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Quiet and reasonably fast
Nov 17, 2004 (Updated Nov 18, 2004)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Quiet, good performance, easy to use.
Cons:Gets a little hot, jumper settings.
The Bottom Line: For my purposes the drive is very good. It is quiet and reasonably fast. As for reliability, only time will tell.
I was searching for the easiest and cheapest way to be able to transfer large amount of data (about 25 to 35 Gb) back and fourth between two computers. I realized it was going to be easiest to get a hard drive. I found that a WD 400BB drive is being offered for $50 at my local store so I decided to buy it. I then installed hard disc drawers on both computers and that enabled me to easily install and remove the drive. The drawers are pretty basic and have costed me 10$ a piece. So I was able to transfer the data easily.
Recommend this product?
Manufacturers web page http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=8 lists the following technical information about the drive:
Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM (nominal)
Buffer Size 2 MB
Average Latency 4.20 ms (nominal)
Contact Start/Stop Cycles 40,000 minimum
Number of Heads (Logical) 16
Number of Heads (Physical) 4
Sectors Per Track 63
Formatted Capacity 40,021 MB
Capacity 40 GB
Actuator Type Rotary Voice Coil
Number of Platters 2
Bytes Per Sector 512
User Sectors Per Drive 78,165,360
Servo Type Embedded
Seek Times (Average):
Read Seek Time (Average) 8.9 ms
Write Seek Time (Average) 10.9 ms
Track-To-Track Seek Time 2.0 ms
Full Stroke Seek 21.0 ms
Buffer To Disk 400 Mbits/s (Max)
Buffer to Host (EIDE):
Mode 5 Ultra ATA 100.0 MB/s
Mode 4 Ultra ATA 66.6 MB/s
Mode 2 Ultra ATA 33.3 MB/s
Mode 4 PIO 16.6 MB/s
Mode 2 multi-word DMA 16.6 MB/s
Height 1.028 Inches (26.1 mm)
Length 5.787 Inches (147 mm)
Width 4.00 Inches (101.6 mm)
Weight 1.32 Pounds (0.6 kg)
Idle Mode 35 dBA (average), Seek Mode 38 dBA (average)
41°F to 131°F (5°C to 55°C)
Read/Write 7.5 W
Idle 7.1 W
Standby 1.3 W
Sleep 0.7 W
I was able to do some benchmarking using HD Tach and Norton Systemworks performance meter and the results are as follows:
HD Tach results
Random access time: 13,4 ms
Read burst speed: 89,7 Mb/s
maximum 49,2 Mb/s
minimum 23,2 Mb/s
average 41,4 Mb/s
CPU Utilization: 4,3%
Norton SystemWorks Performance meter results
Sequential read: 44,8 Mb/s
Sequential write: 31,3 Mb/s
Random seek + RW: 4,1 Mb/s
Disk Mark: 211,4
Test system: Pentium4 2,8GHz, 512Mb RAM, WD 120Gb SATA HD, ATI Radeon 9200 VGA card ASUS P4PE motherboard.
I was not able to match the claimed numbers by the manufacturer and in some cases the differences were quite big. Transfer rates are good although the disk wasn't even close to claimed 100MB/s but that is only a theoretical possibility anyway. The most notable difference is burst read speed which was measured at 89,7 Mb/s and the manufacturer claimed 400 Mb/s. Unfortunately the manufacturer doesn't list random seek time which is measured at 13,4 ms. Only listed are read and write seek times which tell us nothing since we don't know is this random or sequential seek. I was not able to measure the noise levels but the drive appears to work very quiet.
I bought this as a bulk drive and got only the drive in plastic, antistatic wrapper. That was not a problem for me since the HD drawers were already installed and connected to the motherboard. Installation of the drive is very easy. After unpacking it was only a matter of setting the jumper to slave which was easy since the jumper positions are clearly marked on the HD case.
After booting up Windows 2000 recognized an empty and unpartitioned drive without problems. The formatting of the drive to NTFS file system lasted for 17 minutes and 30 seconds. After that the properties showed 40.015.953.920 bytes or 37.2Gb of available space of which 39.947.165.696 bytes were available since the partition information and file system needs 65,6Mb.
The difference is caused by the different methods of calculating free space by the manufacturer and Windows operating system. The manufacturers usually use 1000 bytes for Kilobyte but the correct number is 1024 bytes, which after multiplying comes out to quite a big difference.
There is one thing to note when installing this drive. It has two jumper settings for master drive. One setting is used when the drive is single, without a slave drive and the other is used when the slave is present. If you have this drive in the case with single jumper settings and then add another drive as slave you will have to change jumper settings.
So far I have used the disk for only couple of days and it appears to work very well. It works quietly and is not any louder than the 120Gb SATA drive which is the primary drive in my computer. I did notice, however that the drive runs pretty hot and that is especially punctuated by the drive being positioned in the enclosed plastic drawer with limited airflow and cooling possibilities. I'm afraid that the heat in this environment will be a problem after a longer period but for now there are no adverse effects.
In real life the performance of the drive is sufficient for the purpose I bought it for. It takes 2 minutes and 37 seconds to copy a file of 3,94Gb (4.234.850.460 bytes) to the WD400BB and 1 minutes and 45 seconds to copy the same file to the primary disk. That equates to the read time of 39,4 Mb/s which is just a little slower than the measurements of HD Tach. Write speed is 26,3 Mb/s which is quite a bit lower than the measurements of Norton Performance meter. I suspect that the 13,4 ms random seek time can be a problem in some disk intensive applications (video editing or playing games) but for me there is no problem.
Overall I'm satisfied with the performance so far and hope that the poor reliability stories I heard are not correct. Only time will tell.
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