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WD starting production of 160GB/Platter disks?

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anyone? I'm trying to decide if I should return the WD5000KS drives and get the new WD5000AAKS instead. Are the WD5000AAKS drives supposed to be any better than the previous generation in terms of performance, reliability, etc? Thanks!

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anyone? I'm trying to decide if I should return the WD5000KS drives and get the new WD5000AAKS instead. Are the WD5000AAKS drives supposed to be any better than the previous generation in terms of performance, reliability, etc? Thanks!

Reliability - nobody knows yet, it's too new. But it should bring a noticeably higher transfer rate. I'm waiting too, for a WD3200AAKS, because i decided to stay away from current Seagate, and a 160GB platter version will be perfect for my audio/photo demands.

jj

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Hi all,

This is my first post to StorageReview, although I have been following the site for years. I am very interested in Western Digital's alleged 160GB platter drives. However, I called Western Digital twice (once to technical support, once to their main line) to confirm the specifications on the WD5000AAKS. Both times (after looking some information up) the representatives said that the WD5000AAKS is the exact same drive as the WD5000KS. I specifically asked if it had increased per-platter capacity, and both times the representatives denied it. They said that it was for OEMs and certain types of system integrators, but that the WD5000AAKS is, in fact, a WD5000KS. One even said that the information about WD5000AAKS being a 160GB platter drive was merely a rumor circulated around the Internet. :ph34r:

Seeing as how WD has no information posted on its website, and how two WD representatives said it's the same drive, I am inclined to agree. Can anyone confirm, however? Even if the WD5000AAKS uses the same platters, perhaps there is some difference in the cache size, the cache logic, or the firmware?

For what it's worth, the Newegg WD5000AAKS listing shows a picture of a drive with four platters. Who knows where that image came from, however.

If anyone wants to be adventurous enough to open up a WD5000AAKS... :P

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"I am very interested in Western Digital's alleged 160GB platter drives. However, I called Western Digital twice (once to technical support, once to their main line) to confirm the specifications on the WD5000AAKS. Both times (after looking some information up) the representatives said that the WD5000AAKS is the exact same drive as the WD5000KS. I specifically asked if it had increased per-platter capacity, and both times the representatives denied it."

It has been the WD's custom to hide generation information from the public. New AA named models are an exception to that rule.

Some benchmarks support the possibility of AA models using 160GB platters:

HD Tune 2.52

Transfer Rate - Minimum

WD WD5000KS 500GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch 16MB)   38.6 MB/s

WD WD1600AAJS 160GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch8MB)   37.5 MB/s

WD WD1600JS 160GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch 8MB)   34.6 MB/s

HD Tune 2.52

Transfer Rate - Maximum

WD WD1600AAJS 160GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch8MB)   79.4 MB/s

WD WD5000KS 500GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch 16MB)   73.9 MB/s

WD WD1600JS 160GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch 8MB)   58.4 MB/s

HD Tune 2.52

Transfer Rate - Average

WD WD1600AAJS 160GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch 8MB)   63.5 MB/s

WD WD5000KS 500GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch 16MB)   61 MB/s

WD WD1600JS 160GB (SATA II 7,200 3.5inch 8MB)   50.3 MB/s

Copy-pasted from: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewt...p=303553#303553

Note that

- WD1600AAJS has much better STR than old two-platter WD1600s.

- While it starts faster than WD5000KS, it finishes slower than WD5000KS => STR decays more towards inner tracks. This implies that WD1600AAJS does not use two 125GB platters short-stroked as it would have adverse effect. In fact it implies use of load/unload technology as Hitachi desktop drives have typically has STR graphs that decay a lot. (This is because to load/unload tech doesn't require a landing zone on the inner tracks => more slow sectors are available for data use.)

"Seeing as how WD has no information posted on its website..."

While WD doesn't confirm it is WDxxxxAAxx that is the new 160GB/platter WD, WD has made a press release of "next generation" of WDs using 160GB platters. Of course it would be hard to tell, if the generation the drive belongs to isn't explicitly stated but AA wasn't available prior to the press release.

http://www.wdc.com/en/company/releases/Pre...9-DF8A6E93CCAA}

"For what it's worth, the Newegg WD5000AAKS listing shows a picture of a drive with four platters. Who knows where that image came from, however."

I will not give any credibility to those pictures. They are likely not the same variant. Most likely Newegg uses the picture of WD5000 because they don't consider changes significant (or because WD5000 looks more impressing with it's 4 platters). Also: even WD has a tendency to offer only generic photos of their drives.

Some retailers even use photos of wrong manufacturer's drives.

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Good points. Actually, I was not satisfied with WD's response so I tried calling them a third time, and I am glad I did. I spoke with a Level 2 technician, and he confirmed that the drive has 3 platters.

He sent me the Technical Reference Manual, which bears the following names and part numbers:

WD Caviar SE16

  • WD5000AAKS
  • WD4000AAKS
  • WD32000AAKS
  • WD2500AAKS

WD Caviar SE

  • WD5000AAJS
  • WD4000AAJS
  • WD3200AAJS
  • WD2500AAJS

WD Caviar

  • WD5000AABS
  • WD4000AABS
  • WD3200AABS
  • WD2500AABS

The reference manual also has the following footer information:

2679-701122-A00

PRELIM 12/15/06

and header information:

WD XL160M

The physical specifications table (page 5) notes that the WD2500AA*S has 2 disks, 4 data surfaces, and 4 heads (2/4/4). WD3200AA*S 2/4/4. WD4000AA*S 3/5/5. WD5000AA*S 3/6/6.

The technician also mentioned that the drive supports NCQ, AAM, and and Perpendicular Recording (PMR) according to my hastily-written notes. I can confirm that the manual lists NCQ, AAM (there is at least one post online elsewhere suggesting that the WD5000AAKS does not support AAM, so I wanted to address that), and a host of other features if anyone else is interested.

However, perpendicular recording is not mentioned anywhere in the manual. If you combine info about the press releases, the number of platters, and physical constraints, it might make sense that this drive uses PMR. However, the manual does not say anything about it, so I would wait until WD puts out more information before reaching any definitive conclusions.

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Hitachi T7K500 doesn't use PMR either and T7K500 also use only 3 platters for 500GB, 2 platters for 320GB. T7K1000 will have PMR though...

"there is at least one post online elsewhere suggesting that the WD5000AAKS does not support AAM"

It may just be due to the controller used. For example I cannot change AAM of my Samsung Spinpoint P80SD SATA drive using HDDScan v2.8. Changing AAM mode of PATA drives is possible, so I would blame the controller. I got around the issue by creating a Hitachi Feature Tool bootable diskette and booted to PC-DOS in order to change AAM mode of my P80 and it worked. (P80 was on mobo (ASUS) integrated SIS controller.)

Doing the same with the WD5000AAKS in question would likely solve the issue. If it doesn't (if for example Hitachi FTOOL cannot see drives connected to the controller) the HDD has to be transferred to another computer with a more traditional SATA controller and try changing AAM mode there.

How many pages is the Technical Reference Manual? If you are not under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), could you please upload the manual somewhere? (If you don't have a website capable of handling the bandwidth, upload them to Rapidshare, Megaupload, or other similar free upload site.)

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I'm interested in the WD5000AAKS. From the reviews on the newegg site, the older WD5000KS had reliability problems.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/CustratingRe...N82E16822136014

Perhaps the load/unload technology that whiic mentioned on SPCR will help make the AA drives more reliable.

I'm particularly interested in a very quiet drive, which originally led me to the WD5000KS.

I'm wondering if the tech manual Sean received has any specifications...

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The Technical Reference Manual is 58 PDF pages.

I am not under NDA. However, when I said WD said that they "do not recommend" distributing it. So I said fine...if anyone wants it, you can just call WD Technical Support and ask to receive the manual and they would send it out to you by e-mail. This assumes, of course, that you talk to someone who actually knows about the new drives. The number 2679-701122-A00 on the document might help. The filename of the PDF that I received is WD2500AABS-WD5000AAKS.pdf.

Here is an excerpt from section 1.2. dogman-x, are these the features that you were referring to?

  • Pre-emptive Wear Leveling (PWL) —This WD feature provides a solution for protecting the
    recording media against mechanical wear. In cases where the drive is so busy with incoming
    commands that it is forced to stay in a same cylinder position for a long time, the PWL control
    engine initiates forced seeks so that disk lubricant maintains an even distribution and does not
    become depleted. This feature ensures reliability for applications that perform a high
    incidence of read/write operations at the same physical location on the disk.
  • Ramp Load/Unload (LUL) — LUL is a proven design that parks the recording head when the
    drive is idle and on spin up, maximizing available disk space and minimizing power usage,
    which results in lower transient acoustics, lower heat, and long-term drive reliability.
  • Femto Slider — These drives incorporate the femto slider form factor in which the read/write
    head is mounted on the small, lightweight femto slider which allows the head to move more
    quickly from track to track on the disk.

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Hi Sean - thanks for the info. It seems that the Load/Unload feature is indeed related to reliability.

I'm particularly interested in a very quiet drive, so I was wondering if the tech manual had any specifications for noise or acoustics on the WD5000AAKS.

TIA, Dave

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Here's what I found in the reference manual on acoustics:

  • Fluid Dynamic Bearings (FDB) — Bearing design that incorporates a layer of high-viscosity
    lubricant instead of ball bearings in the hard drive spindle motor. As an alternative to
    conventional ball bearing technology, FDB designs provide increased non-operational shock
    resistance, speed control, and improved acoustics.
  • Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM) — The drive supports the Automatic Acoustic
    Management feature. This feature allows the host to select the acoustic level of the hard drive.

2.6.1 Shock and Vibration

Table 2-1. Shock and Vibration

Operating Vibration

Drives are tested by applying a random excitation in each linear axis, one axis at a time. The drive

incurs no physical damage and no hard errors while subjected to continuous vibration not

exceeding the level listed in Table 2-1. Operating performance may degrade during periods of

exposure to continuous vibration.

Non-Operating Vibration

Note: This specification applies to handling and transportation of unmounted drives.

Drives are tested by applying a random excitation in each linear axis, one axis at a time. The drive

incurs no physical damage when subjected to continuous vibration not exceeding the level listed in

Table 2-1.

Packaged Shock and Vibration

The shipping packaging is designed to meet the National/International Safe Transit Association

(N/ISTA) standards for packaged products. The drive incurs no physical damage when subjected to

the N/ISTA standards.

Shock

Operating 30G, 2 ms (read/write)

65G, 2 ms (read)

Non-operating (2 ms) 350G

Note: Half-sine wave, measured without shock isolation and without non-recoverable errors.

Vibration

Operating Linear: 20-300 Hz, 0.75G (0 to peak)

Random (2 Disk Models): 0.004 g2 /Hz (10-300 Hz); 0.008 g2 /Hz (300-500 Hz)

Random (3 Disk Models): 0.004 g2 /Hz (10-300 Hz); 0.00221 g2 /Hz (7-500 Hz)

Non-operating Linear: 20-500 Hz, 4.0G (0 to peak)

Random: 0.05 g2 /Hz (10-300 Hz); 0.01 g2 /Hz (300-500 Hz)

Sweep Rate 0.5 octave/minute minimum

Drive Generated Vibration

Operating 0.2 gm-mm average with the drive in an unconstrained condition

Rotational Shock Non-Operating

Amplitude 20K rad/sec2

Duration 2 ms

2.6.6 Acoustics

TYPICAL SOUND POWER LEVEL1 2 Disk 3 Disk

Idle Mode (average dBA)2 25 28

Performance Seek Mode (average dBA)3 29 33

Quiet Seek Mode (average dBA)3 26 29

1 Measured per ECMA-74/ISO 7779. 2 No audible pure tones. 3 Random seek at a rate of 26 seeks per second.

You should also check the Silent PC Review reviews of the WD5000KS and the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 for comparison. From what the Newegg reviews suggest, the WD5000AAKS is just as quiet as the WD5000KS. Testing methodology makes a big difference, and I did not see any testing methodology in the technical manual.

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Well I picked up one these WD5000AAKS yesterday. Here I my thoughts so far and for comparison this drive has joined my current set up that includes the following drives

WD740ADFD (OS)

WD4000KD

WD3200JD

Running the benchmarks in hdtune 2.51 I get the following

WD5000AAKS MIN 40.8 MB/S; MAX 85.1 MB/S; AVERAGE 68.4 MB/S; ACCESS TIME 13.5 MS; BURST RATE 112.2 MB/S; CPU USAGE 11.6 %

WD740ADFD MIN 45.7 MB/S; MAX 84.8 MB/S; AVERAGE 74.1 MB/S; ACCESS TIME 8.2 MS; BURST RATE 117.2 MB/S; CPU USAGE 4.4 %

WD4000KD MIN 36.3 MB/S; MAX 62 MB/S; AVERAGE 54 MB/S; ACCESS TIME 13.4 MS; BURST RATE 117.1 MB/S; CPU USAGE 5.6 %

WD3200JD MIN 31.9 MB/S; MAX 63.5 MB/S; AVERAGE 52.2 MB/S; ACCESS TIME 13.3 MS; BURST RATE 92.3 MB/S; CPU USAGE 8.9 %

One comment about the raptor - the min transfer rate consistently comes from a negative 'spike' soon after the task starts, does anyone have an idea why you get these spikes where it appears that the HDD is struggling to read?

Sound wise I would say that the AAKS is very quiet, as quiet certainly as the 3200JD, and certainly quieter than the 4000KD, which I find quite noisy when working hard! The raptor is also quite noisy when seeking. I don't know yet whether the AAKS is as quiet as the quietest drive I've ever used, which is the WD1200PB.

The only area I am a little dissapointed is with temps. Now bear in mind that my system is set up as follows:

An atx case with a HDD cage with the raptor at the bottom, next the AAKS, then the 4000KD, then a gap and finally the 3200JD. The cage is cooled with a 120mm fan.

Before adding the AAKS, the raptor idled at about 38 deg C, the KD at about 39 deg C and the JD at 32 deg C

With the AAKS in place it idles at 41 to 42 deg C, the raptor the same, the KD at 39 deg C and the JD at 32 deg C.

Since this is a 3 platter design, I expected it to be as cool as the JD?

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bump heh, just got my 500GB AAK from teh egg, heres the hddtach benchy

wdaaks500gbmg9.th.png

Bit faster than my seagate 320GB for STR, prolly blows away the seagate in real world apps ;)

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Why on earth did they test a smaller drive with less cache :blink:

Was the only purpose of the review to do a head to head comparo with the 160GB maxtor eh?

I am (obviously) much more intested to see how the 500GB model compares to other (larger) drives (specifically the 320GB seagate I own).

Edited by Moloch

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Guest 888
Why on earth did they test a smaller drive with less cache

Was the only purpose of the review to do a head to head comparo with the 160GB maxtor eh?

I am (obviously) much more intested to see how the 500GB model compares to other (larger) drives (specifically the 320GB seagate I own).

They promised also WD5000AAKS review very soon...

But I think it's good they tested also this new 160GB version. Now we have much better comparable overview of it. Yes, it was a bit unfair to compare it with 320-750GB drives mostly on the same graphs there (better if they had compared it to Seagate's, Samsung's, Hitachi's* new 1-platter 160GB's in addition to that single 160GB Maxtor) but still not bad - at least now we have a good comparison about how the big and small leagues compare each other in real life benchmarks.

*Note: Hitachi's new 7K160 160GB and WD1600AAJS were compared recently on Tom's Hardware test-review of several drives. Not much real benchmarks there but it still gives some indication.

But... talking about WD1600AAJS now. Honestly said I expected better results. But still, taking account the comparisons with big league the result's aren't too bad either. Noteworthy is the performance in gaming where's the small WD is just up to the level with others. And the most essential (at least for me) - Judging from both of these test-reviews the new WD1600AAJS is really a very cool-running and very quiet (both in idle and seek) drive! Now we must hope it to become also a very reliable drive... but it's too early to say yet.

160GB league's the only real competitor potentially to offer better real life benchmarking results may be the new T166 series 160GB single-platter Samsung HD160HJ. But nothing is sure yet...

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Why on earth did they test a smaller drive with less cache

Was the only purpose of the review to do a head to head comparo with the 160GB maxtor eh?

I am (obviously) much more intested to see how the 500GB model compares to other (larger) drives (specifically the 320GB seagate I own).

They promised also WD5000AAKS review very soon...

But I think it's good they tested also this new 160GB version. Now we have much better comparable overview of it. Yes, it was a bit unfair to compare it with 320-750GB drives mostly on the same graphs there (better if they had compared it to Seagate's, Samsung's, Hitachi's* new 1-platter 160GB's in addition to that single 160GB Maxtor) but still not bad - at least now we have a good comparison about how the big and small leagues compare each other in real life benchmarks.

*Note: Hitachi's new 7K160 160GB and WD1600AAJS were compared recently on Tom's Hardware test-review of several drives. Not much real benchmarks there but it still gives some indication.

But... talking about WD1600AAJS now. Honestly said I expected better results. But still, taking account the comparisons with big league the result's aren't too bad either. Noteworthy is the performance in gaming where's the small WD is just up to the level with others. And the most essential (at least for me) - Judging from both of these test-reviews the new WD1600AAJS is really a very cool-running and very quiet (both in idle and seek) drive! Now we must hope it to become also a very reliable drive... but it's too early to say yet.

160GB league's the only real competitor potentially to offer better real life benchmarking results may be the new T166 series 160GB single-platter Samsung HD160HJ. But nothing is sure yet...

Well I was surprised in some benchmarks where the seagates ate the WD for lunch considering they're supposed to be pretty bad in real world benchmarks, of course they do finish last or near last in a few benchmarks.

I hope the larger drives with more cache are able to have more generally good performance, not being bad at any one type of test.

Btw, I noticed using vista to copy data off my seagate (to the WD 500GB) that supposedly it was going near 60MB/s, which for windows is pretty good.

My 160GB WD with 9 bad sectors was only able to copy to the WD 500GB in the teens, for all the test as well, not just certain parts where the bad sectors might be?

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Guest 888

Just a notice:

Also WD3200AAKS has real availability in stores now (at least in European stores). Surprisingly, its 8MB cache version WD3200AAJS is available, too!

Hope some early buyer here will HDtach it and post the results... And it would be even more nice if Anandtech (who tested the previous KS version) will compare this new version to old one ;)

PS! Big price drop just happened yesterday: Prices for WD5000AAKS and WD4000AAKS are now equal to Samsungs's low-cost 500GB and 400GB accordingly. In fact for 250, 320, 400, 500GB price per 1GB is exactly the same now! Also, Seagate and Hitachi dropped their 400GB and 500GB prices significantly this week (but not so low as Samsung and WD are now). Seagate 750GB dropped too.

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Guest 888
I found a HD-tach graph of the WD3200AAKS:

http://www.planet3dnow.de/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=300434

A very nice result!

Thanks a lot for the reference!

From the tests provided there I compiled an overview table comparing most of 320GB drives (and the "good old" Hitachi T7K250):

320GB======================================================== | ==250GB
Manufacturer: WesternDig  Hitachi  Samsung  Seagate  WesternD | Hitachi
SeriesName:   CaviarSE16  T7K500   SP-T166  7200.10  CaviarSE | T7K250
ModelNumbers: WD3200AAKS  T725032  HD321KJ  3320620  WD3200KS | T722525
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SeqSpeed max MB/s =   87	   78	   83	   79	   67	   68
SeqSpeed avg MB/s =   71	   64	   65	   65	   57	   56
SeqSpeed min MB/s =   43	   38	   38	   39	   38	   34

AccessTime	 ms =   13.1	 12.9	 14.2	 13.3	 13.2	 13.0
AccessTime(AAM)ms =   18.6

Burst max	MB/s =  198	  197	  212	  235	  203	  203

PCmark04 TotScore = 6084	 6480	 6363	 5786		-	 5871
PCmark05 TotScore = 6271	 6860	 6447	 6414	 5957	 6417
=XPstartup   MB/s =   10	   12	   10	   10	   10	   11
=App.Loading MB/s =	8		9		8		8		8		8
=FileCopying MB/s =   51	   52	   61	   53		-	   43
=GeneralUsageMB/s =	7		8		7		6		7		7
=VirusScan   MB/s =   91	  112	   89	  123	   88	  115
=FileWrite   MB/s =   70	   72	   83	   72	   64	   63

And so it is... The new WD3200AAKS has really a superb top speed in synthetic benchmarks and also good access time. But the real application benchmarks (at least these some of provided) aren't still up to the expected level (the same problem was already experienced with WD1600AAJS too - see Anandtech tests for it)... But again, wow, Hitachi did it - T7K500 320GB really shines in the real benchmarks all over. But the biggest new surprise is Samsung - though having the slowest access time its real benchmarks are amazing!

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I've got 6x WD5000AAKS and they are around the 85mb/s max and 40mb/s minimum. HD Tune reports 13.2ms access time. Definately a 3x 167gb platter drive.

They also don't have the old style power connector which pissed me off!

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Guest 888

It's nice to add that just now WD has started to produce also PATA 400/500GB drives, too. Based on their latest 167GB-platter generation design:

WD5000AAKB = 500GB 16MB PATA

WD5000AAJB = 500GB 8MB PATA

WD4000AAKB = 400GB 16MB PATA

WD4000AAJB = 400GB 8MB PATA

As always you can't find them on WD's website yet but they are already arriving to distributors and shops now...

PATA isn't dead still...

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