Print 33 comment(s) - last by SPOOFE.. on Nov 26 at 6:24 PM

It's the first to hold both drives separately in one laptop drive (and it's not a hybrid)

WD released a new laptop drive today that is the first to have two internal drives in one, offering both large data storage capacity and a regular hard drive for data. 

WD, which is a Western Digital company, unveiled the WD Black2 Dual Drive today. It features a 120GB solid-state drive (SSD) as well as a 1TB hard drive (HDD) as a secondary data drive -- all combined into one 2.5-inch, 9mm-thick standard laptop drive. Finally, laptops can now obtain large data storage capacity and enhanced performance much like a desktop.

“Our customers told us they like our Solid State Hybrid Drive technology, but our tech savvy users asked for more control of where they store their data,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of WD’s Storage Technology business unit. “The WD Black2 dual drives empower our customers to enjoy SSD performance and access high capacity storage in a no-compromise package. The WD Black2 dual drive is a direct result of our interaction with our customer base through WD Labs initiatives. WD devised its beta labs program to provide an exclusive testing arena for key customers and technology influencers of existing and emerging WD storage products." 

[Image Source: PC Perspective]

The WD Black2 doesn't merge the two drives inside, which places it outside the realm of being a solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD). Both drives are two, separate volumes (it's worth noting that it can be used as a hybrid drive, but WD recommends using them separately). 

Oh, and it only works on Windows machines for now (Windows XP to Windows 8.1, to be exact). Sorry, Macs. 

You can snag the unique WD Black2 Dual Drive starting today for $299.

Source: WD

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By maikelmox on 11/25/2013 1:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
Everybody seems to not realize it but Microsoft Readyboost provides a very nice way to dedicate up to 32GB of an SSD to caching purposes. Best of all, it comes included free in Windows Vista, Win7 and Win8.
It was of little use when Windows Vista launched as there were only small, slow and expensive SSDs at the time, mostly USB pendrives, but with the evolution of SSDs it has become a nice little tool inside Windows.
In any case, it is always best to directly install the OS and paging file in the SSD.

RE: Cache
By retrospooty on 11/25/2013 3:05:15 PM , Rating: 3
Readyboost sucks badly... It's best way to go is to get a good sized SSD and install Windows on it, and all of your apps. For most people that will be 25-50GB max. If you have alot of games, and/or large amounts of media that would put you over your SSD size limit, they go on a HDD.

RE: Cache
By maikelmox on 11/25/2013 3:28:38 PM , Rating: 2
Something included free sucks badly? Does not seem a big issue to me, and may still be useful to some.
In my case, I am too busy/lazy to reinstall my SO in a small SSD and figure out which apps move in there and which ones not... I used readyboost and the end result is very good and it took 5 minutes to setup.
I agree with you in that with 60GB or more of SSD space available you should preferably go for a direct install of the OS and not caching.
But there is no more cost-effective caching than "free" caching, and few people seems to know it.

RE: Cache
By retrospooty on 11/25/2013 4:22:32 PM , Rating: 3
"Something included free sucks badly"

Yes, just ask the 3+ billion users with the Java IE plugin and free ASK toolbar. (I don't know which one is actually worse) ;)

But I agree with what you said... If you are too busy or lazy to re-install your OS and/or don't want to buy an SSD over 60gb, then it's a decent alternative. But I still maintain that anyone that has the ability to add in a small SSD and set up readyboost would be far better served by getting a larger drive and installing Windows on it completely. Far better results.

RE: Cache
By ritualm on 11/25/2013 7:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
Everybody seems to not realize it but Microsoft Readyboost provides a very nice way to dedicate up to 32GB of an SSD to caching purposes.

Negative. It uses USB thumb drives (either USB2 or USB3), and the max speed on those things don't break 150MB/s without more expensive hardware - by that point, actual SSDs are cheaper per GB. Furthermore, thumb drives aren't optimized for the random read/writes that make a HDD-based system slow.

I've used ReadyBoost in Vista64 with a HDD. As soon as I migrated the system to a SSD, that became redundant. Also, negative on "small, slow and expensive SSDs" - I've fit the entirety of that Vista64 install, plus a full Everquest install (10GB+ by itself) on a 80GiB SSD partitioned down to 64GB usable. My system became more responsive doing many things at once. That alone was worth more than the high entry price on those SSDs.

RE: Cache
By Reclaimer77 on 11/25/2013 7:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah the best thing to do with an SSD is turn ReadyBoost off entirely. The Intel SSD Toolbox does that and kills Superfetch, so it's probably a good idea.

RE: Cache
By maikelmox on 11/26/2013 12:58:17 AM , Rating: 2
Readyboost running based on a USB Thumbdrive sucks, I totally agree.

But it can be activated also on SATA volumes.

Readyboost running based on a small internal SATA SSD and used to cache the data on a much larger HDD = "free" cache software readily available to everyone (well, you already paid for it).

If you can afford a >64GB SDD and have the time to reinstall your system, I also agree, any form of cache is mostly redundant.

Too expensive
By mik123 on 11/25/2013 4:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Too expensive
By Reclaimer77 on 11/25/2013 4:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
Agree. Interesting concept, but just not nearly good enough for that price for what you are getting.

That Toshiba looks okay, not sure how it performs. You can also get a Samsung Evo 500gb for a little more than this thing, and it DESTROYS it in every way.

RE: Too expensive
By ranran on 11/25/2013 5:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
A bit expensive yes, but the point isn't to get two separate drives. The point is to get two drives fitting in *one* slot for someone's laptop. Someone who doesn't want to give up their DVD slot and doesn't have a functional mSATA port. Someone, perhaps, like ME with a Dell latitude e6520 who is frustrated beyond belief that Dell has an internal Flash SATA port in this thing that DOESN'T WORK with flash-based bootable storage devices.

Now I can have both the SSD speed for my OS/essential apps and the storage for all my other stuff.

If this goes on sale...I will be very very tempted to buy one....but I'm not sure I can afford it at this initial price point.

RE: Too expensive
By mik123 on 11/25/2013 6:32:16 PM , Rating: 2
You shouldn't need more than 500GB of storage on you laptop.

For example, your entire movie library doesn't belong on there, it should live on a NAS.

RE: Too expensive
By Reclaimer77 on 11/25/2013 6:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
For a laptop my biggest concerns are power consumption and data integrity.

Power consumption is easy. This thing is an absolute POWER HOG in comparison to an SSD or even a single HDD.

Reliability/durability = HUGE CONCERN! If I drop my laptop and the HDD fouls up, as they're known to do, will the rest of the system function? Will the SSD still work. And visa versa, if I loose the SSD, will I still have access to my HDD's data?

More details here:

RE: Too expensive
By SPOOFE on 11/26/2013 6:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
You shouldn't need more than 500GB of storage on you laptop.

Pssh, 640K ought to be enough for anybody!! Blargh, compute the way I compute, damn it all!!

RE: Too expensive
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/25/2013 8:07:53 PM , Rating: 2
PS4 compatible?
By One43637 on 11/25/2013 11:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
Wonder if it's compatible as a HD replacement for the PS4. They suggest not using it as a hybrid drive? I already bought the Seagate hybrid 1TB, but 120GB of SSD is too tempting.

RE: PS4 compatible?
By Mitch101 on 11/25/2013 11:55:05 AM , Rating: 2
Says it only works on Windows currently. I wonder what it would appear to other systems.

RE: PS4 compatible?
By Motoman on 11/25/2013 12:04:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have a feeling that the PS4 can't address more than one hard drive...and that's what this is. 2 drives in one package. Via one connector that apparently needs a special driver...

RE: PS4 compatible?
By retrospooty on 11/25/2013 12:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, I am sure it wouldnt work... That and the purpose would be diluted anyhow. The point of having an SDD and a HDD is to have Windows/OS and apps loaded on the SSD where its fast. You then have the larger hard drive to store movies, music, games etc, because they can take up alot of space. A console is a very small OS with a few tiny apps and a ton of games, so 128mb SSD would be pretty limiting.

RE: PS4 compatible?
By retrospooty on 11/25/2013 3:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
I just saw this test on a PS4 with a stock 500gb drive, a 256gb SSD and a 1TB haybrid (with only 8gb SSD onboard)...

The hybrid drive with only 8gb SSD, and the 256gb SSD had very close scores. The 500gb stock drive was slower, but not a ton. 60 seconds load down to 40 (and that was the worst case) is not much of a difference for going to SSD. I would just keep stock.

Sounds good but...
By MrBungle123 on 11/25/2013 11:03:34 AM , Rating: 2
Does this require a special drive cable or compatible SATA controller? or are there two separate SATA connections?

RE: Sounds good but...
By retrospooty on 11/25/2013 11:11:59 AM , Rating: 2
The product sheet says it has one legacy SATA connector...

"WD Black2 is free of caching algorithms and benefits from SATA 6 Gb/second interface speed. It is neatly packaged in a standard 9.5 mm, 2.5-inch form factor with legacy SATA connector,"

I was thinking (based on the wording), it was like master/slave and detects as 2 separate drives, not a hybrid, but I don't see it specifically mentioned either way.

RE: Sounds good but...
By ipay on 11/25/2013 11:21:38 AM , Rating: 1
One connector. Requires some specialized drivers to see the platter based drive.

RE: Sounds good but...
By Motoman on 11/25/2013 11:50:44 AM , Rating: 2
It had to be done with one connector...or else it would be compatible with 0% of the world's laptops.

It would be interesting to know though what the performance penalty is for running both drives through the same interface...although I guess that's fairly irrelevant granted that they didn't have a choice.

RE: Sounds good but...
By Lord 666 on 11/25/2013 11:05:00 PM , Rating: 2
It would be even more interesting if they ditched the rotational drive and paired it with an identical sized SSD to allow for Raid 1.

By retrospooty on 11/25/2013 10:49:44 AM , Rating: 2
I like this alot for a laptop. Most "hybrid" drives have a 24gb SSD built in, if that. This is the ideal setup, a 120gb HDD for Windows and apps, and 1tb for whatever storage needs you have.

RE: Nice!
By Solandri on 11/25/2013 1:14:46 PM , Rating: 2
Most laptops with a 24 GB SSD cache simply have a separate mSATA port that holds the SSD, in addition to a regular 2.5" HDD. You can replace the cache SSD with a 128, 256, or even 512 GB mSATA SSD, change a setting in the BIOS, and have two real drives in your system. No funky drivers needed.

This WD drive is for systems with only one SATA port and no mSATA port.

RE: Nice!
By retrospooty on 11/25/2013 1:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
I know, but that is separate, and only for laptops that have the mSata port built in... A "hybrid" drive has the small SSD built on to the drive, but they operate together as a single volume and can be used on any PC/LT with SATA.

Too bad...
By bupkus on 11/25/2013 3:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
the 2 drives can't be cracked apart for when the non-SSD part fails and replaced with another disk drive that will then fail as well.

RE: Too bad...
By retrospooty on 11/25/2013 4:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
LOL. I know it seams that way sometimes, but most hard drives do last well over 5 years. Not near as reliable as SSD, but it isnt that bad unless you are buying bargain basement crap... Or low end Dell's (who bought bargain basement crap to put in it).

WD got it right!
By MWink on 11/25/2013 11:19:34 AM , Rating: 2
This is exactly how I thought they should make them. I've been wondering why no company made them like this before. I'm glad WD is doing this as I prefer them to any other drive manufacturer.

looking for thinner drive
By XZerg on 11/25/2013 11:26:01 AM , Rating: 2
given the more common trend of thinner laptops/ultrabooks, a 5mm or 7.5mm would have been better. Sure it would mean lower hdd capacity due to fewer platters used but it would cater to those systems and above as well.

Terrible Picture
By puter_geek_01 on 11/25/2013 12:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
That picture reminds me of when Cartman gets an anal probe and has explosive diahrea.

Short on specifications...
By typicalGeek on 11/25/2013 4:45:00 PM , Rating: 2
I did some digging on WD's website and these drives are awfully short on specifications. While the read/write maximums are given as 350/140 MB/s obviously that's only for the SSD. I can't find ANY information about the HDD other than it holds 1TB, and the cache size is listed as "N/A". I have an idea that the HDD performance numbers on this drive are pretty low (likely dismal w/no cache) relative to other 2.5" 1TB drives.

Given that a "typical" 1TB laptop drive costs about $100, and a 128GB SSD is about the same, $300 seems to be quite expensive for this dual drive. Might be o.k. for a niche product for those that require >1TB of storage on laptops that only have one drive bay, but other than that I think the typical user would be better served spending the money on a pure SSD solution. (Some 512G SSDs are around $300 on sale.)

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