Western Digital Scorpio Black 160 GB,Internal,7200 RPM,2.5" (WD1600BEKT) Hard Drive Reviews

Western Digital Scorpio Black 160 GB,Internal,7200 RPM,2.5" (WD1600BEKT) Hard Drive

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The Scorpio Black 160GB is Fast

Jul 8, 2012
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Extremely fast, easy-to-installation, low noise, moderate heat emission.

Cons:None so far. However, 160GB space maybe too small for storage.

The Bottom Line: Built for a laptop/notebook system, this little 2.5-inch mechanical drive can handle desktop job at ease and fast.


I like to use the 2.5-inch form factor mechanical hard drives for both the laptop/notebook and desktop machines. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, their overall performance has improved greatly, particularly their data transfer rate. Secondly, they are small and they use less power compared to their 3.5-inch desktop siblings. They emit low heat and many of them operate almost in silent mode, extremely quiet.  

The Western Digital (WD) Scorpio Black WD1600BEKT 160GB 7200RPM is among the several 2.5-inch drives I have acquired. Originally used solely for testing new operating systems, I now adopt it as the system drive in my small workstation machine. The WD1600BEKT has turned out to be a capable nice little mechanical hard drive.

Western Digital Scorpio Black

Western Digital 2.5-inch hard drives carry several unique naming convention. The general, mainstream audience drives with rotational speed of 5400 RPM go by the name Scorpio Blue; the power-efficient drives are called the Scorpio Green, while the high-performance ones with spindle speed of 7200 RPM go by the name Scorpio Black (with black strip on the white label). The Blue and the Green each have their appropriate labels.

Actually, the current Scorpio Black comes in several model designations: BEKT, BJKT and BPKT. The BJKT is equipped with a free-fall sensor (less than 200 ms) to park its heads to prevent a head-crash which would lead to data corruption. The BEKT is available in 160GB, 250GB, 320GB and 500GB, while the BPKT is available in 500GB and 750GB. When it first debuted, the BEKT was also available in 80GB. The model designations of these two are quite distinquishable. The 160GB (being reviewed here) is referred to as WD1600BEKT, while the 750GB of the BPKT is WD7500BPKT. Both models sport SATA-II 3Gb/s interface.

The difference between the BEKT and BPKT is not only the storage capacity, even though there is an overlapping 500GB, but also the special features associated with BPKT. The WD5000BPKT and WD7500BPKT feature Advanced Format (AF) technology with high areal densities to enable slightly faster and more efficient data transfer. In other words, the WD5000BEKT is capable of transferring data at 154MB/s while the WD5000BPKT is capable of transferring data at 160MB/s (though not by much). The 160GB being reviewed here has a transfer rate of 115MB/s, due to its low areal density.  

Specifications: Western Digital WD1600BEKT Scorpio Black

Model: WD1600BEKT
Type: Internal
Interface: SATA-II (SATA 3.0Gb/s)
Cache: 16MB
Spindle Speed (RPM): 7200
Form Factor: 2.5-inch, 9.5mm in height
Disk/storage: one-platter

The Scorpio Black WD1600BEKT carries a five-year warranty.

Retail Package?
I ordered the Scorpio Black from www.newegg.com as an OEM product, and received it as bare hard drive without accessories, cable or screws. This type of packaging is the norm, particularly since the unit is intended for a laptop/notebook PC that provides its own drive rails, tray or caddy to mount the hard drive.

Installation

I initially used the Scorpio Black WD1600BEKT for testing various operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, UNIX (Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, Slackware, SuSE, Scientific, and FreeBSD). The 160GB storage capacity was quite suitable for this particular application.  

As a 2.5-inch form factor, the Scorpio Black WD1600BEKT requires a 2.5-to-3.5 bracket or drive tray in order to mount in the 3.5-inch drive bay. I use a 2.5-to-3.5 bracket to mount the Scorpio Black WD16000BEKT and insert it in the internal drive of my system chassis. The use of a 2.5-to-3.5 bracket can be a hassle, since each side-rail must be screwed onto the drive unit. I find it convenient to invest in a 2.5-to-3.5 mounting tray unit that can hold two 2.5-inch drives or SSD units. They both occupy the single space where the 3.5-inch drive occupies. This means that if your system chassis has four (4) internal (3.5-inch) drive bays, then you can install eight (8) 2.5-inch drives or SSDs, if your hardware system (i.e., the motherbord) supports that many SATA ports.

The chassis of my machine has four 3.5-inch internal bays and one external bay specifically designed for a 2.5-inch hard drive as a hot-swap; and, initially I took advantage of the hot-swap external bay and just inserted the Scorpio Black WD1600BEKT into the slot and configured the SATA cable to connect to the unit as a boot drive. When I inserted the Scorpio Black into the external bay, the system would boot directly from it. If the external bay was not used, the system would boot from the internal drive that I permanently connected to the second SATA port.

Hardware:

Motherboard: Tyan S2877, dual-socket AMD 940-pin CPU
CPU: 2 X AMD Opteron 285 dual-core, 2.6GHz each
RAM: 6 X 1GB DDR400 ECC Samsung
Graphics: ATI AIW2006 (Radeon 1300) 256MB PCI-X 16x
SATA: SATA-II 3Gb/s
Power: OCZ Fatality1 550-Watts
OS: Linux

As a permanent system drive, I put Linux and Windows, using separate partitions. I first installed Windows XP SP-3 using 65GB of disk space. I used the rest for Fedora 16 Linux. To manage boot and future Windows installation, I installed the boot file of Fedora 16 Linux in its boot partition, and used GAG 4.10 graphical boot program, installed it in the master boot record (MBR) to manage both operating systems. During boot process, GAG 4.10 automatically detected both operting systems from each primary partition.

Performance: Benchmark

My initial impression of the Scorpio black was its nearly consistent read/write performance. While benchmark does not completely represent the real-world performance of the hard drive, it does represent important characteristic features of the unit in terms of its general performance. These numbers can be used to compare to other drives since the result is based on the same configuration.

Conducted under Fedora 16 Linux, the benchmark score of my Scorpio Black WD1600BEKT, tested as a primary drive, produced the following result:

Linux Disk Utility Read Test:
Minimum Read Rate: 73.1 MB/s
Maximum Read Rate: 184.8 MB/s
Average Read Rate: 86.8 MB/s (higher is better)
Average Access Time: 13.3 ms   (lower is better)

HD Tune Pro 4.5, under Windows XP, reveals the following scores:

HD Tune Pro 4.5 Read Test:
Minimum Read Rate: 65.5 MB/s
Maximum Read Rate: 91.9 MB/s
Average Read Rate: 82.3 MB/s (higher is better)
Burst Rate: 187.3 MB/s
Average Access Time: 13.4 ms   (lower is better)

Under both environments (Linux and Windows), this hard drive produced similar read performance. Fedora 16 Linux yield slightly better result (that started at 184MB/s then dropped down to roughly 90MB/s), but overall the result indicated the same performance across the disk platter. However, the curve produced by the both benchmark programs indicated that the areal density of the Scorpio Black was not quite smooth, that is, the disk platter does not have consistent read/write speeds. They fluctuate up and down with deep spikes. This anormally worries me in terms of the Scorpio black longevity. But we'll see...

Real-World Use and Performance:
As a system drive, the Scorpio Black delivered admirable performance. Windows XP booted pretty quick. From the GAG 4.10 boot menu (where Win XP was selected to boot) to the log-on screen took about 14 seconds. Of course, there weren't many devices required for configuration, only Audigy sound card and Sabrent Wireless card and one optical drive, which might contribute to a faster boot time.  

Booting Fedora 16 Linux took roughly the same amount of time. From the GAG 4.10 boot menu (where Fedora 16 was selected to boot) to the log-in screen, especially since Fedora 16 was installed on the second, third and fourt primary partitions that spanned from the middle to the end of the disk platter (or in other words, from the middle to the center of the platter). Its responsive access time provided a fast launch of application program; many of which launched instantly following a click of the mouse button, without much lagging. However, when I added two additional drives (data drives), boot time on Linux increased to 20 seconds. Clearly, the system had to spend some time to mount the filesystem.


For real-world test, I conduct a write sequence for the system to write 1024MB of zero's onto the drive using a Linux dd command.  The result is indicated as follows:

number of bytes: 1073741824
size: 1.1GB
write speed: 71.5 MB/s

With a write size of 512MB, the write speed was 62.1 MB/s. This is the real-world write speed measured by the kernel.

Noise/Heat
The Scorpio Black operated in an extremely low noise, not much noticeable of its read/write head movement. This could be that I did not usually use my system for heavy read/write loads. Nonetheless, during benchmarking (under an environment the drive did a lot of read/write head movements) the drive was very quite.

Compared to other 2.5-inch form factor mechanical drives, the Scorpio emitted less heat, when confined into the drive compartment such as that in a notebook/laptop PC. in my workstation system, the chassis has fans (two 92mm fans) blowing air directly onto the drive unit. Thus, my Scorpio Black was always kept cold.

Warranty/Reliability

In my early years using Western Digital products (3.5-inch form factor), I have had bad experience with their reliability and longevity. I have had in the past (2002 to 2008) several WD drives died on me. These included the standard Carviar Desktop drives and the Raptor 10K RPM drives. Such experience has prompted my caution not to invest in WD products. In 2009, when I bought a Lenovo G550 (using Scorpio Blue 320GB) for my uncle's High School student and witnessed the reliability of the drive to this day, I thought perhaps WD has improved its overall quality.

The Scoprio Black carries a 5-year warranty. This says a lot about the confidence of WD on their Scoprpio Black's. While I have never dealt with WD warranty service, at least I think the 5-warranty was good enough to ensure my confidence in the reliability and dependability of the Scorpio Black. I have been using it for almost six months now without a single flaw.

Conclusion

The WD Scorpio Black WD1600BEKT 160GB 7200RPM delivered excellent performance across the board as a 2.5-inch form factor mechanical drive. Its read and write speed top virtually all other mechanical 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives I have used; well, excluding the Samsung SpinPoint F3 drives, of course. An average of 84.5 MB/s read speed and 72 MB/s real-world write speed offer a formidable competition, especially when the read or write speeds do not drop very far between the edge and the center of the disk platter. The only concern I have with the Scorpio Black 160GB is its deep spikes of read/write consistencies that indicate an uneven areal density and imperfection, especially when compared to the smooth curve of other drives such as the Samsung F3 SpinPoint or HM-HJ series.

Despite some concern on the characteristic features of the WD Scorpio Black 160GB, I would still recommend to anyone looking for a 160GB for their laptop/notebook or Desktop PC that does not require a large storage capacity.


Recommend this product? Yes

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