Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps review

WD's lastest take on the newest SATA 6Gbps standard

Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps
A terabyte drive on the latest SATA standard

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Western digital caviar black 1tb sata 6gbps

With SSDs grabbing all the headlines, it's easy to forget about the incredible innovations and technological advances in the latest magnetic hard drives.

One trick the Caviar Black has for increasing capacity, for instance, is perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR). This aligns the data bits vertically instead of horizontally, allowing them to be packed closer together.

PMR is a feature widely used by most hard drive makers today.

A more recent innovation from Western Digital is Dual Actuator Technology. WD has added a second, smaller actuator arm to their drives' existing actuator arm.

In simple terms, this gives both more rapid and accurate control of the read head and in turn faster performance and larger capacity. It's a feature that was previously only available in WD's larger 2TB drives but is being trickled down into smaller and cheaper drives.

The Caviar Black 1TB's other significant extra is support for the latest 6Gbps SATA interface.

That's twice as fast as the SATA 3Gbps maximum data transfer. However much performance this drive cranks out, you can be sure it won't be the SATA interface slowing it down.

Despite all that, however, the Caviar Black 1TB can't compete with a decent SSD for performance, both synthetic and real world.

It's nearly three times slower than Patriot's Inferno 100GB in our file decompression test. Western Digital's own Velociraptor 600GB, one of the fastest magnetic hard disks on the planet, also leaves it standing.

Moreover, given the relatively sedate sequential read and write performance of 150MB/s and 136MB/s, it's clear that the Caviar Black's SATA II 6Gbps capability is redundant.

We liked:

WD's new Caviar Black isn't the cheapest 1TB drive on the market, but it is competitively priced and delivers usefully more performance than cheaper 5,400rpm drives.

With 64MB of cache, dual processors and actuators, perpendicular recording and more, it's seriously feature packed.

If you need maximum storage and can't afford an array of SSDs, the Caviar Black delivers reasonable performance.

We disliked:

Despite all the technology, the Caviar Black 1TB can't keep up with an SSD or even WD's own VelociRaptor hard disk.

Ultimately, it's better suited for mass storage than running operating systems and applications.

Final word:

For ultimate performance, SSDs rule. But WD's Caviar Black combines huge capacity with reasonable performance at a very attractive price point.


Manufacturer: Western Digital

Type: 3.5-inch hard drive

Capacity: 1 terabyte

Interface: SATA 6Gbps

Cache: 64MB

Spindle speed: 7,200 RPM


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