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Western Digital Caviar SE16 (WD3200AAKS)
Western Digital employs platters with highest density to date in new desktop drive

The hard drive capacity war isn't coming to any end anytime soon and it's obvious from the way the industry’s top manufacturers are raising the stakes. Western Digital is one of those key players and recently introduced a single-platter 320GB desktop hard drive. This new platter density falls slightly behind Samsung's high water mark of 334GB/platter.

The Caviar SE16 series will lead this new 320GB platter into the market starting with a single-platter 320GB desktop hard drive, model WD3200AAKS, that will feature a 16MB buffer and Native Command Queuing. All of the other specifications of this drive adhere to the Caviar SE16 line with a SATA 3.0 Gb/sec interface and a maximum buffer-to-disk transfer rate of 972 Mb/sec.

The single platter, 320GB model will no doubt pave the way for higher-capacity two and four platter drives in the future.

Pricing on the Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB (WD3200AAKS) is listed at $100, but a quick search on your favorite price search engine will show prices as low as $70 from various e-tailers.

Update 1/25/2008: According to a close source at Western Digital, the WD3200AAKS model number is currently in use for the single 320GB platter model as well as the double 160GB platter model until the latter is phased out of the lineup.

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By Polynikes on 1/25/2008 10:54:55 AM , Rating: 2
The reason to get one of these over other multi-platter drives of similar size would be, what, less heat emission?

RE: So...
By retrospooty on 1/25/2008 11:00:02 AM , Rating: 2
Higher density = faster. The 320G model is a one disk model. Soon they will release 2 and 4 disk models for a 1.3Gig drive.

RE: So...
By Ramshambo on 1/25/2008 11:54:25 AM , Rating: 2
1.3gig...1.3ter what are we suppose to call these now? TB is just too formal.

RE: So...
By Screwballl on 1/25/2008 12:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
TB should suffice.. maybe in a few years it will be a "Terr" or "tear" or we may just say "T B" or tee bee...
Either way 1.28TB in a single drive is impressive nowadays.

RE: So...
By ImSpartacus on 1/25/2008 3:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
I think 'tear' is probably pretty cool sounding. im sure the same thing happened with gig drives and such. i still have one of my dads old laptops with a 4 gig hdd.

RE: So...
By kkwst2 on 1/25/2008 6:54:48 PM , Rating: 3
Old? That's not old. I've still got my original IBM PC in my parent's basement that came with no HDD. It just had a full-height 5 1/4" floppy drive. A year or two later, I added a 20 meg hard drive. It was about half the size of a shoe box.

RE: So...
By MAIA on 1/25/2008 12:05:59 PM , Rating: 2
TiBi's ? Dunno ...

RE: So...
By MAIA on 1/25/2008 12:08:58 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm ... seems like we're on a similar trend ...

RE: So...
By zpdixon on 1/25/2008 12:43:19 PM , Rating: 2
I suggest 'teeb'.


RE: So...
By zpdixon on 1/25/2008 12:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
As in 'tee bee', 'TB'.

RE: So...
By noirsoft on 1/25/2008 12:45:07 PM , Rating: 3
I propose "terb"

RE: So...
By danrien on 1/25/2008 2:56:56 PM , Rating: 2

RE: So...
By shaw on 1/25/2008 3:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
1.3 TeaBags

RE: So...
By Dark119 on 1/25/2008 4:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
1.3Tera looks and sounds good to me.

RE: So...
By NullSubroutine on 1/26/2008 7:26:23 AM , Rating: 2
All suggestions in this thread are now copyrighted by me so now you all owe me 100 million dollars per use...muahahah. I will now go buy my sharks with lazer pointers attached to their friggin heads.

RE: So...
By MrBungle on 1/25/2008 10:34:50 PM , Rating: 3
How about... "They call me MISTER Tibbs!"

RE: So...
By drunkenmastermind on 1/25/2008 7:29:57 PM , Rating: 3
How about a "Terror Bite" and I would like the credit for coining the new name.

RE: So...
By Samus on 1/25/2008 6:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
There is virtually no need to cool this drive as heat output will be minimal. I have a 160GB single platter Samsung now in a USB enclosure with no cooling and its not even warm to the touch.

That screams more reliability in my oppinion...especially when you consider Dell still doesn't put any active cooling on their Desktop PC drive cages.

RE: So...
By mindless1 on 1/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: So...
By Samus on 1/28/2008 10:15:27 AM , Rating: 2
Then why do I replace deal Seagate's in Dell Dimension's on a daily basis?

I mention Seagate's because there is no room to argue they make the most reliable drives on the market. See SR's Drive Reliability Survey. The Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 and 7200.9 are the most reliable drive lines in their database by a vast margin.

Dell only recently started somewhat-correctly designing hard drive cages in their low end PC's. The problem has often been inadequately sized ventilation holes that clog quickly with dust, causing reduced airflow.

In reference to the largest recorded study of magnetic storage reliability ever conducted

adequately cooling drives is essential to prolonged lifespan. Ambient cooling and a 'good case' have nothing to do with this. You simply need a fan or a duct.

Furthermore, it is perfectly safe to assume these drives will run cooler. First, they consume far less power. Second, they spend most of their time (in a desktop environment) spinning somewhere around 5400RPM. Western Digital isn't very open about the specific spindle speed of their 'green' drives.

Dell doesn't use a fan or a duct. Their systems chew up drives. I know. I'm a tech and have to deal with fixing their crap every damn day. HP/Compaq is no better, so I guess I shouldn't pick on Dell...except they're the biggest and should know better.

RE: So...
By tehfire on 1/25/2008 11:10:54 AM , Rating: 3
All else being equal, the drive with fewer platters has less moving parts (heads, platters). This leads to less noise (caused by moving heads and the vibration caused by more platters) and less aerodynamic drag. This will make it quieter and because it has to fight the air just a little bit less, it will consume a bit less power and therefore run cooler.

We folks at SilentPCReview love low-platter designs </shameless self-promoting>

RE: So...
By murphyslabrat on 1/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: So...
By deeznuts on 1/25/2008 1:02:16 PM , Rating: 2
????? I'd be inclined to think a site that never went to any other site for news, research, gossip etc. is a site not worthy of my patronage.

You don't think Anand goes to other sites?

RE: So...
By TomZ on 1/25/2008 2:59:52 PM , Rating: 4
I think he spends most of his time at Tom's, LOL.

RE: So...
By ImSpartacus on 1/25/2008 3:18:25 PM , Rating: 1
tom's kicks ass, but i like silentpc too. then again, only DT and 'AT' (anandtech) have shortcuts on my browser.

RE: So...
By bobobeastie on 1/25/2008 4:16:52 PM , Rating: 3
Seriously? This Toms


RE: So...
By Samus on 1/28/2008 10:18:28 AM , Rating: 2

RE: So...
By murphyslabrat on 1/28/2008 9:49:54 AM , Rating: 2
It was a frieking joke, guys, come on!?!?!?

RE: So...
By Runiteshark on 1/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: So...
By PrezWeezy on 1/25/2008 8:09:30 PM , Rating: 3
Actually yes. Rotational drag (mostly when you have two objects rotating within close proximity) can cause the speed of the object to decrease. The motor trys to keep the speed constant and thereby has to work harder. Just because it doesn't have a lot of drag doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

RE: So...
By DeepBlue1975 on 1/25/2008 12:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
Besides what the user above me has said, fewer platters also mean less power consumption, a slightly better data access as the drive doesn't have to decide in which platter to look for the info.

And the most important one to me:

More platters = more likeability to break at any given time, as the combined probability of any single platter breaking is always higher than that of any single plate alone.

RE: So...
By DeepBlue1975 on 1/25/2008 12:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Oh well, I don't think I said that clearly at all.

But it's simple:

Lets say your disk has N platters, and the probability of any platter alone breaking is X, then:

The probability one or more of the N platters break is:

1- (1-x)^n

For example if one platter has a 0.2 chance of breaking in less than one year, then, if you've got 3 platters:

1- (0.8)^3 = 0.488 probabilities of breaking in a 3 platter design


0.2 probability of breaking in a single platter design

RE: So...
By roastmules on 1/25/2008 5:57:31 PM , Rating: 2
It would actually be .2 x 3 (platters) for a total of .6. Since any one or more of the platters' failure results in total failure.

RE: So...
By Octoparrot on 1/26/2008 9:16:00 AM , Rating: 2
No, Deepblue is correct. The probability of each platter failing is assumed to be independent of the others, so you can't simply multiply the individual platter failure rate by the number of platters. By your math, if we had 5 platters, the failure rate is 5 x 0.2 = 100% which is obviously wrong. The correct way to think of this is to use Deepblue's equation to say, each platter has a 1-x = 1-0.2= 0.8 chance of successful operation without failure in a year, so I've got to "roll" this 0.8 chance of success per platter, which is (0.8)^n for n platters.

If that still doesn't convince you, let me ask if the chance of getting one or more heads when flipping two quarters is 0.5 x 2 = 100%. Obviously, it isn't--it's 1-(0.5)^2 = 0.75 (because 0.25 of the time you get two tails).

RE: So...
By mindless1 on 1/26/2008 12:40:26 AM , Rating: 2
Since having a platter "break" isn't a typical failure mode we can mostly ignore this.

However it could be seen as related that the rotational friction generating heat along with the drag creating more motor and motor controller heat might lead to accelerating breakdown of the associated parts if the drive were allowed to overheat.

RE: So...
By DeepBlue1975 on 2/20/2008 8:57:51 AM , Rating: 2
Platters don't break, that's true...
But heads resting over them to read/write data and their corresponding actuators and step motors can break over time.

That's what I actually meant by "platter breaking". If any of the heads looses its ability to hover over a platter, that renders the disk unusable (happened to me with a maxtor some time ago).

Raptor Model?
By Goty on 1/25/2008 11:27:46 AM , Rating: 5
I wonder if it would be possible to introduce a Raptor model based on this platter? 320GB + 10K RPM in one drive? Please?

RE: Raptor Model?
By wannabemedontu on 1/25/2008 11:46:17 AM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah, that would be the sweet spot.

RE: Raptor Model?
By phattyboombatty on 1/25/2008 2:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's definitely time for an upgrade to the Raptor line. But, there still seems to be a large market for the existing Raptors, so I guess WD doesn't have much motivation to bring out anything new.

RE: Raptor Model?
By TomZ on 1/25/2008 3:03:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be ready for a 300GB Raptor. The 150GB is a bit too small by today's standards.

Actually, the 74GB Raptor was released in early 2004, and the 150GB Raptor in January 2006, so maybe it's time...

RE: Raptor Model?
By ImSpartacus on 1/25/2008 3:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
I just want a new raptor capacity to come out so the smaller ones get cheaper .)

but ~600gb of raptors in raid0 would be pretty sweet.

RE: Raptor Model?
By mindless1 on 1/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: Raptor Model?
By kg4alb on 1/26/2008 11:59:16 AM , Rating: 4
...or you could actually try Vista or do some actual research instead of being a sheep and believing all the misinformation you hear on the internet.

RE: Raptor Model?
By mindless1 on 1/27/2008 7:03:01 AM , Rating: 1
Same to ya, since it's a clear fact.

RE: Raptor Model?
By dflynchimp on 1/28/2008 9:47:58 AM , Rating: 2
clear fact my @$$. I'm no fanboy but I'm liking my Vista plenty. It's not better than XP for the most part, but it's not any worse (you do get DX10 support).

How is this "New"??
By SpaceRanger on 1/25/2008 10:56:02 AM , Rating: 3
The model # you reference in the article (WD3200AAKS) has been for sale now for quite some time (first Newegg Comment as of 3/28/07). How exactly is this "New"?? Did they reuse the old Model # for this "New" technology?

RE: How is this "New"??
By Griswold on 1/25/2008 11:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
Yes I think they did. They just toss it in the basket with the 2x160GB platter drives. Which sucks big time because it could prove to be somewhat tricky to not get one of the old models.

RE: How is this "New"??
By decalpha on 1/25/2008 11:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
Was really happy to see this news since I was in the market to buy a 500GB WD. Guess, I celebrated too soon as the Model Number remains the same :(

RE: How is this "New"??
By AWeav09 on 1/25/2008 4:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
Would it be possible to tell whether you have a 1x320GB drive or a 2x160GB drive once you have it in your possession? That is, without running benchmarks and comparing your results to known 2x160GB drives or actually opening up the drive and looking.

RE: How is this "New"??
By SpaceRanger on 1/25/2008 4:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
Good Question. I was looking for drives to buy today, and seeing this made me hold off on my purchase. Might just bite the bullet and get a different drive anyway...

strange wording
By Verran on 1/25/2008 10:36:06 AM , Rating: 4
This new platter density is the highest so far as it trumps platters used in many of the 1TB desktop hard drives today.

If it's the highest density so far, then wouldn't it stand to reason that it trumps the platters used in all the 1TB desktop hard drives?

RE: strange wording
By RussianSensation on 1/25/2008 10:58:58 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't the highest per platter design. Samsung beat WD to market a while back with Samsung F1 series and 334GB/platter density:

RE: strange wording
By mindless1 on 1/26/2008 12:43:50 AM , Rating: 2
That is a premature conclusion. Just becaues the drive has only 320GB capacity does not necessarily mean it's a lower density per platter than a 334GB platter. Hello? Haven't you ever noticed this about other drives, that they don't round up to some odd number instead of staying with the more traditional capacities? Plus, you're not accounting for spare sectors.

Are we sure this is new?
By AWeav09 on 1/25/2008 3:46:46 PM , Rating: 2
Or is the model number mentioned in the article incorrect?

Because if you look at the Newegg page on this ( it already has 326 reviews and the first one is from March 28, 2007...

RE: Are we sure this is new?
By AWeav09 on 1/25/2008 3:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
Disregard this, I just noticed there's a thread talking about the exact same thing.

$70 too high
By mindless1 on 1/26/2008 12:46:19 AM , Rating: 2
We can already get 320GB drives for about $70. Reducing # of platters to one should carry with it a corresponding decrease in cost. Fortunately this means all 320GB drives will now be devalued and drop in price if they're to remain competitive.

320gb raptor please
By FXi on 1/28/2008 9:23:49 AM , Rating: 2
10k or 15k raptor of 320gb and many an enthusiast would be very happy :)

Well Named
By Fnoob on 1/25/08, Rating: -1
RE: Well Named
By retrospooty on 1/25/2008 11:02:22 AM , Rating: 1
I have had more good caviar than any other manufacturer. I use strictly WD drives for my stuff. In 10 years and well over 100 systems built I have only had 2 failures. Both were easily replaced under warranty without effort.

RE: Well Named
By tehfire on 1/25/2008 11:14:55 AM , Rating: 2
When I build computers for others or am recommending drives, WD usually comes up, but in my personal experience I have had horrible luck with them. I probably had about 4 WDs in a span of 3 years die out on me, and they all were less than 2 yrs old. I have never had these problems with Seagate, so I stick with them. In terms of reliability Seagate and WD are pretty equal, but for some reason all my WDs die out :-/.

In all fairness the WD drives that I have put into friends' computers are all still happily spinning (and retaining data).

RE: Well Named
By SlingXShot on 1/25/2008 12:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
Do you keep the HDDs cool. You know the computer I built for my dad, the HDDs ran for like 9 years, just failed recently. It happened in one of the hot summer days, the door was closed, window closed, no AC, next thing one of the HDDs failed. Then few days later, the other HDD failed.

RE: Well Named
By TomZ on 1/25/2008 12:44:09 PM , Rating: 2
I seem to remember google releasing some statistics they had that showed that HDD reliability is not sensitive to higher temperature. That of course assumes you don't overheat them, though.

RE: Well Named
By Griswold on 1/25/2008 11:14:59 AM , Rating: 5
I think by know, it should be obvious that the sample size of any individual is by far not large enough to make a statistically waterproof claim about the quality of any given brand.

Buy what you trust in, but dont make definitive statements (and expect people to swallow it) about a whole brand just because you got unlucky with a couple drives.

RE: Well Named
By retrospooty on 1/25/2008 11:22:37 AM , Rating: 1
Well said.

RE: Well Named
By spluurfg on 1/25/2008 11:37:43 AM , Rating: 2
I've had drives die from just about every imaginable manufacturer... Quantum, Matrox, IBM (100%), Seagate, WD... plus non-failure issues...

I have to agree here -- you can't really make a claim on a small sample size. For me, IBM's were the only case where something was clearly and definitively defective on a design level (IBM GXP joy). There are user-submitted surveys which show the number of failure rates submitted for each manufacturer, but even this will be biased, as you will tend to have submissions from users who had hard drives fail. This will have a biased sample based on market share. It's hard to come up with an accurate, reliable, and random way of polling everybody.

RE: Well Named
By DarkElfa on 1/25/2008 2:43:58 PM , Rating: 2
The sweet spot will be when they hit 500gb platters, that will make 2tb drives good to go.

RE: Well Named
By darkpaw on 1/25/2008 4:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
IBM Deathstars were definitely a defective design. Prior to that I would have sworn by IBM drives over anything. During the reign of terror of those 75GB deathstars I saw crates and crates of refurb drives comes through the company I was working at.

RE: Well Named
By Belard on 1/26/2008 4:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
I remember those days... The IBM Deskstars 15/20/40GB drives were the fastest, reliable, quietest drives on the market. I never had one FAIL - EVER.

Then make the STAR-DUST 75 series, which effected 60GB & 75GB drives... what a mess. The click of death.

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