Western Digitial "Green" Drives


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I was considering the 1T version of this drive offered via local CraigsList that I could have bought at $150.  It was in the external USB enclosure that I would have had to break and not sure if the drive would be warrantied.  Anyway, I passed but learned a LOT about this drive first.  I know there are some good deals on this drive in the 750GB variety via newegg and others.  Thought I would share my reasearch with others considering this drive.


1.  This is a 5400 RPM drive.  The "5400-7200" designation with "intellipower" make it sound like the drive can sense when it has to speed up from 5400 to 7200 RPM, but this is not the case.  Depending on the drive CAPACITY, some drives in this series are 5400, and some are 7200.  The 750GB and 1T are both 5400RPM.  Not sure about the 500GB, but I think it is also 5400 RPM.  People seemed to feel that WD was being deliberately deceptive in their advertising of these drives.  Even their WD model numbers, that have a "digit" to tell the drive's speed, are set to some underfined letter on these drives, hiding its true speed.


2.  These drives run cooler than their WD 7200 RPM equivalents.  People reported up to an 8C reduction in tempterature.  (I have noteced that the WD run hotter than the Seagates.  I think that part of the reason is that Seagates have more cutout area on the bottom of the drive, allowing better airflow.  I have my case arranged so that the WD have extra space under them and this tends to even out the temperature difference.)


3.  The 1T version uses high capacity / density platters (higher than their 750G 7200 RPM drive it was compared to) which had a positive impact on drive performance that made up a little of the spindle difference, but sustained transfer was still slower.  (This may apply to the 750G as well, but the reference I read was about the 1T version).


4.  The "Green" rating means that these drives save about 50% of the power.  At bootup, that is a savings of 15watts.  So in a 15 drive array, you would need 225 LESS watts (225 vs 550 watts) from your PSU at power up / spinup than with a conventional drive.  At idle it uses 4Watts less.  With 15 drives, that would be savings equivalent to burning a 60watt light bulb.  (unRAID saves almost 100% of the power by spinning down the drives when they are not in use).


5.  The drives are fast enough for most applications, including HTPC, Tivo/PVR, and backup.  But people seem unhappy using these as normal hard disks in their computers.  It is 10-15% slower than other 7200 RPM drives.  In particular, the WRITE performance of these drives is slow, making them perhaps NOT the best choice for parity drives.


Here are a couple of reviews that I found and thought were good:






Hope this is helpful.


- Brian


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the WRITE performance of these drives is slow, making them perhaps NOT the best choice for parity drives.

In my case, I had 3 500GB maxtors. I replaced two with 1TB WD's.

My parity rebuild speed increased right away.

Once the parity rebuild is done with the 500GB drive it jumps from 37k'bs to over 55kb/s.

From my perspective they do well as parity and data drives.

If drive network speed is your limiting factor, I'm not sure the slower spindle speed will be that much of an issue.


I for one applaud a choice between 7200 and 5400 drives.

I was a bit concerned when maxtor stopped making the 54's.

I usually use them in externals or in places where I am using them over a network (NDAS) or in places where heat is an issue.


I'm pretty happy with my WD 1tb's and plan to buy more (Even though I'm not a WD fan boy... and I know you would'nt believe it LOL)



Speaking frankly, If I had the choice of a RAID 0 parity between multiple drives, I might choose that over 1 drive itself.

I plan to purchase an external hardware device capable of RAID 0 (or maybe use a cheap 3ware controller) to see if it actually improves things.



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like Brian, i also read a lot about the Green drives before committing to them...the reviews i did read did not show a real speed/throughput dis-advantage...a little slower than comparable 7200RPM drives in some respects (meaning 5-10%), but faster in others (by about that much), where in the end, they performed almost exactly on-par with 7200RPM Hitachi and Seagate drives, while being generally less power-hungry and more cool-running.



i'm a real sucker for performance, and i've spent a lot of time building RAID0 and RAID5 arrays for HD-video capture/editing...when i shrug off a performance difference, i'm only doing so in cases where the difference is truly negligible, or outweighed by its gains in other areas...i got my first WD 1TB green drive last week as a parity drive for unRAID, and have since dismantled *all* of my 5 external WD 1TB USB enclosures after happily finding out that they contain that very same drive...the oldest one of them was very easy to pry open, the other 3 a bit of a pain They changed the latches to be more sneaky), but by the time i did the 3rd. one (just today), i had it down...


the nice thing is, they can be found at Costco (or sometime Amazon) for under $240, which is less than the raw drive...i don't know about the warranty, but i'll cross that bridge when i get to it...in the meantime i put older 200GB WD SATA drives back into the empty enclosures, and use them as extra backup storage, or as b-day gifts with a few movies/CD's on them ;)


they also make great media drives to hook up directly to those newer-type $50 DVD players with USB ports...just fill it up with DivX movies, plug it into the DVD player's USB port, and usually u have a very inexpensive "HTPC" that way...already made two of my friend's families very happy that way...an instant 100 movie jukebox for under $100 bucks.


i like those Green drives...a sensible step away from unsensible performance anxiety...guess that's the spirit of "Green", ain't it?



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