WD VelociRaptor 1TB and Scorpio Blue 500GB

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Acoustics & Power Consumption



WD VelociRaptor 1TB acoustics.

In idle, the 1TB VelociRaptor's acoustic character was very similar to older versions. At close proximity, it had a slight, but distinct whine that sounds almost electrical, alongside the usual whirl that most drives with spinning discs produce. Its seeks were incredibly sharp and frequent, chattering away like a frantic hail storm. In seek, it measured 32 dBA@1m, the highest level we've recorded for a drive.



WD VelociRaptor 1TB (bare) acoustics.

Taken out of its IcePack mounting frame, the VelociRaptor's acoustics improved considerably, particularly during seek, where it dropped 5 dBA. The frequency also lowered somewhat, making it sound substantially less harsh. The previously noted whine seemed to be caused by the metal-on-metal contact between the drive and frame as it disappeared almost completely when the drive was tested bare.



WD Scorpio Blue 500GB acoustics.

The Scorpio Blue 500GB also set an acoustic record but for quietest idle notebook hard drive. It measured just 12 dBA@1m, barely above our anechoic chamber's noise floor and it sounded completely benign with just a gentle hum. Seeks were audible but very soft and quiet.

Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
WD VelociRaptor.
300GB WD3000GLFS

May 2008
firmware 03.03V01
7
[bare]
Idle
[15]
3.9 W
[bare] Seek
[22]
6.2 W
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 1TB WD1000DHTZ
March 2012
firmware 04.06A00
7
[bare]
Idle
[16~17]
18
4.0 W
[bare]
Seek
[27]
32
5.3 W

While the new VelociRaptor delivers some substantial performance benefits over its predecessors, the noise it generates is a big step backward. In idle mode, it wasn't too bad, only 1~2 dB louder than the 600GB version we reviewed two years ago, depending on whether the drives were bare or mounted in their 3.5 inch frames. Unfortunately, the seek noise of the mounted 1TB model is the easily the highest we've measured by about 4 dB. Power consumption and vibration levels were fairly good, similar to the older model.

Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured
Power
WD Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000LPVT
March 2012
firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
12
0.79 W (0.69 W heads unloaded)
Seek
14~15
1.65 W
WD Scorpio Blue 1TB WD10JPVT
July 2011
firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
15
0.89 W (0.75 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
1.86 W
WD Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000BEVT
September 2008
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15
0.95 W (0.8 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
2.5 W
WD Scorpio Blue 640GB WD6400BEVT
September 2009
firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15~16
0.87 W (0.74 W heads unloaded)
Seek
16
1.95 W

The WD5000LPVT is quieter and more energy efficient than previous iterations of WD's Scorpio Blue line. It is particularly impressive against the model it's meant to replace. Our four year old WD5000BEVT sample used 20% more power in idle, and an astonishing 52% more in seek. The vibration level of the new drive was also excellent, similar to its 1TB brother.

One unusual thing we noticed about the new Scorpio Blue 500GB is that it puts itself completely to sleep after 20 seconds of idle operation, in addition to parking its head after 8 seconds, which is a typical power saving method for a notebook hard drive. The sleep function seems to be firmware-level, as this behavior persisted even when the drive was not connected to a system with a data cable.



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