Brian

Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB Review

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Western Digital has both announced and started shipping their 5th generation Caviar Green hard drive. Of course the major highlight this time around is the monster 3TB capacity, a first for internal 3.5" hard drives. WD accomplishes this feat by leveraging Advanced Format and four 750GB platters. In addition to the 3TB model (WD30EZRSDTL) there's also a 2.5TB (WD25EZRSDTL) capacity available. Other drive highlights include a 64MB buffer, 3Gb/s SATA interface and quoted standby power consumption of only 1W. While the high capacity is surely a blessing to many users, there are certain risks WD is taking by going to market right now. We'll dive into these potential compatibility issues and take a look a performance numbers in this review.

Full Review

Good review! I appreciate all the performance data, however, I am still having a hard time figuring out how fast the drive is relative to a 7200 RPM " non-green drive. Honestly, I don't care about the green aspect for my application but am concerned with performance. I just got a Synology DS1511+ DiskStation and I was considering this drive as they support the 3TB drives. I plan to attach the unit via iSCSI to a Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 host and store the VHD files for some Hyper-V virtual machines on the SAN. Their boxes are fast and some performance data I found a while back (not sure where it is at the moment) showed read/write speeds about double that of Buffalo's fastest SAN/NAS. Do I need to stick with the 7200RPM drives or do you think these can give enough performance?

Thanks!

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Hard to say... the fastest Synology I have worked with is the DS411+ which still falls well below the model you are going to be working with. On mine the unit was the limiting factor with a single LAN connection. I didn't see much change in speed comparing green vs higher performance drives. In your situation with combined gigabit connections you might start to see a bigger difference.

Have you looked at the 3TB Seagate 7200RPM drives yet?

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Hard to say... the fastest Synology I have worked with is the DS411+ which still falls well below the model you are going to be working with. On mine the unit was the limiting factor with a single LAN connection. I didn't see much change in speed comparing green vs higher performance drives. In your situation with combined gigabit connections you might start to see a bigger difference.

Have you looked at the 3TB Seagate 7200RPM drives yet?

No I haven't but thanks for the tip. I wanted to get this box online today and picked up some 2TB 7200 RPM drives that Synology recommended but may try these in the future in another unit.

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Wow, that's terrible. Even the 2TB version has a jumper to turn the 512 byte emulation on and off.

Well, there are two types of so called "Emulation". Since legacy systems support only 512 logical sector size, the ATA standard implemented aditional information of physical sector. So the 4kB sector drive reports 512B logical sectors and communicate with OS using 512B sectors, but also reports 4kB physical sector size, so modern operating systems are able to align partitions with 4kB boundary.

What idiots in WD did? They crippled this standard mechanism by reporting 512B logical and 512B physical, or not reporing Physical sector size at all. This means any operating system, including 4kB-aware one, is not able to recognize, what physical sector size HDD realy use.

The jumper you mentioned does not on and off the 512B emulation, but it moves LBA numbers +1. Obsolete Windows XP start first partition at LBA63, which is not aligned, when you use 4kB physical sector. Such a physical sector contains 8 logical (512B) sectors, thus you have to start at multiple of 8. Starting from LBA0, it is LBA8, LBA16, LBA24 etc... So with WD jumper LBA0 is marked as LBA1 etc.... So the WXP starting point LBA63 is physicaly LBA64, and the partition is alligned. This is really ugly hack, since you can not properly install other moder systems on such jumper-crippled drive.

I am hoping that UEFI will fix all of these compatibility issues. but then again it will probably cause all new issues.

The problems described are mainly Windows driver related (binary chipset drivers from Intel, AMD, nVidia etc...). Updated drivers are able to operate larger drives.

GPT drives can't be read by XP, and can't be booted on a non-EFI system. That's the only real difference.

You'll need to use GPT nomatter what sized partitions you use if you want to use the full capacity of the drive.

This is not true. GPT drives can be booted on BIOS system (non-EFI boards). BIOS does not forbid this! This is problem of obsolete Microsoft (in fact MS-DOS) booloader and partitioning scheme.

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Hello, I have installed this WD30EZRSDTL drive to my Windows 7 x64 Dell T3400 as a secondary storage drive (non-booting), and am experiencing horribly slow write performance. This 3TB drive is replacing a 2TB Cavier Black drive, so my standard of comparison is starting high. I have not used the included PCIe HBA adapter card because when I first tried connecting the drive directly to the existing SATA cable the entire 3TB was recognized by the system. Take a look at the attached benchmark tests and let me know what I might do to improve performance. Compare the benchmark of this 3TB drive to the boot drive, a 300GB 15000rpm SAS drive. Thanks!

3TB Caviar Green: post-72698-0-48149400-1302136358_thumb.j

300GB 15K SAS: post-72698-0-21411300-1302136366_thumb.j

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That is incredibly low... like partition alignment off the map low. Have you used the wdalign tool yet to verify stuff is setup correctly?

Whups, my mistake. Even though the full 3TB is recognized by my Win7x64 system, the HBA circuit card is required for normal performance. Breathing easy with the HBA installed:

post-72698-0-71952100-1302210490_thumb.j

(also ran WB Align and it reported "no action required")

Edited by RalphE

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OK, reviving a somewhat older thread.

I'm in limbo and I want to ask the help of this forum. See, the prices of the WD 3TB drives have finally come to an acceptable level (for me). There used to be only the WD30EZRSDTL (which is the subject of this review), which is SATA300. However, I've noticed that WD has now also released a SATA600 version of this disk, the WD30EZRX. Apart from the SATA 6Gb/s interface, both disks seem to be identical. They cost about the same as well.

Now, logic would dictate that I should choose the 'fastest' of the drives, in this case the WD30EZRX, the 6Gb/s model. (I know this is only the interface and it really should not matter all that much - but if I can I like to be as future-proof as possible, hence why I'm considering this 6Gb/s model even if my mobo currently only has 3Gb/s interfaces)

BUT... As said, for now, I don't have a motherboard which features 6Gb/s interfaces... but my next motherboard surely will have those.

I also know the WD30EZRSDTL (3Gb/s) comes with a highpoint SATA interface card, however, the WD30EZRX (6Gb/s) does not.

I only want to use my new 3TB drive as a data drive, I do NOT intend to boot from it (I've got a nice SSD for that). I'm using Windows 7 on a P45 motherboard with a Core2 Duo E8500 CPU on it.

My question is... is that highpoint SATA card necessary for these drives to function correctly? Even if I will only use this drive as a data drive? (I know booting from it requires UEFI, again, I do not want to do this). Basically what I'm asking is: can I connect this WD30EZRX directly to the Intel ICH10 Southbridge of my motherboard? Or will I absolutely need that SATA card because the Intel southbridges are still not compatible with advanced format hard drives (IIRC, I've read this somewhere?), in which case I would probably save myself a lot of trouble if I would just buy the WD30EZRSDTL (3Gb/s) drive, which includes the Highpoint SATA card in its package?

Thanks a lot for your thoughts!

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