Western Digital's single-platter 320GB Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS

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SAMPLE #3

A day later, the third sample arrived, directly from WD, like the first. It is identical to the first sample, and measures and sounds like its twin. The manufacture date is the same: 17 January 2008.

The 640GB 2-platter sample that arrived at the same time has a casting similar to the 320GB samples, but a cover that's the same as the second sample, from Anitec. It is considerably heavier (603g) and the support ribs on the casting are much more substantial.

So what can be said about the two versions of the single-platter 320GB?

1. It's clear that the batch of WD3200AAKS-00B3A0 samples released to the WD PR department are probably all manufactured on the same day, 17 Jan 2008. They probably all share the same characterstics, acoustically and electronically.

2. The second sample, obtained from Anitec Computers, is dated 24 Jan 2008. This sample clearly has superior acoustics. All the other WD3200AAKS-00B3A0 samples in stock at Anitec (7 at time of writing) are from the same batch, from the same date and have the same casing. It's probably safe to assume that they share the acoustic characteristics of the sample tested and detailed in the previous page.

3. It's not clear whether the drives that went to WD's PR department were the only ones of that batch, or whether part of that batch also went to customers in retail or OEM. If it was just a small batch, then WD probably doesn't track them. WD promise to get back to us with more information.

4. If you would prefer to have the second version of the drive we tested, just check the number of supporting ribs on the casting underside of the drive. That's probably the only way to be sure.

5. In the meanwhile, inquiries have been sent to stores, and to reviewers who have examined WD3200AAKS-00B3A0 samples to find out more about the distribution of these two versions. A poll will be started in the SPCR forums as well. (WD Caviar SE16 single-platter 320GB hard drive users poll.)

COMPARISONS

DRIVE NOISE EVALUATION
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured Power
WD Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS-00B3A0
January 24, 2008
firmware 01.03A01
SAMPLE #2
6~7
Idle
21
4.6 W
Seek (AAM)
22
5.8 W
Seek (Normal)
22~23
5.8 W
WD Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS-00B3A0
January 17, 2008
firmware 01.03A01
SAMPLE #1
6
Idle
24 / 22*
4.9 W
Seek (AAM)
24 / 22*
5.9 W
Seek (Normal)
25 / 23*
6.0 W
* SPL varied depending on which side of the drive faced the microphone. See text.
REFERENCE DRIVES
Samsung F1 3D
HD753LJ
February 2008
firmware 1AA01109
5
Idle
21
7.8 W
Seek (AAM)
22
8.9 W
Seek (Normal)
23
9.7 W
Seagate Barracuda
7200.11 ST31000340AS
December 2007
firmware SD15
3
Idle
23~24
7.8 W
Seek (Normal)
24~25
11.6 W
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS
March 2006
firmware 07.02E07
4
Idle
21
8.5 W
Seek (AAM)
21-22
8.6 W
Seek (Normal)
23
10.7 W
Western Digital Caviar Green Power WD7500AACS
October 2007
firmware 01.01B01
7
Idle
19~20
3.3~5.9 W
Seek (AAM)
19~20
5.4 W
Seek (Normal)
21
6.7 W
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 HDS721010KLA330
June 2007
firmware GKAOA70M
5
Low RPM Idle
20-21
3.6 W
Idle
24
8.5 W
6.2 W (unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
24
11.7 W
Seek (Normal)
26-27
15.4 W
Seagate Barracuda IV
ST340016A - firmware 3.10
discontinued
6
Idle
20
6.7 W
Seek (AAM)
23
11.3 W
Seek (Normal)
25-26
11.6 W
Samsung Spinpoint P80 (Nidec motor)
June 04 - firmware TK100-24 - discontinued
4
Idle
21
6.3 W
Seek (AAM)
23-24
8.3 W
Seek (Normal)
25-26
9.1 W

Aside from the obvious leader, the 5400 RPM WD Green Power, three 7200 RPM drives stand out at the top of the acoustics ladder: The second sample of the single platter WD Caviar SE16 320GB, the earlier 4-platter WD Caviar SE16 500GB, and the 3-platter Samsung F1 3D HD753LJ 750GB.

AN ASIDE: You might think that it's cheeky for us to mention the Samsung F1 when we haven't published a review of yet. But as you might guess, the review is in process, and the F1's acoustics are confirmed. The only question that remains is whether it uses three 250GB platters or three 334GB platters with portions disabled. Data transfer speed would be affect by the areal density, which is why this question is worth answering. It requires a 1,000GB F1 model to answer... and they're hard to find. We're awaiting a sample now.



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