Western Digital Black˛ 1TB Dual Drive Hybrid Review

Author: AkG
Date: November 25, 2013
Product Name: Black˛ Dual Drive 1TB
Part Number: WD1001X06X-00SJVT0
Warranty: 5 Years
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Installation and TRIM

Unlike most consumer-grade SATA drives, the Western Digital Black˛ is not a plug and play device since it requires custom drivers to fully function. In its default out of the box configuration only the 120GB SSD is fully useable and the 1TB hard drive portion isn’t inaccessible. This has been done on purpose as it allows consumers to install their Windows operating system onto the faster of the two drives and then when the OS is installed, load the custom driver and use the second ‘D’ drive for its intended role: long term data storage.

Consumers need first plug in the included USB ‘key’ and have its software connect to the internet and download the latest drivers from Western Digital’s servers. This key and extended installation process is the reason the Black˛ only comes in a upgrade kit at this time since without it, obtaining the drivers is a touch more complicated. Once the software is installed, you need never to use the ‘key’ again unless the OS needs to be reinstalled.

The installation itself will only moments to complete. Plug the key into a free USB 2.0 port, let the OS install the driver for the USB key, and then wait for the software executable to start. When it does select your language, choose to install the drivers – or download the manual – and sit back and relax.

Once completed, OS will be able to properly communicate with the Black˛’s built in port multiplier and recognize that there is a second device ‘attached’ to the SATA port. At this point the OS will install the standard HDD drivers, whereupon the 1TB partition can be formatted and used like any secondary drive.

Even though both the hard drive and solid state drive do share a single SATA port, there are no worries about the connection lacking bandwidth due to its SATA 6Gb/s compatibility. Simply put, neither of these drives are precisely extreme performance devices and even accessing both at the same time won’t cause any problems. Both may share a SATA port but each has its own controller, onboard cache and separate storage.

Bottlenecking may not be a concern, but what is a potential concern is TRIM since adding in an additional hardware layer between the SSD controller and the TRIM command is never an optimal solution. To test and make sure that TRIM is indeed working we used the simple but ultra-reliable TRIMcheck by CyberShadow. According to it, even with this extra hardware layer the Western Digital Black˛ indeed TRIM compliant which should prevent this drive from entering a degraded state if the TRIM command is indeed capable of reaching it.

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