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WD1003FZEX slow access times warning!


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#1 Deanvns

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 05:28 PM

I bought a WD1003FZEX and after testing the drive was surprised how slow the access times are (this is after all suppose to be a performance black model).

 

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The previous model WD1002FAEX I tested has an average access time of 12.4ms. Also the other new black drives (WD2003FZEX,WD3003FZEX,WD4003FZEX) have access times in the 12-13ms range.

I sent the drive back now because using it as an OS drive was like using a WD blue drive. Very fast sequential read/write but not responsive.

Looking around the web and amazon reviews I came across

http://community.wd....ned/td-p/658549

and http://www.overclock...d-is-this-drive

 

Does anyone know what is going on here with WD. Selling the 1TB model as a black performance drive whith such slow access time. It is useless for that segment.


Edited by Deanvns, 09 February 2014 - 05:30 PM.

#2 Kevin OBrien

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 07:10 PM

While it might be stating the obvious, but why not go with an SSD for the boot drive? Best care we are talking about a handful of IOPS between the higher performing Black and the lower performing Black. Compare that to any midrange or budget SSD and it would be a drop in the bucket.


#3 cppguru

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 03:44 AM

I have noticed similar trend as well. Same rotational latency but higher seek times so you are not the only one. WD has lost their mind in my opinion when it comes to optimizing their drives which, as you witnessed are not really any better than the Blue drives. I think the simple answer is the tradeoff they made in order to improve sequential rates over access time (likely due to firmware).


#4 cppguru

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 01:30 AM

This thread is so closely related to my personal experience that I hope the admins won't mind me sharing another sentiment augmenting to what I already said above.

 

 

While it might be stating the obvious, but why not go with an SSD for the boot drive?

 

To reduce complexity, maybe the OP prefers to stick with a single fast hard disk? Why push SSD when the OP is merely asking if anyone else has witnessed the behaviour he noticed?

 

This thread (thanks to OP) is precisely the reason I have ditched WD altogether in favour of seagate. Seagate was clever *enough* to drop their "Green" line altogether. As seagate claims, their standard 7200 RPM disk is not much power hungry compared to a Green drive. That IMHO was a good move.

 

The fact that WD has started giving us stinker such as a Black drive with Dual Proc and blah blah marketing stuff attached to it which - let's face it is NO faster than a regular 7200 RPM drive is just such a big turn off and sufficient reason to ditch WD. I personally think this issue is serious enough that if the editors/admins here at Storage Review point that out - WD will start thinking *clearly* again and stop hyperbolizing their products taking advantage of loyal customer base (which - like myself will eventually turn their back on them). Look at their current product line-up and compare it to seagate it's just unbelievable. Green, Blue, Red, Black, Xe, Re, Se etc.

 

With the difference in price and performance between 7200 RPM and 5400/5900 RPM disks, I really think both manufacturers should completely drop making 5900/5400 RPM drives.

 

Stick to seagate. Much simpler product lines. 7200.xx means you get a good 7200.xx drive. Or if you get SSHD, then you know you are getting SSHD.


Edited by cppguru, 12 February 2014 - 02:05 AM.

#5 Kevin OBrien

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:57 AM

I'm not sure I understand the hate towards WD compared to Seagate, especially considering they both have nearly identical product lineups not counting the hybrids.

 

You say Green, Blue, Red, Black, Xe, Re, Se, etc as if its a bad thing to have purpose built drives for certain scenarios. Those drives have matching partners at Seagate. Both companies understand the modern roles of SSDs in consumer systems and are adjusting their product lineups to take that into account.

 

Seagates NAS HDD absorbed the roles of the older LP (Green and Red from WD... one for single-drive scenarios, one for RAID scenarios), The Blue and Black from WD are designed to compete against the OEM and retail markets that want a 7200RPM HDD. They also take into account acoustics and have different performance levels depending on capacity. Seagate as I'm not sure you realized no longer offers a consumer 7,200RPM drive. The newest line from the 7200.X series transitioned to the Desktop HDD.15 which is a 5,900RPM model. Basically its their new Barracuda LP.

 

I'm sorry the 1TB Black was a huge turnoff. It was not a capacity we tested, since we ended up pitting the 4TB vs the 4TB model. Given platter densities used there will probably be some models that have lower random access speeds than previous series if its one platter 2 heads vs 2 platters and four heads. On the flip side you gain sequential transfer speeds.


#6 [ETA]MrSpadge

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 02:12 PM

Regarding the new Black 1 TB: it's sequential transfer rate is higher than any other Black, so it's pretty safe to say they're using a single 1 TB platter here. They're not doing this in the 4 TB model. I've long suspected that's because access times for these dense platters are difficult to handle. Seagates drives with 1 TB platters and 7.2k rpm perform well but don't have pretty access times either. From my point of view you can take the new 1 TB Black as indirect confirmation of this guess. They went from 500 GB to 1 TB platters, since anything below these points would be uneconomical, gained some STR but have trouble finding those tiny sectors quickly. Those are physical rather than firmware issues. I really doubt they could currently do it any better, because if they could they would have put this into the flagship model as well.

 

I agree that it probably should have been called "Blue", unless that model performs even worse. Regarding general offerings: one could fault WD for not offering Blue HDDs larger than 1 TB any more. There's the Black, but you pay for its added complexity - which is mostly not worth it from my point of view.

 

 

With the difference in price and performance between 7200 RPM and 5400/5900 RPM disks, I really think both manufacturers should completely drop making 5900/5400 RPM drives.

 

That would be foolish sicne these drives have plenty of good use cases. It's just that "main desktop drive" is not it. Here are a few:

- the advantage in power draw and vibration matters if you're running many of them

- you can reach higher platter densities at lower rpm, i.e. make bigger drives or achieve the same capacity cheaper

- if your disk system is I/O limited by network or USB the higher speed of the 7.2k rpm drives won't gain you anything

- for "cold data" the higher speed of the 7.2k rpm drives won't gain you anything

 

 

Seagate as I'm not sure you realized no longer offers a consumer 7,200RPM drive

 

*ehm* Only the 4 TB model transitioned back to 5.9k rpm, as I suspect because the vibration from the additional platters would make access times too bad at 4x1 TB 7.2k rpm. But the 1, 2 and 3 TB models stay at 7.2k rpm.

 

 

Why push SSD when the OP is merely asking if anyone else has witnessed the behaviour he noticed?

 

Because the OP is obviously concerned about performance being affected by the high access time and sent the drive back because of this. Actually.. that the drive felt just as fast as his previous WD Blue doesn't necessarily mean the high access time is to blame - unless e.g. a 2 TB Black felt faster.

 

MrS


Edited by [ETA]MrSpadge, 12 February 2014 - 02:16 PM.

#7 cppguru

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:39 PM

I agree on most points mentioned by Kevin :) Hopefully you guys will test out the 1 TB as well. But I strongly disagree with these points as mentioned above:

 

 

- the advantage in power draw and vibration matters if you're running many of them

 

If the spindle speed jeopardized the performance due to vibration - then all enterprise models would have been 5400 RPM disks but this is not the case. Infact Seagate's forthcoming Enterprise Turbo HDD will spin at 15K with 128 GB of Nand Cache designed specifically for NAS/Enterprise/SANs. And if you are talking outside of Enterprise (desktop), most consumers don't go beyond 4 disks so the point is irrelevant.

 

 

- for "cold data" the higher speed of the 7.2k rpm drives won't gain you anything

 

Completely the opposite actually. The mechanical disk drives perform the worse when the cold data is spread across different sectors (not on the same cynlinder). Infact, this is exactly the scenario where a 7200 RPM/10k RPM helps because the data is not in the cache hence we cannot take advantage of spatial locality due to obvious reasons. This is actually very easy to prove mathematically. I am even going to go as far as saying I don't think you know what "cold data" actually means. :)

 

 

- if your disk system is I/O limited by network or USB the higher speed of the 7.2k rpm drives won't gain you anything

 

This is bunkers to say the least. Even with a 30 MB/sec bandwidth cap of USB 2.0 in half duplex mode, no mechanical disk drive in the market today (not even 15k Cheetahs) can saturate this bandwidth in 512/4k Random seek for sectors that are not on the same cynlinder.

 

 

- you can reach higher platter densities at lower rpm, i.e. make bigger drives or achieve the same capacity cheaper

 

Negatory. Platter densities and spindle speed are actually mutually exclusive. Areal densities depends on head technology and the recording method (longitudinal/perpendicular etc). A fairly practical counter proof exists with WD Velociraptor drives. 1 TB version Raptor reaches sequential speed in excess of 200 MB/sec yet spins at 10K RPM as well as Seagate's latest generation SAS Cheetah units.

 

 

I agree that it probably should have been called "Blue"

 

This says it all. The fact is that 1 TB black is no better than the blue yet is more expensive. Infact, WD is simply choosing to ignore this issue altogether on their official forums despite numerous complains (please check the link provided by OP?). Some are even going as far as saying the Black is just a rebadged Blue in the case of 1 TB version. The performance numbers don't disagree with that statement so IMHO WD deserves the hate.

 

The idea of sending a flagship model (4 TB Black) to the press is a classical technique that manufacturers use to create a halo affect. In a sense that the top performing unit will propagate to finding it's way in making people think that the entire lineup must be superior. Storage review - as experts in storage should ALWAYS watchout for this IMHO.

 

 

I'm not sure I understand the hate towards WD compared to Seagate, especially considering they both have nearly identical product lineups not counting the hybrids.

 

You say Green, Blue, Red, Black, Xe, Re, Se, etc as if its a bad thing to have purpose built drives for certain scenarios.

 

Kevin, I totally get where you are coming from. But I think you took my point to the extreme. I never said that purpose built drives are bad. Ofcourse not. All I was saying this is the same reason why GM couldn't afford themselves by developing different cars of same type with different brand that took them down. (Pontiac, Saab, Saturn).

 

What I meant to say is they need to simplify their product lineup. Otherwise, we risk of having Yellow, Pink, Magenta and Golden (etc). as well in their product lineup.

 

Why not have simple product lines. Mainstream, Enthusiast, Enterprise

 

Drives like Blue and Black can goto Mainstream. Drives like SSHD and Raptors can goto Enthusiast and Enterprise can have upper 10k and 15k offerings. A hard drive is a hard drive and it should just work. What's exactly wrong with that? (simplicity) If we look back 10 years, we still had NAS, Enterprise storage, SANS - but at the time we didn't have a million different product lineups. As an infrastructure manager, I don't recall hard drives blowing up just because they didn't have a specific category for each application? Infact, most of those drives we have are still working today :/


Edited by cppguru, 13 February 2014 - 12:04 PM.

#8 [ETA]MrSpadge

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 04:17 PM

 

If the spindle speed jeopardized the performance due to vibration - then all enterprise models would have been 5400 RPM disks but this is not the case.

 

Spindle speed does jeopardize performance and reliability due to excessive vibration - unless you counteract it appropriately. That's why RAID edition, NAS and enterprise drives have special vibration compensation built in. If you don't need to do this due to lower spindle speeds you can offer cheaper drives.

 

And we seem to have a different opinion about how cold cold data actually is. For me this is infrequently accessed data - otherwise it wouldn't be cold. It's the last randomly accessible storage tier, right before flushing to tape (if available). This could be archives, backups, unimportant media files or whatever. So why care about the performance of things you almost never need?

 

A quick google pretty much reinforces my point. They're even saying shingled magnetic recording disks are ideal for this task!

 

Of course in pure 512/4k random access no HDD could saturate USB 2. But why would you access your cold data like this? If this ever happens you're extremely unlucky or you've put your data into the wrong storage tier. It should at least have been on SSDs, as even 15k HDDs are far too slow for such cases.

 

 

Negatory. Platter densities and spindle speed are actually mutually exclusive. Areal densities depends on head technology and the recording method (longitudinal/perpendicular etc). A fairly practical counter proof exists with WD Velociraptor drives. 1 TB version Raptor reaches sequential speed in excess of 200 MB/sec yet spins at 10K RPM

 

What does "mutually exclusive" mean if not "if I want to increase one of them, the other one has to go down"? Areal density is the same as density per platter (what I refer to as platter density, not the number of platters) as long as we're talking about the same physical HDD size (3.5"). And it obviously depends on recording technology - for any spindle speed.

 

Honestly I don't know why you're bringing up the Raptor here. It just reinforces my point: despite running at 10k rpm it "only" achieves as much sequential throughput as a current 7.2k rpm Seagate. That means its linear data density must be ~30% lower. And they're not doing this just for fun, it's simply because at higher rpms you can not reach the same density (for a given recording / head technology).

 

Actually, there's also the factor of disk diameter, which gives the 3.5" drive an advantage of approximately a factor of 1.4 over the 2.5" Raptor. Factoring this in both drives would be about tied for areal density. But note that with lower diameter platters vibration (again!) is reduced, which makes it easier to achieve higher platter densities. Which is why the Raptor transitioned to 2.5" in the first place.

 

 

Why not have simple product lines. Mainstream, Enthusiast, Enterprise

 

After my previous comments it's probably no surprise that my simple answer would be: because different markets are better suited for different spindle speeds, and sometimes other features (like that vibration compensation). However, there's something I really don't like: separate product lines for drives which only differ in firmware. Not sure how common this really is, as they could be subtile hardware differences.

 

But there are 5.4/5.9k rpm HDDs being sold specifically for digital recording. I can not imagine any hardware modification neccessary for this, hence they should just make the firmware tuning for these apps user selectable and kill off that product line completely.

 

MrS


#9 Deanvns

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 09:05 AM

While it might be stating the obvious, but why not go with an SSD for the boot drive? Best care we are talking about a handful of IOPS between the higher performing Black and the lower performing Black. Compare that to any midrange or budget SSD and it would be a drop in the bucket.

 

I, like a few others around here, prefer HDDs and wanted the fastest model to use as an OS boot drive. I already have a large external storage array. I went through all the reviews to find the fastest disk at the lowest size (pretty much 1TB nowadays) and WD1003FZEX was recommended again and again.

Anyway I sent it back, got a refund and bought last years 1TB black model, the WD1002FAEX. It's access time is 12.2ms in benchmarks I have run.  31%!! faster than the newer WD1003FZEX. Windows is more responsive.

WD have been deceptive with new model, the 2TB, 3TB and 4TB are fine but they hobbled the 1TB version. You could save 30$ by buying the 1TB blue version.

I don't care about an extra 15-20MB/s sustained transfer rate with the new model, access time kills that gain for 90% of realworld work.


#10 Bleh

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 06:59 AM

I memorized as a rule not to buy single platter 3.5" drives. There's a notion that these drives either underperform due to cheaper parts since these drives are often seen in oem office machines - or for that reason are slower for better reliability.

Now the interesting part: i memorized this rule over 10 years ago.





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