Western Digital Caviar Black and RE4 2TB Drives Review - HotHardware

Western Digital Caviar Black and RE4 2TB Drives Review

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A spectacularly huge capacity is one thing, but for some of us the purchasing decision also comes down to performance. That's why we tested out of the trio of drives to see which of them--or, in this case, which one of them--would blast out the most impressive numbers.

We pitted the single Seagate and the two WD drives against PCMark Vantage, SISoft SANDRA's Physical Disk Test Suite, the aging but still worthy HD Tach, and we also timed the loading of three games on a fresh, Windows Vista 64-bit installation. Each test was performed on each hard drive in the exact same fashion. We rebooted the PC in between each test.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance

This benchmark features real-world computations going on behind the surface. The hard drive specific test wings eight Windows Vista oriented activities at the fixed disc storage system, times each one of them, and then calculates a number based on performance. We present below the individual timings plus the PCMark HDD scores. Note--timings are in seconds and smaller lines are better on this logarithmic graph. The PCMark score is in PC Marks and longer lines are better.

And the WD Caviar Black outpaces Seagate's offering while the RE4 blasts out of the pack and takes the early lead. WD's drives are doing well so far, as the Seagate and the WD Caviar Black come in at more or less of a tie for second.

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We're confused by your summary on Page 3:

it appears from the numbers that the RE4 is the winner, not the Caviar Black.

Please clarify.



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You are correct. The wording was incorrect. The WD Black beats the Seagate drive, but the RE4 wins in that benchmark. Overall though, the Caviar Black is fastest, in terms of both transfer rates, access times, and real-world game load times.

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2TB drives are still pricey compared to their siblings (as you implied on page 7)... but it's getting closer. At the moment you can get two 1TB units for less than a 2TB (no matter what vendor it's from), but the price for 1 1/3 x 1.5TB drives is about the same as 2 x 1TB. Assuming you can find someone to sell you a third of a drive.

I expect this to change after Xmas, though, and the 2TB drives will be the price per GB champs. But I also think that many builders and upgraders will be going toward a lower-cost and more sedate large mechanical HD for storage of video and audio, and a much faster SSD for the OS and frequently used apps.

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I bought one of the 1.5TB Seagate drives when they first came out and have been very satisfied with it. A few weeks ago, I purchased a 2TB Hitachi drive that I haven't been all too impressed with. It is much louder than my Seagate, and makes some noises that don't sound very healthy. Although, at exactly half the price of the 2TB Caviar Black, it is still a bargain even if it is noisy.

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