WD Caviar Black 2TB & VelociRaptor 600GB

Storage
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DRIVE COMPARISON TABLE

Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
5,400 ~ 5,900 RPM DESKTOP DRIVES
Samsung EcoGreen F2 500GB HD502HI
February 2009
firmware 1AG01114
8
Idle
12
3.2 W
Seek (AAM)
15
5.3 W
Seek
16
6.1 W
Seagate Pipeline HD .2 1TB ST31000424CS
April 2009
firmware SC13
7
Idle
12
4.3 W
Seek
16
7.3 W
WD Caviar Green 1.5TB WD15EADS
November 2009
firmware 01.00A01
9
Idle
13
4.5 W (2.8 W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
14
5.8 W
Seek
Seagate Pipeline HD .2 500GB ST3500414CS
March 2009
firmware SC13
8
Idle
13
2.7 W
Seek
14
6.7 W
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADS
February 2009
firmware 01.00A01
7
Idle
13
6.4 W (4.0W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
6.5 W
Seek
13~14
6.5 W
Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB HD204UI
August 2010
firmware 1AQ10001
7
Idle
13
4.0 W
Seek
15
5.6 W
Seagate Pipeline HD 500GB ST3500321CS
July 2008
firmware SC14
6
Idle
14
4.1 W
Seek
15
6.9 W
Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB ST32000542AS
June 2009
firmware CC32
6
Idle
14
4.7W
Seek
17
7.9W
Samsung EcoGreen F3 2TB HD203WI
May 2010
firmware 1AN10003
7
Idle
15~16
4.7 W
Seek (AAM)
17~18
6.1W
Seek
18~19
6.9 W
7,200 RPM DESKTOP DRIVES
Seagate Pipeline HD Pro 1TB ST31000533CS
September 2008
firmware SC15
4
Idle
15
7.1 W
Seek
16
10.1 W
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB ST3500418AS
September 2009
firmware CC37
8
[muffled]
Idle
[16]
18
4.7 W
[muffled]
Seek
[18]
19~20
7.9W
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
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB ST31500341AS
October 2008
firmware SD17
4
Idle
17
8.8 W
Seek
19
10.7 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
10,000 RPM DESKTOP DRIVES
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

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 recordings start 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.

Comparatives:

CONCLUSIONS

Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB

The WD Caviar Black 2TB is a colossal improvement over the original 1TB model — power consumption, vibration, and noise have all been cut by a noticeable amount. Compared to current silent leaders, the 2TB Black HDD is still quite loud when seeking and isn't very energy efficient. That is the tradeoff when you want speed, and on that front it does not disappoint. It is perhaps the fastest 7200 RPM drive money can buy at the moment, outpacing both the Barracuda XT and old VelociRaptor in our tests. It even gives the new VelociRaptor a run for its money.

However, due to its seek acoustics, we can only recommend the Caviar Black 2TB if placed in a silencing enclosure or in an isolated PC. It sounds about on par with other 7200 RPM drives when sitting idle, but US$170 is a lot of money for a dedicated storage drive. A possible alternative is the Barracuda XT 2TB, priced at US$200. It is slightly slower, but its seeks are much more subdued.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600GB

The WD VelociRaptor 600GB is the fastest mechanical hard drive we've tested, beating out the Caviar Black by a hair. Its noise level and energy efficiency are more or less consistent with the earlier 300GB variant, but like its ancestor, its acoustics are only good when removed from its IcePack heatsink, which voids the manufacturer warranty. Mounted in the IcePack, the VR600 is louder than the 2TB Caviar Black by 2~3 dBA@1m.

When the VelociRaptor was first released we were amazed by how quiet it was removed from with its heatsink. While the new VelociRaptor sounds about the same, the noise of the best HDDs has improved significantly in the interim. After prolonged experience with SSDs and the latest "green" drives from WD and Samsung, the VR600's acoustics are not so impressive. It is only quiet if you void the warranty and sits idle — an even bigger waste considering its US$280 street price. With that kind of money one could purchase a fairly good SSD with enough left over for an additional storage drive larger than 600GB. The value equation for the VR600 does not really work at this time.

Many thanks to Western Digital for the Caviar Black 2TB and VelociRaptor 600GB samples.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Samsung EcoGreen F4 & Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB Hard Drives
Seagate Momentus XT: The Best of Both Worlds?
Samsung 2TB EcoGreen F3 Hard Drive
Western Digital Green 1.5TB vs. Seagate 7200.12 500GB
More 500GB notebook drives: Seagate 7200.4 & Hitachi 5K500.B
5900rpm Seagate Hard Drives: Barracuda LP, Pipeline HD .2

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