolution going on and companies realizing that too late will be driven out of the market. Nothing new, just economy at work.


Edited by jtsn, 27 November 2013 - 01:34 PM.

#12 Brian

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:11 PM

The Samsung mobile guys still live on within Seagate. 


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#13 ChrisMcPole

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 12:26 AM

 Seagate is making a lot of money still, and will keep making them as long as storage is needed. They bought Samsung's business and it was a right move, even though I wanted them to get HItachi's (yes, I have my preferences). And with all those data-centers, and as as long as SSDs are more expensive media than HDDs, they will keep investors happy. It's just silly to imagine, that HDD business in a duopoly is going to die over a course of 5 years. Not gonna happen. If anything, their margins are going to be even better, and with SSD solutions in the pipeline, both Seagate and WD are here to stay. Hitachi and Samsung made a forced move, and it was not the best one in the long run.

 

 

 

 

Samsung got it completely right by selling their HDD business, while it was still worth something.

 

It was the right decision.

 

Samsung now concentrates on making good revenue with great SSD products, while their HDD competitors struggle with weird expensive Frankenstein products like this one.

 

There's a technology revolution going on and companies realizing that too late will be driven out of the market. Nothing new, just economy at work.


#14 fallbreak

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 11:34 AM

The Samsung mobile guys still live on within Seagate. 

^ this!


#15 [ETA]MrSpadge

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 12:04 PM

@Chris: agreed. Pre flood we could get 500 GB drives (1 platter, 2 heads - so could be 1 TB now) for 17€ from an OEM. Sure, that included a massive discount compared to retail prices, but still: I'm pretty sure the OEM and Seagate still made some profit in this deal. It'll take quite some more time for SSDs to catch up with this.

 

MrS


#16 Nardac

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 04:10 PM

I wanted to share my own experience regarding the proprietary software. Except for the initial unlocking of the HDD part, which has to happen under Windows, it seems to me that the drive will behave like any other single drive. I think that the use of one single SATA port for the two physical drives happens at the hardware level and is not depending on a software driver. After installing Windows XP on the SSD part and unlocking the HDD part with the software downloaded from WD, I used a Linux CD to repartition the drive and that worked OK. I could repartition it as one single drive, or keep the two drives separate, SSD and HDD. I resized the SSD part, to make room for installating other OSes. I also changed the HDD part to an extended partition and divided it up in several logical drives (I like it that way). Windows XP still works fine and has no difficulty seeing all the volumes. I don't think that there would be any trouble using the drive with Linux. As far as I understand, the only thing to keep in mind is that if a partition ovelaps between the SSD and HDD part, performance will be very different, depending on which section is being read or written to. So yes, the initial unlocking of the HDD is a pain in the neck, since it requires a Windows installation but once that is over with, I think one can do what one pleases with the drive. They should either have the HDD unlocked to start with or at least provide some booting CD with the software to do it.


#17 MRFS

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 09:16 PM

Instead of being a guinea pig for tinker-town engineers,

I would strongly recommend that desktop users

take a close look at SuperSpeed's SuperCache Express:

 

http://superspeed.co.../supercache.php

 

I don't use that software myself, but I know those

folks very well, after I wrote a review of RamDisk Plus

which they liked very much.


#18 orion24

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 02:10 AM

The idea is excellent, I don't see why there are so many complains about it. Sure there will be some issues at first. Personally I am surprised someone took that long to announce a product like this. It is ideal for someone looking to maximize the potential of his old laptop or netbook that has only 1 storage port. 

 

When it comes to pricing, I wouldn't expect it any cheaper right now, but eventually it should fall at sub-$200.


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#19 Brian

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 10:00 AM

It is a fun idea, but the pricing prevents this from being a truly useful technology...well that and some of the performance compromises. It's hard to argue with a 500GB SSD these days, both the Vertex 460 and Samsung EVO provide a more compelling value than the Black2.


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#20 JJ Johnson

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 12:29 PM

It makes some sense for plugging into a notebook with only a single drive bay, but that's really the only practical use case that I can see.


#21 Brian

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 12:49 PM

At this price it doesn't make sense though...you get 620GB more capacity and a weak SSD compared to a 500GB SSD that's very good. The only way it makes sense is if you HAVE to have 1TB of HDD space. Most of us have long since figured out how to use a NAS or cloud solutions to get around the capacity need locally. 


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#22 famsden

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 07:08 AM

A few points.  There is definitely a community that can utilize a drive like this - video editors and video compositors and the like!  This is especially useful when you are editing on the set, on the fly.  Video takes a lot of speed and while this device may not have the ultimate speed of single SSD applications, it is a more than adequate speed increase to run video editing, compositing, 3d drawing and animation and CGI apps at speeds necessary for video work without being tied down to network workflows.  As to adaptability to other OS, as long as it is initially partitioned in Windows, presumably the partitons could be converted for use with OSX or Linux.  As to price, though the initial list price is high, the street price has gotten down pretty quickly.  I picked one up for under $220 from a well known supplier.  And for what it does for a laptop, it's quite a deal.  Most of the rules of SSD optimization and utilization still apply.  For other applications where you need to make the OS and programs fly and still need a large storage capacity for files and the portability of a laptop, it would indeed be the ticket.  For surfing the internet, not so much.  But not everyone is just looking to have the internet in their pocket.  There are still other uses for computers.  So, no, it's no joke.


#23 Brian

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 07:36 AM

It's $100 less than where it started, clearly WD adjusted once they couldn't move units at the ask. Even at $220 though, outside of high capacity use cases that you highlight, you can get a 500GB class SSD. For almost everyone that's a better idea than the Black 2.

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#24 jtsn

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:00 AM

In Europe the WD Black² is now at about €200, while the Crucial M500 240GB SSD is on sale for €90 and the HGST Travelstar 5K1000 1TB is now sold at €50 (everything incl. taxes).

 

The M500 480GB at €180 is already slightly cheaper and the 960GB sold at €370 is almost at WD's original MSRP of €330 for the Black².

 

As predicted ;) the product got obsolete within less a year and may never return its development cost.


#25 Brian

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:38 PM

Some would argue it was obsolete at launch ;)


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