Western Digital's 2.5-inch Black2 Dual-Drive Combines a 120GB SSD with a 1TB HDD

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News Posted: Sun, Nov 24 2013 1:34 PM
When it comes to choosing a storage scheme, there are couple of cost effective solutions for power users. One is to install a solid state drive (SSD) for the OS and programs, and a spacious hard disk drive (HDD) for storing photos, videos, and other data hogging files. A second option is to invest in a solid state hybrid drive, which is an HDD with an SSD cache buffer for frequently accessed programs. Both are serviceable, though both have tradeoffs (the first takes up two storage slots, and the second isn't as fast as a dedicated SSD). There's now a third solution courtesy of Western Digital, which may have just changed the storage game.

Western Digital today announced the release of its WD Black 2, a dual-drive solution that pairs a 120GB SSD with a 1TB HDD in a single 2.5-inch drive that measures 9.5mm high. Think of it as a single-slot, all-in-one solution that offers all the speed of an SSD supplemented with the capacity of an HDD. It's especially ideal for Ultrabooks and laptops that have only one drive slot.

WD Black 2

"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 Black 2 dual drives empower our customers to enjoy SSD performance and access high capacity storage in a no-compromise package."

WD Black 2 Slide

Since these are two separate drives in a single package, there's no need for a caching algorithm or multiple SATA cables and connectors. It's a simple solution, albeit one with room to grow. For example, the 120GB SSD tops out at 350MB/s read and 140MB/s write performance. That's fast compared to an HDD, but not quite on par with performance oriented SSDs that boast read and write transfers north of 500MB/s.

The WD Black 2 is available now for $299 MSRP and backed by a 5-year warranty.
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wil2200 replied on Mon, Nov 25 2013 8:18 AM

This is sweet. My laptop is aging but this may help inject a bit more life into it

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This seems like a really nice product, the speed of a 120gb ssd, and a 1tb secondary drive all in one for a laptop, but man the cost on this thing is killer 299$, it seems overly expensive considering a 120gb ssd/1tb hard drive can be had for around 60-100$'s each. I guess if you really needed the space on a laptop it would make sense, but i feel like just buying a 240gb ssd for about 150$ and a usb hdd might be a better option.

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Cool idea, just needs time to develop and get cheaper.

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sevags replied on Mon, Nov 25 2013 1:02 PM

The idea sounds great but has a long way to go. There are doe limitations to this type of drive and apparently there is a warning that pops up letting you know. No Mac support at this time, a partition may not span between the ssd and hdd (don't know why someone would want to any way), security is only available on the ssd side, drive can't be used in RAID even in Storage Environments, Nvidia storage drivers don't work, and the drive comes with a usb key that must be inserted into the computer before the entire storage space is recognized, and a few other things.

I hope WD and OS coders get together and find a way to better integrate these types of drives as I am sure they will be come more common.

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SmogHog replied on Mon, Nov 25 2013 7:55 PM

The SSD part has a JMICRON controller.

http://cdn.pcper.com/files/imagecache/article_max_width/review/2013-11-25/131125-061721-10.33.jpg

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OJ287 replied on Mon, Nov 25 2013 10:10 PM

In my view, hybrid HHD/SSD drive is a wrong move. We need either SSD that is fast, shock resistant, reliable,

but alas, expensive *OR* HHD that is slower, but has more capacity, fragile -- if you drop it on a floor you lose both the data and drive, but it is 20 cheaper. Hybrid drive offers you disadvantage of both technologies. Thank you, no.

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