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

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.