WD Caviar Black 2TB & VelociRaptor 600GB

Storage
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ACOUSTICS

WD Caviar Black 2TB

The first generation 1TB Caviar Black was one of the loudest hard drive we've ever tested, measuring >21/25 dBA@1m (idle/seeking) in our anechoic chamber. While nowhere close to current quiet HDD leaders, the new 2TB version is a huge improvement, generating 5 dBA less when idle, and about 3 dBA less when seeking.


Sounding fairly smooth when idle, seek activity produces a lot more noise, both low and high frequency.

Sitting idle, the new WD Black mainly emitted the soft whoosh sound that can be heard from most modern hard drives, and measured 16 dBA@1m, about average for a 7200 RPM model. There was no audible whine or other undesirable tones emanating from the drive whether at a distance of one meter or one foot. The sharp clicks and soft thumps when seeking sounded much worse, measuring between 21 and 23 dBA@1m.

WD VelociRaptor 600GB

The VR600 is even louder when the Caviar Black 2TB, at least until its warranty is voided by liberating it from the IcePack heatsink. The bare drive sounds more less the same as the old 300GB version.


The drive's 10,000 RPM rotational speed creates a fundamental tone at ~167 Hz. Once removed from the heatsink, much of the higher frequency noise dissipates.

Sitting idle, the VelociRaptor measures 17~18 dBA@1m when mounted to the heatsink but only 14~15 dBA bare. It produces a slight high frequency hum that is audible even from one meter's distance in our anechoic chamber; it is much softer sounding when the drive is removed. Despite the heatsink being padded, there is still enough contact to amplify the drive's inherent vibration.


Once again the new VelociRaptor generates a lot more high frequency noise when encapsulated by the IcePack, this time during seek.

The 600GB VelociRaptor's seeks are much sharper than the WD Black's and is particularly bad when housed in the IcePack, measuring 24~26 dBA@1m. The drive is 3 dBA quieter in its bare form.

VIBRATION & POWER

COMPARISON: PERFORMANCE DRIVES
HDD
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
WD VelociRaptor 600GB WD6000HLHX
August 2010
firmware 04.05G04
7
[bare]
Idle
[14~15]
17~18
4.2 W
[bare] Seek
[20~22]
24~26
5.5 W
WD VelociRaptor 300GB WD3000GLFS
May 2008
firmware 03.03V01
(bare drive)
7
Idle
15
3.9 W
Seek (AAM)
20
5.7 W
Seek
22
6.2 W
WD Caviar Black 2TB WD2001FASS
August 2010
firmware 01.00101
6
Idle
16
6.3 W
Seek
21~23
10.5 W
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB ST32000651AS
May 2010
firmware CC13
7 / 8
Idle
17
7.0 W
Seek
18~19
7.9 W
WD Caviar Black 1TB WD1001FALS
July 2008
firmware 05.00K05
4
Idle
21
8.5 W
Seek (AAM)
10.9 W
Seek
25
11.0 W

The power difference between the new and old VelociRaptor is minor with the 600GB version using 0.3W more when idle and 0.7W less when seeking. Acoustically, the two are almost indistinguishable. The new VelociRaptor has more capacity, speed, and sacrifices little in the noise department.

The 2TB Caviar Black is a huge improvement in all areas over the first 1TB version from two years ago. By modern standards however, its acoustics are fairly loud and its energy efficiency is poor; the Black uses 2.6 W more than its Seagate analog.

Seek noise can typically be tamed by enabling AAM, and while both drives apparently support the feature, we were unable to enable it using either Hitachi Feature Tool or HD Tune Pro.



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