Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB Hard Drive Review

by AkG     |     April 6, 2009

Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB Hard Drive Review

Manufacturer Page: WD Caviar Black 1 TB SATA Hard Drives ( WD1001FALS )
Model Number: WD1001FALS
TechWiki Info: Caviar Black 1TB
Price: Click Here to Compare Prices
Warranty: 5 years

While Solid State Drives are sexy, new and considered “high performance”, the truth of the matter is they are also bleeding edge technology and in some cases may in fact be slower than the more mundane alternative. More importantly, not everyone has the money or even the interest in SSDs right now and in fact most people want a drive which is large, fast and cheap. All of which are relative strengths of the old fashioned platter based Hard Disk Drive. We here at HWC believe that knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you can get before spending your hard earned money, the better.

In this vein we have decided to branch out (or more like go back to our roots) and deliver to you the detailed reviews of some kick arse Hard Disk Drives. The good folks over at Western Digital have been so kind as to help get the ball rolling with one of their Black Edition drives. To be precise we will be looking at the new Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1 TB beast. This drive not only has 32MB of onboard cache but also boasts a dual controller design. At this point it is the largest Black Edition drive listed on WD site and is widely available at retailers and e-tailers darn near everywhere for as little as $130!

Western Digital really needs no introduction as they are one of the largest and most highly respected names in the industry. They may be best known for their 10,000RPM Raptor line of hard drives, but if you take a look around at any enthusiast forum you will see many, many peoples' rigs sporting at least one of their other products. In what can only be called a stroke of genius, WD has separated their 3.5” SATA drives into three separate and distinct categories. The “green” line is their low power, earth friendly line where low noise and low heat trumps shear speed (though from all reports they don’t lag that far behind in this category either). The “Blue” line is their middle of the road line where noise and heat output are a concern but it is more in balance with performance (this is WD original line before the switch); and then you have the “Black” editions. These drives are all about performance and power, even if that means increased noise, heat output and energy consumption.

To put this a different way, the green line make perfect data drives (i.e. non OS drives) as they are quiet and draw less power. The Blue line are your all round drives and do a very, very well as a data or OS drive. You can consider these the station wagon or “yeoman” class of WD drives, perfect for most occasions. Then you have your hot rodded high performance, leather jacketed bad boys: the Black line. These drives are all about speed and while they can be used as data only drives they excel at being your number one OS drive. These beasts can supposedly come close to or even tie VelociRaptor levels of performance (and beat the older generations of WD360, WD740 AND WD1500 Raptors)….with a butt load of extra space thrown in for good measure. Add in an industry leading 5 year warranty for the Black line and you have the makings of one awesome, “enthusiast grade” HDD.

In this review we will not only be comparing the WD 1TB Black to a VelociRaptor but also a WD 640GB Black drive which is what many consider to be in the “sweet spot” of size versus price right now. For informational purposes only we will also be including SSD numbers to help you get a good feel for the positives and negatives of these high performance drives. When the dust settles it is our hope that you not only know if this drive is right for you but you will also have a clear understanding of what YOU need, want and desire in your next drive; whether it be a 10000RPM RPM HDD or SSD. So sit back relax and enjoy the carnival of drive carnage which has just come to town.


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