Western Digital Green 1.5TB vs. Seagate 7200.12 500GB

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1.5TB Caviar Green vs. 500GB Barracuda 7200.12

December 9, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS
1.5TB Desktop Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS
500GB Desktop Hard Drive
Sample Supplier
Market Price
~US$110 ~US$55

The last Caviar Green we reviewed was the 2TB WD20EADS, and like the rest of the line, it proved to be extremely energy efficient and quiet thanks mainly to its low rotational speed of ~5400rpm. Even though the drive had 4 platters, it measured just 2~3 dBA above our anechoic chamber's noise floor. However, the level of vibration was a touch higher than we would have liked, so hopefully the 3-platter WD15EADS can improve upon that. It also happens to be the best bang-for-your-buck drive at the moment, retailing for only $110. The 2TB and 1TB versions are priced at $200 and $85 respectively.

The Barracuda 7200.12 is a whole different animal, a performance drive spinning at 7200rpm, which as a rule, isn't as good for noise. The 500GB variant is of interest as it is a single-platter drive, and the old adage that fewer platters equates to better performance and lower noise is alive and well. All things equal, having only one spinning disc inside a drive will generate less noise, but how the drive is encased can ruin the advantage — our examination of the WD Caviar SE16 320GB is a perfect example of this. Fortunately, the last two single-platter drives to come through our labs, the 5400rpm Samsung EcoGreen 500GB and 5900rpm Seagate Pipeline HD .2 500GB had impressive acoustics, though their low rotational speeds certainly didn't hurt. The 7200.12 can't hope to compete with these drives, but it still has the potential to win a best-in-class award.

Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB

The WD Caviar Green 1.5TB.

WD Caviar Green WD15EADS: Key Features & Benefits
(from Western Digital's product web page)
Reduced power consumption - WD has reduced power consumption by up to 40 percent compared to standard desktop drives with the combination of WD's IntelliSeek, NoTouch, and IntelliPower technologies. Whatever the main contributor, the power efficiency of their Green drives is undisputed.
Helps enable eco-friendly PCs - WD Caviar Green drives yield an average drive power savings of 4-5 watts over standard desktop drives making it possible for our energy-conscious customers to build systems with higher capacities and the right balance of system performance, ensured reliability, and energy conservation. While 4-5 watts may sound low, in a server farm this can certainly add up.
Cool and quiet - GreenPower™ technology yields lower operating temperatures for increased reliability and low acoustics for ultra-quiet PCs and external drives. Lowering the spindle speed is a big reason for these improvements.
Massive capacity - Capacities up to 2 TB offer the most available capacity for storage-intensive programs and space-hungry operating systems, like Window Vista®, with plenty of room left over for photos, music, and video. 2TB is nice, but the 1.5TB model offers a much better capacity to cost ratio.
Perfect for external drives - External drive manufacturers can eliminate the need for a fan in a high-capacity product with a WD Caviar Green drive, the coolest and quietest in its class. Hard-mounted in a stuffy enclosure, such a drive would be the perfect fit.
IntelliPower - A fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance WD's literature lists the possible speed range as 5400~7200 RPM, but all our samples have spun at or close to 5400 RPM.
IntelliSeek - Calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise, and vibration. Just-in-time seeking that lets the seek head move more slowly when it would otherwise have to wait for the latency of the spindle. Should be good for reliability as well.
NoTouch ramp load technology - The recording head never touches the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit. Not only does this reduce wear and tear, but it also lowers the risk of accidental damage.
Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) - Employs PMR technology to achieve even greater areal density. Sstandard.
StableTrac™ - The motor shaft is secured at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilize platters for accurate tracking, during read and write operations. (2 TB models only) Vibrations are less of a problem for sub 7200 RPM drives.
Low power spin-up - WD Caviar Green drives consume less current during startup allowing lower peak loads. Measuring spin-up power consumption is very difficult to confirm.
Advanced power technology - Electronic components deliver best-in-class low power consumption for reduced power requirements and increased reliability. Sounds good.

WD Caviar Green WD15EADS: Specifications
Capacity 1.5 TB
Cache 32 MB
Disks / Heads 3 / 6
Interface SATA 3Gb/s
Spindle Rotation Speed IntelliPower
(5400 RPM)
Sustained Data Rate OD 110 MB/s
Weight 730 grams
Power Requirements:
Standby & Sleep / Idle / Read & Write
0.80W / 3.70W / 6.00W
Idle / Quiet Seek / Performance Seek
25 / 26 / 29 dBA

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