Print 55 comment(s) - last by mcnabney.. on Jan 29 at 8:37 PM

Western Digital cracks the 2TB barrier

Western Digital has announced its latest drive, a 2 Terabyte Caviar Green hard drive with 32 MB of cache and a seek time of 8.9ms. It runs between 7200 or 5400 RPM depending on load, which saves power.

Due to advances in Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), it is able to achieve this using a four platter design, with 500 GB per platter. Having fewer platters reduces power consumption as well.

WDC's previous capacity champion was only 1TB, so this new flagship has been anticipated for use in DVRs and archival systems. The model number is WD20EADS, and is being shipped to distributors this week.

In addition to the 2TB model, Western Digital is also launching a 1.5TB model (WD15EADS) to accompany its revised 1TB model (WD10EADS). Both also feature 32MB of cache, which helps to increase access speed to commonly accessed data.

"While some in the industry wondered if the end consumer would buy a 1 TB drive, already some 10 percent of 3.5-inch hard drive sales are at the 1 TB level or higher, serving demand from video applications and expanding consumer media libraries," said Mark Geenen, President of Trend Focus.

WDC's primary competitor Seagate recently unveiled their Barracuda 7200.12 series of 3.5" desktop drives, featuring a 1TB 2 platter design. It is available with 32MB of cache as well.

Seagate is being particularly cautious these days, after firmware problems with the flagship Barracuda 7200.11 series of drives caused problems with RAID and Linux setups, and lowered prosumer confidence in the world's leading hard drive supplier.

Its Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB drive (ST31500341AS) was previously the largest single hard drive available to consumers, and the only one to go above 1TB.

Seagate may very well release their own 2TB 7200.12, but they still haven't been able to supply the Momentus 7200.4 500GB laptop drives that they announced six months ago on July 10.

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Price/error rate
By icrf on 1/27/2009 11:18:44 AM , Rating: 3
The spec sheet says it has a non-recoverable read error rate of 10^15, so that's an order of magnitude higher than the Seagate 1.5 TB drive (a bigger deal with drives of this size).

Googling around, I found it listed on, out of stock, for $272, which sounds like a reasonable initial price for these things. If that were $200, I'd buy three today and retire my big WD3200 array.

RE: Price/error rate
By mcnabney on 1/27/2009 12:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
The big Seagates are priced at 8.67 cents per GB. If they price them in line with that we would expect them at around $175 to $180 for a 2TB version.

RE: Price/error rate
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 1:37:38 PM , Rating: 3
The 2TB drives will have a price premium at first. I'll bet Newegg starts selling them at $230-$249.

RE: Price/error rate
By mcnabney on 1/29/2009 8:37:17 PM , Rating: 2
The Egg is selling OEM versions for $299.99, a whopping 15 cents per GB!


RE: Price/error rate
By MrDiSante on 1/27/2009 2:19:02 PM , Rating: 3
The Seagates also have the potential feature of bricking. I bought a Seagate 1TB with the SD15 firmware, and while mine in particular didn't brick (and is now on the newest, supposedly bug-free firmware), my trust in Seagate has been shaken.

They will have to have a perfect record for a year or two until I buy their drives again. Although they did handle the issue remarkably well and I would like to congratulate them for that; if they hadn't, Seagate would have been a dead brand to me - now it's just on probation.

RE: Price/error rate
By Parhel on 1/27/2009 2:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
One bad firmware release, and you don't trust them anymore? It's your money, but I think that's a bit over-reactionary. I've seen firmware upgrades brick products many times. It even happened to me with an Asus motherboard, and I trust Asus as much as any manufacturer. Accidents happen. It's really, as you said, about how the company handles the issue afterwards.

RE: Price/error rate
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 2:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
Prior to this issue, the 1.5TB drives had a problem with introducing long pauses (like 30 seconds) when reading or writing. This was also a firmware problem that took Seagate many months to finally acknowledge and fix.

In addition, the response to the current issue was botched. Their initial firmware update that was supposed to fix the original issue was also buggy and caused a lot of people a lot of trouble.

So another perspective is that there is a pattern of Seagate having a number of firmware problems with this series of drives. I'll personally avoid them for a while for this reason.

RE: Price/error rate
By Parhel on 1/27/2009 5:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't know about the other firmware issue. I was only aware of the most recent issue concerning the bricked drives. I actually need to buy three hard drives within the next few days (which is very uncommon for me,) so thanks for the info.

RE: Price/error rate
By PrinceGaz on 1/27/2009 7:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
You may have seen firmware upgrades brick products many times, but there is a big difference when you're talking about a hard-drive that has a lot of important data on it. If an optical drive, motherboard, graphics-card or some portable device stops working because of a firmware upgrade, you can replace it wwith a working alternative and you're back in business.

When a hard-drive stops working, at best you've got to spend time restoring from a backup and possibly reinstalling Windows and everything else, and at worst some data (possibly a lot if you don't perform regular backups) is gone for good. A hard-drive firmware problem is much more serious than any other, and Seagate drives are off my shopping list for at least a year or two also.

RE: Price/error rate
By icanhascpu on 1/27/09, Rating: -1
RE: Price/error rate
By MrDiSante on 1/28/2009 4:39:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, I thought basic reading comprehension skills were still being taught in elementary school, apparently not. If you'd actually read my message you would have noticed that I said that my drives in particular are fine.

I don't keep drives specifically for backup, I simply ensure that all my data is replicated across all of the desktops, and occasionally (once every few months) back up everything to DVDs.

I, personally, don't like it when manufacturers create problems for me. Problems such as having to keep the computer running 24/7 because that minimizes the likelihood of the drive dying and not knowing whether to actually apply their firmware updates that "fix" the issues since the "fixes" also brick drives. But hey, if that's your cup of tea, go for it. I, on the other hand, will give my business to another manufacturer for the time being.

RE: Price/error rate
By icanhascpu on 1/28/2009 8:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of those people made the problems for themselves. You complaining about it means you would have been one of them with the if it works, fix it attitude.

Your reasoning is ridiculous.

RE: Price/error rate
By icanhascpu on 1/27/09, Rating: -1
RE: Price/error rate
By ekv on 1/28/2009 1:43:38 AM , Rating: 2

The infamous double-post.

You realize, of course, that with only 2, you can't run RAID 5


RE: Price/error rate
By icanhascpu on 1/28/2009 8:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
Because I said anything about RAID5?

By sprockkets on 1/27/2009 11:22:13 AM , Rating: 4
Unless you have hard proof, the WD Green drives have NEVER been 5400-7200RPM drives. I have one, and the drives never change the pitch of their noise, and WD's site never mentions them being able to change their RPM. In fact, they don't even mention they are 5400RPM probably because that would turn people away.

RE: hmmm
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 11:37:16 AM , Rating: 3
The Western Digital drive's IntelliPower algorithm, which varies the rotational speed between 5400RPM and 7200RPM, dictates the Western Digital's rotational speed.

RE: hmmm
By fleshconsumed on 1/27/2009 12:19:32 PM , Rating: 3
He is correct. Current 10EACS/10EADS always drives spin at 5400RPM, they never go up to 7200RPM. This may change with 15EADS/20EADS, but he is correct about current Green Power drives. It's simply a case of misguided and/or deceptive WD marketing.

The only drives that vary the speed are Hitachi drives.

RE: hmmm
By DigitalFreak on 1/27/2009 12:40:38 PM , Rating: 1
Nope. That's the one time Anandtech is flat out wrong.

RE: hmmm
By gstrickler on 1/27/2009 2:45:20 PM , Rating: 2
WD makes it difficult to get any real performance specifications on their drives, you have to download the data sheet to get any real performance data. Even though WD makes some of the fastest desktop and notebook drives, they seem to go out of their way to make it difficult to get any performance related info. Makes me wonder why.

For the "Green" series, even the data sheets don't show the latency and when they list the RPM, it's listed as "IntelliPower". However, I did find this tidbit on "IntelliPower"

"For each drive model, WD may use a different, invariable RPM"

So, the RPM of the drive is fixed, but may vary by model.

BTW, WD's other "GreenPower" technologies, "IntelliSeek" and "IntelliPark" are pretty cool power saving technologies that should have little or no effect on performance.

RE: hmmm
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 3:01:38 PM , Rating: 2
BTW, WD's other "GreenPower" technologies, "IntelliSeek" and "IntelliPark" are pretty cool power saving technologies that should have little or no effect on performance.
If that was the case, they would use those technologies across their entire product line. So they probably have at least a small performance impact.

RE: hmmm
By gstrickler on 1/27/2009 3:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
If that was the case, they would use those technologies across their entire product line.
New technologies are rarely implemented throughout an entire product line. New technologies that improve performance are first implemented on the highest performance drives. New technologies that improve capacity or power efficiency are generally implemented first on laptop drives or mainstream desktop drives. Once they're sufficiently proven, they move to the other products.

I think you will find that IntelliSeek will soon be deployed throughout their HD line. IntelliPark does have a larger potential for a performance hit, but since the performance hit is still very small and only occurs after a period of inactivity (which might not occur on heavily used, high performance systems), I think you'll find it also eventually deployed throughput the product line.

RE: hmmm
By sprockkets on 1/27/2009 10:43:56 PM , Rating: 1
Yep, I'm right, and I got a -1 for it. Sometimes the system doesn't work.

RE: hmmm
By dr4gon on 1/27/2009 2:35:56 PM , Rating: 4
Right, it's probably somewhere around or at 5400rpm.

When it first launched the GreenPower Caviar, WD refused to disclose the drive's actual spindle speed, saying only that it was somewhere between 5,400 and 7,200RPM. The company later admitted that the drive ran at closer to the former than the latter, but we haven't been able to coax out an exact spindle speed.

Numerous sites have speculated that the Caviar Green essentially runs at 5,400RPM, and now even Western Digital has changed its tune. Sort of. The drive's latest spec sheet lists the Green's rotational speed as "IntelliPower," which WD defines as "A fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance." So much for clarification.

Western Digital obviously doesn't want customers making assumptions about the Caviar Green's performance based on rotational speed alone, but the decision to obfuscate it behind blatant marketingspeak is entirely unnecessary and evasive. After all, the market isn't short on examples of drives with slower spindle speeds outperforming faster ones. One need look no further than our most recent mobile storage round-up to see Western Digital's own 5,400-RPM Scorpio Blue beating Seagate's 7,200-RPM Momentus in some tests. Consumers deserve a little more credit. Those nerdy enough to dig through data sheets or online reviews to find a drive's spindle speed are going to know that it's not the only factor that dictates performance.

update articel
By ihateu3 on 1/27/09, Rating: 0
RE: update articel
By Runiteshark on 1/27/2009 11:15:32 AM , Rating: 2
PROTIP: Read or at the very least, skim over the article before you post it on Dailytech.

(Directed at Jansen, not you ihateu)

RE: update articel
By Screwballl on 1/27/2009 2:00:34 PM , Rating: 3
don't forget this nugget...

WDC's precious capacity champion was only 1TB...

A precious champion? What is this, Pokemon?

My job offer as "pre-final posting editor" is still open...

RE: update articel
By Pakman333 on 1/27/2009 10:18:19 PM , Rating: 6
Right, you are all so smart, but you all spelt is "articel".

So easy to talk.

2 TB Drives
By CalWorthing on 1/27/2009 11:35:39 AM , Rating: 2
Lots of error correction going on with big drives, and, as mentioned before, lots of territory to be hosed in a failure. (and to wipe if you have to) Better to use something like Drobo and buy multiples of 500GB drives. Stock-up.

RE: 2 TB Drives
By PAPutzback on 1/27/2009 12:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
I could not imagine how long the OS would take to initialize a 6 terabyte volume on a drobo.

I think these drives would be good in a WHS or a decent NAS box.

RE: 2 TB Drives
By mcnabney on 1/27/2009 12:33:59 PM , Rating: 2
These drives will be excellent in a WHS. I have plenty of open bays on my server and as soon as these show up on Newegg I will be sending out 'invitations'. That is assuming that these will price similarly per GB as the Seagate 1.5TB drives.

Good purchase.
By FaceMaster on 1/27/2009 12:25:05 PM , Rating: 1
It's a good thing to have 2 TB of information stored up in such a small device.

RE: Good purchase.
By icanhascpu on 1/27/2009 7:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
Lets all make sure that stuff on it is our only copy and then refer to it as our "backup".

RE: Good purchase.
By FaceMaster on 1/28/2009 5:30:21 AM , Rating: 1
Hard drives never fail. I drop mine from table height on a daily basis and it still functions properly.

By mickeel on 1/27/2009 11:10:49 AM , Rating: 2
..., it is able to achieve this using a four platter design, with 500 MB per platter. Having ...

there'is mistake in this articles, shouldn't it should be 500GB per platter??


By Doormat on 1/27/2009 12:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
Move from two 750GB HDs to two 2TB HDs, I'll have plenty of storage for another few years.

Nice to have high end products, but...
By FaceMaster on 1/27/09, Rating: -1
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 10:56:19 AM , Rating: 4
When you consider the space, noise, and energy savings, as well as the convenience, I think these drives will be quite popular.

I have a number of the 1TB 'EADS drives for archival use, and they are great. I'm looking forward to ordering some of the 2TB model.

By therealnickdanger on 1/27/2009 11:02:42 AM , Rating: 2
About the only drawback to having such massive hard drives is that it is equally a lot of data to lose . I hope anyone that is buying these drives has the intelligence to buy at least two and RAID-1/5/6/10.

RE: Nice to have high end products, but...
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 11:19:40 AM , Rating: 2
One word: backup.

And BTW, a 2TB HDD makes an awesome backup medium.

By VooDooAddict on 1/27/2009 12:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly this single drive can make a great backup medium.

As a comment to the parent though ... this is NOT a good solution to use in RAID. The alternating spindle speeds arn't synched between all drives in the raid set.

If they used a fixed 5400 or fixed 7200 than I'd be more comforatable with it.

As it is though ... as a single drive (internal or external) to backup an existing RAID set this is very cool.

RE: Nice to have high end products, but...
By Spivonious on 1/27/2009 11:55:58 AM , Rating: 2
RAID 5 would require at least 3. ;)

RE: Nice to have high end products, but...
By Etsp on 1/27/2009 11:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
So would RAID 6, and RAID 10 would require 4... Hence why he said "at least" with the number of drive changing depending on the type of RAID being used.

RE: Nice to have high end products, but...
By SunAngel on 1/27/2009 12:00:51 PM , Rating: 1
I run Intel Matrix Raid and I only needed 2.

By TomZ on 1/27/2009 12:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
...for RAID5? AFAIK that always requires 3 or more HDDs.

By VaultDweller on 1/27/2009 12:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
Then you're not using RAID-5.

By feraltoad on 1/27/2009 11:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
I use RAID-Apple/Peaches/Pumpkin Pie.

By glennpratt on 1/28/2009 12:19:35 AM , Rating: 2
Just remember, RAID is not a backup. For most people RAID should be the second step, after a reliable backup system.

RE: Nice to have high end products, but...
By 67STANG on 1/27/2009 11:35:57 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but where is the 2TB Velociraptor?

RE: Nice to have high end products, but...
By icanhascpu on 1/27/2009 8:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't be surprised if these are faster than vRaptors anyway.

By TomZ on 1/27/2009 9:05:42 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, not even close!

By TheFace on 1/27/2009 11:21:22 AM , Rating: 2
There will be some distance for at least a little while on capacity. Computer manufacturers will probably start shipping dual disk systems, one for boot, and one for data.

By KITH on 1/27/2009 1:09:48 PM , Rating: 2
I think an ssd with os and apps and a traditional hard drive for data and maybe temp files for capacity is ideal.

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