WD Caviar Black 2TB & VelociRaptor 600GB

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WD Caviar Black 2TB & VelociRaptor 600GB

October 10, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

WD Caviar Black WD2001FASS
2TB 3.5" HDD
WD VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX
600GB 2.5"/3.5" HDD
Sample Supplier
Street Price
US$170 US$280

For quiet storage on desktop computers we often recommend SSDs and "green" hard drives with rotational speeds of 5400~5900 RPM. Both are usually very quiet (or completely silent in the case of SSDs) and energy efficient, but there is a large capacity and speed gap between these two types of drives. SSDs are very fast but still very expensive per byte — those with enough storage to rival a desktop hard drive go for well over US$1000. "Green" drives are big and cheap, perfect for storing large amounts of data like high definition video but aren't quite as snappy as the 7200 RPM models found in the majority of desktop systems. Western Digital's Caviar Black 2TB and VelociRaptor 600GB are two hard drives that bridge the gap between speedy SSDs and high capacity green drives.

Caviar Black 2TB on the left, VelociRaptor 600GB on the right.

With dual processors and 64MB of cache on the larger models, Caviar Black is WD's premier performance desktop hard drive line (as opposed to the energy efficient Caviar Green and middling Caviar Blue). The first Caviar Black we reviewed in 2008 was loud and power hungry, but hopefully time has been kind and the new 2TB version is a refined, improved revision. We don't expect any miracles though — with mechanical hard drives speed usually comes at some acoustic cost.

For a brief period the best of both worlds was available in the VelociRaptor, a unique 10,000 RPM 2.5" enterprise drive packed in a 3.5" heatsink/enclosure. Removing it from its heatsink resulted in impressive acoustics at the time (though it voided the manufacturer warranty), and with its high spindle speed and small physical platters, it delivered top notch speed. With the arrival of faster 7200 RPM drives and SSDs, the 150GB and 300GB VelociRaptors have taken a big hit in popularity. The new higher capacity 600GB model may have better luck keeping the SSD invasion at bay.

Caviar Black 2TB vs. VelociRaptor 600GB
Model Number WD2001FASS WD6000HLHX
Capacity 2 TB 600 GB
Cache 64 MB 32 MB
Interface Serial ATA 3 Gbps Serial ATA 6 Gbps
Rotational speed 7,200 RPM 10,000 RPM
Platters 4 x 500 GB 3 x 200GB
Host to/from drive transfer rate (sustained) 138 MB/s 145 MB/s
Average latency 4.2 ms 3.0 ms
Average drive ready time 21 seconds 7 seconds
Weight 0.75 kg 0.49 kg
Power: Idle / Seek 8.2 W / 10.7 W 4.3 W / 6.4 W
Acoustics: Idle / Seek 29 dBA / 34 dBA 27 dBA / 37 dBA
Warranty 5 years 5 years

Both of our hard drive samples are fairly new, having rolled off their respective assembly lines in August.

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