WD SE16 Caviar 640GB is now Blue

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TEST RESULTS

Our sample was tested according to our standard hard drive testing methodology. The test drive sample was compared against many other drives. Our methodology focuses specifically on HDD noise, and great effort is taken to ensure it is comprehensively measured and described. Performance is usually 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.

Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:

  1. Airborne acoustics
  2. Vibration-induced noise.

These types of noise impact the subjective perception of hard drive noise di fferently 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.


This sample came off the assembly line about one month behind the 320GB models we tested earlier.

Ambient conditions at time of testing were 17 dBA and 20°C.

ACOUSTICS & POWER

The WD 640GB is smooth and quiet in operation, very similar to the better acoustics version of its single-platter 320GB sibling, to WD's older 500GB Caviar SE16, and also to the Samsung F1 750GB and 1TB drives. It has no audible tonality (sharp peaks that rise more than a few decibels from the average) in idle, and certainly nothing high pitched. The overall sound is broadband, except for the 120Hz fundamental tone of its motor spinning at 7200 RPM. The drive came with AAM disabled, and in seek without AAM, it developed a slight audible tonality around 2.2 kHz. Although the seek noise was low in amplitude, it was sharp enough to be audible from a meter away in a quiet room. Turning the AAM on improved the seek noise quite audibly. The 2.2 kHz tonal peak faded, and the sound became both smoother and quieter. Recent hard drives have not been much improved acoustically by AAM; this drive benefits a bit more with AAM.

The level of vibration was also very low, matching the WD Green Power, a feat because the latter's 5400 RPM speed gives it a natural advantage. It has low enough vibration that soft grommet mounting may be enough to keep them from becoming an audible factor in most systems, but this is probably subject to sample variance and the mechanics of the particular PC case.

There are no surprises in the power profile. It draws a bit more power than the single platter model, a little less than most 3-platter models, and more than either the 5400 RPM WD Green Power or the 2.5" VelociRaptor.

DRIVE NOISE EVALUATION
Drive
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State
Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)
Measured Power
Western Digital WD6400AAKS
640GB February 2008
firmware 01.03B01
7
Idle
21
6.8 W
Seek (AAM)
22
8.1 W
Seek (Normal)
22
9.3 W
REFERENCE DRIVES*
WD VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS
(bare, w/o frame)
300GB, 10K RPM
15 May 2008
firmware 03.03V01
8
Idle
19
3.9 W
Seek (AAM)
20
5.7 W
Seek (Normal)
23
6.2 W
Western Digital WD3200AAKS
320GB (quieter casing)
February 2008
firmware 1AA01109
6~7
Idle
21
4.6 W
Seek (AAM)
22
5.8 W
Seek (Normal)
22~23
5.8 W
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD
March 2006
firmware 20.07P20
5
Idle
20
8.2 W
Seek (AAM)
27
12.2 W
Seek (Normal)
27
12.2 W
Samsung F1 3D
HD103UJ
1TB
February 2008
firmware 1AA01109
5
Idle
21
7.0 W
Seek (AAM)
22
8.8 W
Seek (Normal)
22
9.9 W
Seagate Barracuda
7200.11 1TB ST31000340AS
December 2007
firmware SD15
3
Idle
23~24
7.8 W
Seek (Normal)
24~25
11.6 W
WD Caviar SE16 500GB 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 750GB 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 1TB 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
* These drives are references in the sense of previously tested and known entitities to which newly tested products can be compared and contrasted against.



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