Western Digital Caviar Black and RE4 2TB Drives Review

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It happens to all of us at some point. We constantly run short of hard drive space, no matter how incredibly cavernous you thought your current drive was when you bought it. Did you really expect Dragon Age: Origins and Borderlands to soak up almost thirty gigabytes between them? Didn't think so. You either shove Office 2007 and Photoshop CS aside to make some room for your latest losslessly-ripped music and RAW photos, or grab a drive that offers up more capacity, say up to 2TB--such as the ones we're going to be evaluating here.

You know the contenders. These aren't solid state drives full of a speedy but thimble-sized flash memory chips--these are large, succulent drives with platters humming at 7200rpm and they're made by Western Digital.

Taken to task today we have three drives in total: the Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB which we'll use as a reference point, and two relatively new offerings from WD: The RE4 2TB drive and the Caviar Black 2TB. Which of the three drives outperformed the others? There was a clear winner, and that particular drive is an absolute speed demon.

  
WD RE4 and Caviar Black 2TB Hard Drives

WD Caviar Black and RE4 2TB Hard Drives
Specifications and Features

 

Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB

Western Digital RE4 2TB

Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB

Model

ST31500431AS

WD2003WYYS

WD2001FASS

Host Interface

SATA 3Gbps

SATA 3Gbps

SATA 3Gbps

Cache

32MB

64MB

64MB

Form Factor

Standard half-height 3.5" internal hard drive

same

same

Weight

1.59 lbs

1.66 lbs

1.66 lbs

Sectors

2,930,277,168

3,907,029,168

3,907,029,168

Average Latency

4.16 ms

4.2 ms

4.2 ms

Random Read Seek

<8.5 ms

Unspecified

Unspecified

Random Write Seek

<10.0 ms

Unspecified

Unspecified


Western Digital's spec sheets didn't specify seek times, but we'll figure them out via benchmarks. Looking at the specs, we can see that besides the difference in capacity, the most glaring difference between the WD drives and the Seagate drive is the cache. Will a double-sized cache make the WD drives perform better? We aim to find out.
 

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