Western Digital Green 1.5TB vs. Seagate 7200.12 500GB

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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5 to 10 seconds of ambient noise, then 10 second segments of the drive in the following states: idle, seek with AAM enabled (if applicable), and seek with AAM disabled (if applicable).

  • Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB WD15EADSIdle: 13 / Seek (AAM/Normal): 14 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB ST3500418ASIdle: 18 / Seek: 19~20 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB ST3500418AS (muffled) Idle: 16 / Seek: 18 dBA@1mOne Meter

Comparatives:

  • Samsung F2 EcoGreen 500GB HD502HIIdle: 12 / Seek (AAM): 15 / Seek (Normal): 16 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate Pipeline HD .2 1TB ST31000424CSIdle: 12 / Seek: 16 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate Pipeline HD .2 500GB ST3500414CSIdle: 13 / Seek: 13~14 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADSIdle: 13 / Seek (AAM): 13 / Seek (Normal): 13~14 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate Pipeline HD 500GB ST3500321CSIdle: 14 / Seek: 15 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate Pipeline HD Pro 1TB ST31000533CSIdle: 15 / Seek: 16 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB ST32000542ASIdle: 15 / Seek: 17 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Western Digital Caviar Blue 640GB WD6400AAKSIdle: 16 / Seek (AAM): 16~17 / Seek (Normal): 18~19 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Samsung F1 750GB HD753LJIdle: 16 / Seek (AAM): 18~19 / Seek (Normal): 20~21 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB ST31500341ASIdle: 17 / Seek: 19 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Seagate 7200.11 1TB ST31000340ASIdle: 18 / Seek: 19 dBA@1mOne Meter
  • Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB WD1001FALSIdle: 21 / Seek (AAM): 21 / Seek (Normal): 25 dBA@1mOne Meter

CONCLUSIONS

The 1.5TB Western Digital Caviar Green is one of the most impressive drives to pass through our labs in a long time. Not only is one of the quietest hard drives we've tested, amongst 3.5" drives, its power consumption and vibration levels are unmatched. The entire Green series is excellent in all three of these areas, but with its current market price of only $110, the 1.5TB variant has the best capacity to dollar ratio. If you need a quiet, efficient, big, but not terribly fast drive, for say an enclosure, NAS device, or server, the WD15EADS fits the bill perfectly and will stretch your hard earned dollar the farthest.

The 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 was slightly louder than our 1TB and 1.5TB 7200.11 samples due to its hollow-sound acoustics of its casing. This problem counterbalances any noise advantage of a single spinning disc. We were able to suppress most of this annoyance by pressing a small weight against the top cover, and the end result was a fairly decent sounding if not exceptionally quiet drive. However, it had surprisingly low level of vibration, which has real world value. Hard drives are most commonly hard-mounted and unlike other 7200rpm models, the 500GB 7200.12 will transfer very little vibration to the surrounding structure and as a result, the overall system will sound much better. In addition, its performance was quite strong — not as high as a Velociraptor or a quality solid state drive, but pretty good for $55. It would be a decent choice if you wanted to eke out as much performance as possible from a budget system.

Many thanks to Western Digital and Seagate for the review samples.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
SPCR's Hard Drive Testing Methodology
SPCR's Recommended Hard Drives
More 500GB notebook drives: Seagate 7200.4 & Hitachi 5K500.B
Scythe Quiet Drive 2.5
5900rpm Seagate Hard Drives: Barracuda LP, Pipeline HD .2
Samsung F2 EcoGreen HD502HI: Silent 500GB 3.5" HDD
WD Caviar Green 2TB & Seagate Pipeline HD 500GB
Momentus 5400.6 & Scorpio Blue: Seagate & WD 2.5" HDDs at 500GB

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