Pros: Quiet high performance with advanced features comes with a five-year warranty
Cons: None so far other than being a little pricey as compare with other similar drives
Here is my review of the high density perpendicular recording 500 MB per platter, four platter high-performance Western Digital 2 TB Caviar Black SATA 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache desktop hard drive. The performance of this drive is somewhat faster than the last previous three Seagate hard drives that I've purchased in the recent past. It appears to be better constructed, hopefully this hard drive should be more reliable. One remarkable feature that I really like about this hard drive is that the heads park and lock completely off the platters when powered down. Another is that it features dual activators and processors for the heads which allow for more precise zeroing in on the data on the platters. It uses piezoelectric technology for the secondary activator to precisely move the heads. With these features, this hard drive offers more protection from media damage while in shipping unlike lesser drives. Speaking of shipping, most online retailers ships OEM drives that aren't well protected from shock damage. This drive arrived double boxed with an airbag. The inner box is the original OEM Western Digital with hollow plastic cushioning insert bracings on the ends of the hard drive with some airspace all around. The outer box is slightly larger with an airbag cushioning on one end. The original box as supplied by Western Digital is fine as far as protection goes. The outer box should have been bigger with at least 1 inch or more foam cushioning all around instead of the use of air bags. My previous hard drive purchased from another retailer had even less protection when it comes to shock damage. By the way, this hard drive carries a five-year warranty like the more expensive enterprise drives. From what I read, unfortunately this hard drive is not designed for a RAID array and may not work properly. For that you have to purchase their more expensive enterprise series hard drive. Be sure to keep the Western Digital supplied inner box plus the plastic braces along with the antistatic bag, in case you needed to ship the drive back to WD for warranty replacement.
To cut down on case resonation noises on my desktop computer, all three of my hard drives are rubber mounted with a separate grounding wire on each of the drives. In front of the hard drives, I have a 120 mm fan blowing at them for cooling. With this setup, the maximum temperature with this new hard drive so far is 34°C. Of the three hard drive, this new hard drive by comparison does not vibrate at all when on and is just as quiet as the others. It doesn't really need to be rubber mounted to be on the quiet side unlike my two other hard drives. The only exception is that when shutting down, it makes a faint "sss" than clunk sound sometimes when the heads park and lock. Otherwise it's just as quiet as my other hard drives which are Seagate ones. I bought this huge hard drive for extra storage only. Being a very fast hard drive, it would also make an excellent boot drive. I feel it's much better having a huge hard drive or two just for storage, backups and a much smaller one for the boot drive. This way, if anything should happens to Windows or the boot hard drive I can simply restore it fully from my drive back-up which is stored on the one of the storage drives. You can use this free software that you can download from either Seagate or Western Digital websites. In order to use it, you must have at least one of their drives in your computer. In order to do a backup or restore take Seagate for instance, all you need is at least one Seagate hard drive on board and the other drives can be any make. That also holds true for Western Digital. With Seagate it's called "DiscWizard" and with Western Digital "Acronis True Image WD Edition". Both softwares are really the stripped-down version of Acronis True image Home.
After the problems I had with previous Seagate hard drives I'm very paranoid, before I format and start storing data on a new drive from now on it's better to run a surface full scan plus other tests. Right after installing the new drive I ran Western Digital's own Data Iifeguard For Windows to check for bad sections by running the complete surface scan. This software can be downloaded from Western Digital website. I also ran a surface scan on this drive using HD Sentinel Pro. Both tests passed with no problems. The main problem with my previous two new hard drives was rapidly growing reallocated section count. When that happens, I lost complete confidence to continue to use it to long-term storage particularly important data anymore. The old drive is used primarily to back up the some of the data on my new drive being only half the size. It seems that quality is an issue with some of the lower price point huge capacity perpendicular recording hard drives with most of the hard drive manufacturer. This problem appeared to be particularly true of any new low price point, drive of 500 GB or larger with this defect. Part of problem may be hidden shipping damage caused by sloppy packing by the online retailer on OEM hard drives. Because of the delicate nature of some perpendicular recording huge hard drives, they are even more susceptible to damage then an earlier lower density technology smaller capacity ones. Except for the last 2 Seagate drive purchased, the older ones remains perfect even after five or six years of use remaining at 100% perfect score free of reallocated section count.
Final thoughts: Because this Western Digital is better engineered than any of my previous hard drive, my hope is for longtime reliability. So far I'm fully impressed with the performance I have been receiving. When I ran a benchmark, the maximum read speed was almost 140 MB per second and the minimum was around 70 MB per second. Take for example when transferring files from one hard drive to another. I did an experiment on copying files on copying files from my old storage drive to my new drive. When the file is copy single file at a time the speed remains almost full of around 100 MB per second. But when I copy two files at the same time, the speed chokes down to around 25 MB per second for the two files. I try again on copying two files accept at this time, one file gets copied to the new drive and the other file is copied to my boot drive. The speed also get choked down again to around 25 MB per second for the two files. This proves in a way that the bottleneck is on my old storage drive.
I tried this transferring test again except the new drive is the source this time. I copied one file to my old storage drive as well as copying another file to my boot drive at the same time. Only this time the speed remains the same on whether I copy one file or copying two or more files at the same time. The transfer speed remains close to 100 MB per second whether copying one file or two files at the same time.
Update @ July 15, 2010: I've just learned that the off disk head parking feature was invented by Hitachi 15 years ago. They claim that they still hold the patent for this feature used on hard drives in all current mobile computers and, more recently, in a few pricier desktop drives. To learn more about this, please go to the URL I listed in the comments section.