Terabyte Round III: WD Caviar Green Power WD10EACS

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TEST RESULTS

Our sample was tested according to our standard hard drive testing methodology. Our methodology focuses specifically on HDD noise, and great effort is taken to ensure it is comprehensively measured and described. Performance is not tested, for reasons discussed in detail in the methodology article. For comprehensive HDD performance testing results, we recommend Storage Review, who have established a long reputation as the specialist in this field. Their review of the Western Digital Green Power can be found in a roundup of several terabyte drives.

Our test drive was compared against our reference drives, the Seagate Barracuda IV and Samsung Spinpoint P80, which are profiled in our methodology article. To get a good idea of where the drives in this review stand, it is important to read the methodology article thoroughly. It was also compared against our current low-noise champ: A 500 GB Western Digital WD5000KS. A 250 GB Spinpoint P120 was also included in the comparison.

Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:

  1. Airborne acoustics
  2. Vibration-induced noise.

These two types of noise impact the subjective perception of hard drive noise differently depending on how and where the drive is mounted.

Both forms of noise are evaluated objectively and subjectively. Both the subjective and objective analyses are essential to understanding the acoustics of the drives. Airborne acoustics are measured using a professional caliber SLM. Measurements are taken at a distance of one meter above the top of the drive using an A-weighted filter. Vibration noise is rated on a scale of 1-10 by comparing against our standard reference drives.

A final caveat: As with most reviews, our comments are relevant to the sample we tested. Your sample may not be identical. There are always some sample variances, and manufacturers also make changes without telling everyone.

Ambient conditions at the time of testing were 18 dBA and 20°C.

DRIVE NOISE EVALUATION
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 is best)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
Measured Power
Western Digital Caviar Green Power WD10EACS
December 2007
firmware 01.01B01
8
Idle
19~20 dBA@1m
5.7 W
(3.7W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
19~20 dBA@1m
6.7 W
Seek (Normal)
21 dBA@1m
7.5 W
Western Digital Caviar Green Power WD7500AACS
October 2007
firmware 01.01B01
7
Idle
19~20 dBA@1m
3.3~5.9 W
Seek (AAM)
19~20 dBA@1m
5.4 W
Seek (Normal)
21 dBA@1m
6.7 W
REFERENCE DRIVES
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS
March 2006
firmware 07.02E07
4
Idle
21 dBA@1m
8.5 W
Seek (AAM)
21-22 dBA@1m
8.6 W
Seek (Normal)
23 dBA@1m
10.7 W
Seagate Barracuda IV
ST340016A - firmware 3.10
6
Idle
20 dBA@1m
6.7 W
Seek (AAM)
23 dBA@1m
11.3 W
Seek (Normal)
25-26 dBA@1m
11.6 W
Samsung Spinpoint
P120 SP2504C

September 05 - firmware VT100-33
5
Idle
21 dBA@1m
7.2 W
Seek (AAM)
23-24 dBA@1m
9.4 W
Seek (Normal)
23-24 dBA@1m
10.3 W
Samsung Spinpoint P80 (Nidec motor)
June 04 - firmware TK100-24
4
Idle
21 dBA@1m
6.3 W
Seek (AAM)
23-24 dBA@1m
8.3 W
Seek (Normal)
25-26 dBA@1m
9.1 W
Samsung Spinpoint P80 (JVC motor)
Feb 05 - firmware TK200-04
6
Idle
21 dBA@1m
6.2 W
Seek (AAM)
25 dBA@1m
n / a
Seek (Normal)
27 dBA@1m
9.3 W

No noise difference between the two WD Green Power drives could be measured — and none could be heard either. A few minor differences showed up after thorough examination, but these are unlikely ever to be noticed outside of our lab. For example, the terabyte drive vibrated slightly less, but with the 750GB model's already minuscule amount of vibration, the difference wasn't enough to be audible. In any case, the cause of the difference is most likely to be sample variance than any fundamental difference between the two capacity points.

Seek noise in the terabyte drive was slightly sharper, with less underlying rumble. This difference was clearly audible on our test bench, but considering how quiet the seek noise is on both models, it's probably meaningless in a real system.

Some small differences in power consumption were also evident. Predictably, the terabyte drive consumed more power — about a watt during seeking. Both drives consumed 3.7W in idle, but our terabyte sample did not exhibit the odd fluctuations in idle power that made measuring the 750 GB model so difficult.

All in all, we are pleased (and relieved) to find that the terabyte drive is so similar to the 750 GB model. This may be the first time we've ever been able to say that the quietest drive on the market is also one of the largest. The terabyte Green Power will find a permanent home in SPCR's home theater test system.

Many thanks to Western Digital for the Caviar Green Power sample.

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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
SPCR's Hard Drive Testing Methodology
SPCR's Recommended Hard Drives
Western Digital 750 GB Green Power
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500 GB: Big, Low Noise Champ?
Samsung Spinpoint T Series: Successor to a Quiet Legacy

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