The Green Monster gets bigger (and quieter)!

This week we take a break from the nosebleed speeds of Solid State and check out what spinning disk tech has to offer. We found there is still much life left in these beasts. If you are in the market for an insane amount of near-silent storage, this article is for you.
We are taking a break from SSD previews to bring you a retail edition review of the Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green.  PCPer reviews are typically on the bleeding edge of fast and nimble hardware, but we must occasionally take a step over to the other side of the storage spectrum.  Today we will size up three efficient yet very high capacity hard disk drives.

WD20EADS Caviar Green Overview

Western Digital GP series drives include a number of fairly new features to aid in the greater capacities available.  Here I will translate the marketing speak into something more readable:

  • IntelliPower™ — GP drives consume less power with slower spindle speeds, performance drop is offset by larger caches and higher platter densities.
  • IntelliSeek™ — Seek speeds can change ‘on the fly’, since the heads do not always need to be moved at full speed to make it to the data before it rotates past.
  • NoTouch™ ramp load technology — Previously called “IntelliPark”.  Drive heads take an ‘exit ramp’ off of the platters instead of landing on the platters when the drive is spun down.  You know how the most damage is done to your engine when you start it on a cold morning?  This tech means the drive heads do not have to break stiction each and every time the drive spins up.  The heads are able to leave the ramp and float onto the spinning disk.
  • StableTrac™ — The spindle is supported at both ends instead of only at the bottom, keeping the platters more stable during reads and writes.  Note: This tech is only used in the 2TB EADS models and early 1TB / 750GB EACS models.
  • Native Command Queuing (NCQ) — The drive can reorder groups of reads/writes to minimize overall head movement, and therefore increase effective access time.  Beware – this is only effective with an AHCI-enabled SATA controller.
  • Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) — Bits are aligned vertically instead of horizontally to get more packed onto each platter.  Think dominoes (the game, not the food).
  • Low power spin-up — Lower RPM’s mean less power when trying to get to target speed.  These drives also accelerate slower during spin-up as to draw even less power.

Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green Review: Bigger and Quieter! - Storage 26
Lots and lots of (perpendicular) bits.

With that techno babble out of the way, lets get onto the testing!

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