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Brian

Western Digital Updates Caviar Blue Hard Drives with SATA 6Gbps Interf

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Western Digital has announced the addition of SATA 6Gb/s interface support to their Caviar Blue line of 3.5" hard drives. The new Caviar Blue drives come in capacities from 250GB to 1TB.

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We just got one in today...looking into the platters as part of the review.

I hope you'll cover "Advanced Formatting" and benchmark unaligned partitions created on XP vs aligned partitions created with any of the available methods.

I'd also be curious if you can find any benchmark or contrived scenario where the drive performance would have been held back by 3 Gb/s SATA (ie is there any benefit in the current products other than marketing by calling these 6 Gb/s SATA).

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I hope you'll cover "Advanced Formatting" and benchmark unaligned partitions created on XP vs aligned partitions created with any of the available methods.

I'd also be curious if you can find any benchmark or contrived scenario where the drive performance would have been held back by 3 Gb/s SATA (ie is there any benefit in the current products other than marketing by calling these 6 Gb/s SATA).

I pretty much doubt this drive would benchmark differently regardless of SATA 3.0 or SATA 6.0. We are charting data for a LSI RAID review right now where one of the drives tested is the 600GB Velociraptor, and even that didn't change between interfaces.

Honestly I'd say this is more a marketing than performance thing for now. Most of the newer controllers support the faster interface, so why not just say it supports it.

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I am confused why WD is still putting out Caviar Blue drives. The differences aren't clear between Black and Blue drives.

The Blue line appears to be dying; The largest Caviar Blue is 1TB.

Well, in the mobile market the Caviar Blues and Blacks are both alive and well because there is no Caviar Green in the mobile market.

Edited by danwat1234

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The market is OEMs. End users aren't buying Blues, they're upgrading capacity or performance. But Dell, HP, etc are buying the Blues for their mainstream systems. The difference in price is significant, especially for value systems.

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I am confused why WD is still putting out Caviar Blue drives. The differences aren't clear between Black and Blue drives.

The Blue line appears to be dying; The largest Caviar Blue is 1TB.

Well, in the mobile market the Caviar Blues and Blacks are both alive and well because there is no Caviar Green in the mobile market.

There are clear differences. Twice the cache (64MB vs 32MB on some drives, 32MB vs 16MB on others), 3 year warranty for Blue and 5 year warranty for black, quicker "drive ready time", maybe others.

From 2008 we had

640GB            Black   Blue
Cache in MB      32      16  
Drive Ready Time 11 sec  13  
Warranty         5       3

Black = WD6401AALS

Blue = WD6400AAKS

From 2010 we have

Black = WD1002FAEX

Blue = WD10EALX

1TB              Black   Blue
Cache in MB      64      32  
Drive Ready Time 11 sec  13  
Warranty         5       3

And the seek mode 3 is claimed for the black only.

Acoustics

Idle Mode 28 dBA (average)

Seek Mode 0 33 dBA (average)

Seek Mode 3 29 dBA (average) (Black only)

and the quote below is from another board where we were discussing ready times the other day

Wow, I haven't ever seen a stop error for a SATA drive exceeding the 10 second limit. I didn't even know the spec called for a 10 second limit. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/977178 is an eye opener.
When you resume a computer from sleep or from hibernation, the SATA hard disk drivers require the SATA hard disks to be ready within 10 seconds. However, a large SATA hard disk may take longer than 10 seconds to be ready. In this situation, the resume operation times out.

Poor wording to assume that only "large" drives could exceed the limit. Many drives, no matter the capacity, have rated ready times in the 11+ second range.

Edited by dhanson865

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MrSpadge' date='09 December 2010 - 04:42 PM' timestamp='1291930972' post='265809']

Any information on platter density? Are the 500 GB and 1 TB models using 500 GB platters?

MrS

I have confirmation tonight from WD that the 1TB is using two 500GB platters and the 500GB should be a single platter. But don't get too attached as these things change as the drives get revised.

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Thanks Brian.

Regarding the interface: for HDDs it's alway just been either "marketing" or "better to error on the safe side", depending on your view. To me it's always been clear that the interface performance is totally irrelevant for real world HDD performance, as long as it's not bottlenecking STR. Sure, burst speed improves - but so what.

I think the reason we've been seeing interface upgrades well in advance to them being required is that such transitions take quite long- so why not prepare for them sooner rather than later (if it doesn't cost much)?

@danwat1234: the black also gets goodies like dual controllers (which, honestly, shouldn't be beccessary if your controller was good enough), dual stage actuators (which made the 2 TB Black one of the first drives with 500 GB platters at 7.2k rpm, even without advanced format) and faster access times (just moving the actuator a little faster -> louding "clicking noise" but slightly faster).

And the Blues are actually very solid drives. They've got WDs excellent firmware and great all-around balance, competitive price tag and are not hampered by 5.4k rpm. I'm glad to see them updated.

MrS

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