If we were to play a word association game with a PC enthusiast and said "Western Digital," it's likely his geek reflexes would immediately trigger and force him to reply "Raptor" before he even realized he had spoken. Western Digital makes many more storage products other than just the speed demons known as Raptors, though. While it is easy to be enamored with the Raptors, they are relatively expensive and offer only a fraction of the capacity of the 500GB and 750GB behemoths currently on the market.
Our labs were blessed with one such behemoth from Western Digital, the WD5000KS, which is a member of the Caviar SE16 family. This 500GB SATA 3Gb/s drive features a 16MB cache and a 7200 RPM spindle speed. The Raptors, with their 10k RPM spindle speed, have won the overall 3.5" desktop HDD performance crown, but they don't win any capacity battles. That's where the WD5000KS comes in. Most people choose capacity over speed, especially considering the price premium for higher performance. But can the 500GB Western Digital WD5000KS drive be a winner on both fronts? Read on to find out...
Capacity: 500 GB
Interface: SATA 3Gb/s
Spindle Speed: 7200 RPM
Cache Buffer: 16 MB
Height: 26.1 mm
Length: 147 mm
Width: 101.6 mm
Weight: 0.6 kg
Average Latency: 4.20 ms
Read Seek Time: 8.9 ms
Write Seek Time: 10.9 ms
Track-To-Track Seek Time: 2.0 ms
Full Stroke Seek: 21.0 ms
Buffer To Host (Serial ATA): 300 MB/s (Max)
Buffer To Disk: 748 Mbits/s (Max)
Idle Mode: 28 dBA (average)
Seek Mode 0: 33 dBA (average)
Seek Mode 3: 29 dBA (average)
Read/Write: 9.50 Watts
Idle: 8.75 Watts
Standby: 1.60 Watts
Sleep: 1.50 Watts
16 MB cache
Bigger cache means faster performance. A massive
16 MB cache combined with up to 300 MB/s transfer
rate make these ultra-fast drives the perfect solution
for the fully loaded PC with a fast processor.
Cool operating temperature
WD hard drives are designed to have the lowest
power consumption of any high-capacity, desktop-class
hard drive which lowers the operating temperature
for enhanced drive reliability.
These highly reliable drives deliver technologically
advanced acoustics. With its WhisperDriveTM and
SoftSeekTM technologies, WD has minimized noise to
levels virtually imperceptible to the human ear in home
and business environments.
3 Year Warranty
Although it didn't come in a retail box, our sample was not shipped as a bare drive. It came with the same accessories you would find in a full retail package, including a Quick Install Guide, a CD with Data Lifeguard Tools, four mounting screws and a Serial ATA cable with SecureConnect.
In the second picture above, you can see the WD5000KS's connectors, which include an 8-pin custom header, a SATA data connector, a SATA power connector, and a 4-pin (or Molex) power connector. The inclusion of the 4-pin power connector will please users who do not have a power supply that features SATA power cables.
In this image, you can see what the custom 8-pin header is for. When pins 1 and 2 are jumpered, SSC (Spread Spectrum Clocking) is enabled. Jumpering pins 5 and 6 enables SATA 150MB/s only operation, which may be necessary for compatibility on some older motherboards.