WD Green Power - a new quiet 3.5" hdd standard

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Devonavar
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WD Green Power - a new quiet 3.5" hdd standard

Post by Devonavar » Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:53 pm

Western Digital Green Power hard drive - the quietest, lowest power, lowest vibration desktop drive.

A sample of the terabyte model has also been reviewed: WD GP WD10EACS

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Post by gb115b » Fri Dec 14, 2007 2:31 am

i have 9 of these drives currently, and i'd definitely agree with this review...

temps are low on them too...

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Post by Steve_Y » Fri Dec 14, 2007 2:57 am

I think I've found a replacement for the 160Gb laptop drive in my media centre build...

Edit:
I've just read that these drives are used in the new WD MyBook series of external drives. From the look of it they're passively cooled and with these drives they should be very quiet. The 1TB Home version is looking very tempting; USB 2.0, eSata and Firewire, all for little more a typical internal 1TB drive.

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Re: Western Digital Green Power - a new quiet 3.5" hdd

Post by matt_garman » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:36 am

Devonavar wrote:Western Digital Green Power hard drive - the quietest, lowest power, lowest vibration desktop drive.
Thanks for the excellent review!

I really hope Western Digital sells enough of these to prove there's a solid market for low-power, quiet drives. This is excellent news for someone like me who buys lots of big drives for mass storage arrays and doesn't care about performance, and the SPCR community in general.

One request: did you happen to record any temperature data during your testing? Lower RPM and power usage would imply reduced cooling requirements, but hard data is always better than my assumptions!

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Re: Western Digital Green Power - a new quiet 3.5" hdd

Post by MikeC » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:57 am

matt_garman wrote:One request: did you happen to record any temperature data during your testing? Lower RPM and power usage would imply reduced cooling requirements, but hard data is always better than my assumptions!
We've never done this; the relationship between dissipated power and heat is direct. No question it runs cooler; just how much cooler is dependent on your own cooling factors, namely, ambient temp, conduction & airflow.

But I did record HDD temps in the SPCR Stealth 100 system built by Anitec. This is a minimalist lean, clean system w/45W AMD processor and on-board graphics in a single Scythe SlipStream fan (<700rpm) Antec 3480 case. During an afternoon of load / thermal testing, the highest temp reached by the single WD GP 750 HDD used in that system was 37°C. This was with external temp artificially heated up to >33°C. I don't think the drive would ever have reached 40°C in there.

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Post by lm » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:36 am

I don't know about elsewhere, but around here the warranty for those WD drives seems to be just one year, while samsung has 3 years and seagate 5 years. I'd not buy any WD because of that.

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Post by matt_garman » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:47 am

lm wrote:I don't know about elsewhere, but around here the warranty for those WD drives seems to be just one year, while samsung has 3 years and seagate 5 years. I'd not buy any WD because of that.
Are you sure about that? According to Western Digital's site, their desktop drives have a three year warranty in USA and Europe (among other places). Note this only counts if you purchased the drives after March or August of 2007 (depending on where you live), as drives purchased previously do have a shorter warranty period.

Also note that the "enterprise" version of these drives carry a five year warranty.

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Post by djkest » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:58 am

Hah! I defended WD on their decision to use 5400 rpm drives. I don't agree with their misleading information on the speed, but the drives themselves work very well for most applications. The only downside I can see to these is speed. For me, it wouldn't make a difference.

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Post by The I » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:05 am

Our 750 GB sample is 5,400 RPM. Storage Review's 1 TB sample was 5,400 RPM. WD's literature lists the possible speed range as 5,400~7,200 RPM, but we have yet to hear reports of any models above 5,400 RPM.
I don't know if it's me, but from I gather, at least from Anandtech the idea of the drive should be that the spindle speed varies between 5400 and 7200 rpm, depending on load, quite like intel's Speedstep varies the processsor frequency.

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Post by JimX » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:41 am

Thanks for another excellent review!

SPCR is really flying these past weeks. Keep it up!

lm wrote:I don't know about elsewhere, but around here the warranty for those WD drives seems to be just one year, while samsung has 3 years and seagate 5 years. I'd not buy any WD because of that.
Here in Greece, every WD drive, internal or external, has 3 years warranty, and enterprise drives have 5 years. It's been like this at least since 2004, except externals, that had a 1 year warranty till 2005. I doubt it's different anywhere in Europe.

Check it out.

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Post by MikeC » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:59 am

The I wrote:I don't know if it's me, but from I gather, at least from Anandtech the idea of the drive should be that the spindle speed varies between 5400 and 7200 rpm, depending on load, quite like intel's Speedstep varies the processsor frequency.
They were wrong, misled by WD PR statements. They never verified the speed anyway. As Devon wrote in the review....
This led some to speculate that the rotation speed changed dynamically during use — which would have been an impressive engineering feat had it been true. The reality is revealed by a sentence that Western Digital added to the description of IntelliPower: "For each GreenPower™ drive model, WD may use a different, invariable RPM." In other words, Western Digital reserves the right to release both 5,400 RPM and 7,200 RPM drives under the Green Power name — without telling you which are which.
Our audo freq. spectrum analysis pegged the speed at 5400rpm and it never varied. Try your own using the MP3 files in the review.
Last edited by MikeC on Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Palindroman » Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:04 am

Fantastic review!

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Post by Brian » Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:37 pm

What software do you use for your frequency spectrum analysis?

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Post by lm » Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:51 pm

matt_garman wrote:
lm wrote:I don't know about elsewhere, but around here the warranty for those WD drives seems to be just one year, while samsung has 3 years and seagate 5 years. I'd not buy any WD because of that.
Are you sure about that? According to Western Digital's site, their desktop drives have a three year warranty in USA and Europe (among other places). Note this only counts if you purchased the drives after March or August of 2007 (depending on where you live), as drives purchased previously do have a shorter warranty period.

Also note that the "enterprise" version of these drives carry a five year warranty.
http://www.verkkokauppa.com/popups/prod ... p?id=24592

There's this: takuu: 12kk
which means warranty: 12 months.

I checked around that site, and most WD drives seem to have 36 months, but GP have just 12 months at least in that store. Maybe it's a mistake.

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Post by The I » Fri Dec 14, 2007 2:28 pm

MikeC wrote:
The I wrote:I don't know if it's me, but from I gather, at least from Anandtech the idea of the drive should be that the spindle speed varies between 5400 and 7200 rpm, depending on load, quite like intel's Speedstep varies the processsor frequency.
They were wrong, misled by WD PR statements. They never verified the speed anyway. As Devon wrote in the review....
This led some to speculate that the rotation speed changed dynamically during use — which would have been an impressive engineering feat had it been true. The reality is revealed by a sentence that Western Digital added to the description of IntelliPower: "For each GreenPower™ drive model, WD may use a different, invariable RPM." In other words, Western Digital reserves the right to release both 5,400 RPM and 7,200 RPM drives under the Green Power name — without telling you which are which.
Our audo freq. spectrum analysis pegged the speed at 5400rpm and it never varied. Try your own using the MP3 files in the review.
Guess I should have read the story a little closer. Thanks for clarifying though.

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3,5" vs 2,5"

Post by hatih » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:05 am

How does this drive compare to WD1200BEVS?

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Post by igor123 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:24 am

Many thanks for the review!

Right now I'm building a new HTPC, using very slim case that can fit only one drive - and because of space restrictions, no fan or additional heatsink can be mounted on this drive. I was planning to use 2.5" notebook drive to reduce heat and noise, although this would seriously impact my HTPC storage capacity.

It seems that 1TB GreenPower would be ideal for my build. And just half hour ago I didn't even know that such drive exists :D

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Post by loimlo » Sun Dec 16, 2007 6:52 am

Nice to see manufacturer starts to concentrate on niche market of silent computing. But I'll hold until Hitachi's counterpart, P7K500, then I would make a purchase. I guess it'll be interesting to compare them at more modest capacity such as 500GB.

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Post by dhanson865 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:20 am

Yeah, Gamers are about the only people that wouldn't want this as their primary drive. In a PVR/DVR/HTPC setup this appears to be the ideal drive for the purpose.

It also seems well suited for those that like to have a raptor as their primary drive and a secondary drive that is higher capacity.

Although personally I avoid any drive that isn't 2 platters or less as the only drives I've had fail on me have had 3 or more platters. So for me the 500GB model is the only one I'd use.

750 and 1000GB GP models Non-operating Shock 250G, 2 ms

500GB GP model Non-operating Shock 300G, 2 ms

now for comparison the 500GB mainstream drives

WD5000AAJS or WD5000AAKS Non-operating Shock 350G, 2 ms

If you are the type that literally never moves your PC and never swaps parts out then it really doesn't matter.

Myself I have several PCs, I commonly swap drives to test hardware, I commonly drive across town with a PC in the back or front seat of my car or in the front seat of my dad's pickup truck. I also tend to hand down drives from one PC to the next and I want those drives to survive being handed down a couple of times so I do actually pay attention to the ruggedness of a drive. Call me crazy if you will.

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Post by igor123 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:12 am

loimlo wrote:But I'll hold until Hitachi's counterpart, P7K500, then I would make a purchase. I guess it'll be interesting to compare them at more modest capacity such as 500GB.
Do you mean this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... Tpk=P7K500
As I can see, some Hitachi P7K500 are available at the stores... They too are advertising 40% energy saving, but this drive runs at 7200rpm. I wonder what noise and heat levels can we expect. A SPCR review of this drive would be nice :wink:

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Post by Felger Carbon » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:18 am

Hmm. Only available in a 2-platter (and up) capacity at $150. The Samsung HD250HJ is a one-platter low power drive that's available... but not yet in the US of A. The GP idles at 3.3W, the HJ at 3.2W. Other power specs are likewise comparable.

These are the two low-power 3.5" drives these days. I like low power because I like quiet cooling. Slower, quieter spot cooling fans...

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Post by MikeC » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:33 am

I've just been studying the white paper for the Hitachi P7K500 (that's the direct pdf link), and it looks like a pretty ambitious attempt to reduce power.
* ...3.6W idle power instead of this typical HDD with 7W idle power.
* The drive can transition from normal idle (3.6W power) to unload idle (3.2W) to low RPM idle(2.0W) during periods of inactivity and return to normal operation automatically (on demand).
Low rpm idle, which is what the WD Greenpower PR implied, is actually implemented here: The drive slows to 4200rpm!

Naturally I've requested samples. Thanks, loimlo, for mentioning it!

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Post by Luminair » Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:14 am

Yep I have two P7K500s and I'm anxious to see you and storagereview compare them, the GP, and the smaller 333gb platter F1s.

I don't have much to compare these P7K500s with, but I can tell you that they are "freaking quiet" :) I enabled AAM on one of them, and I could hardly tell a difference because it was already so quiet. When I tried to hear the seeks I couldn't be sure if I was hearing seeks or bacteria in my hears.

I do think I heard a spin-up/down sound coming from them when changing idle states, but again I can't be sure.

One advantage the GP will have is a lower maximum vibration frequency. I notice different case vibrations from the P7K500s at different times.

PS: RE: the anandtech GP review. Yes their review of the GP wasn't very good. Tomshardware was similar. So you'd do best by going to the drive experts for expert drive reviews :)

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Post by Brian » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:05 pm

dhanson865 wrote:...I want those drives to survive being handed down a couple of times so I do actually pay attention to the ruggedness of a drive. Call me crazy if you will.
You're not downright crazy; I've broken a few drives by handling them. But instead of swearing off all many-platter drives, the correct approach is to treat drives like the expensive, mechanically fragile hardware they are. Treat a non-operating hard drive like it was made of glass. :wink: That means taking extra time to set drives down gently and carefully, and don't just throw drives in a backpack without a little padding.

Operating drives? Don't touch them, no matter how strong the temptation. I've killed two drives by handling them, even gently, while operating.

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Post by dhanson865 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:26 pm

I can't count the number of times I've disconnected an old style 4 pin molex from an IDE hard drive and in the process busted my knuckles or slashed open skin somewhere not on my fingers. Every time I do that I wonder how many Gs I subjected that drive to as I start pondering Newtonian physics.

I've never had a drive die immediately after such an event but I have shipped a personal PC by way of UPS before, and I'm sure I've done other things somewhere along the way that at least made me worry even if I'll never be sure what killed a drive...

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Post by Aris » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:54 am

Wow, maybe i will actually go back from mobile drives to desktop drives again. I never thought anyone would do it.

My guess is the emerging HTPC movement is what is driving these changes. Everyones been complaining about how loud their PC's are when watching movies, and have been demanding quieter systems.

You can hardly blame them for trying to cover up the whole spindle speed thing. In the HD industry, 5400rpm is a 10 year leap backwards. They dont really have the clout like Intel does to one day say "GHZ is KING" and the next say "GHZ isNT everything". Long as performance isnt dead last when compared to 7200rpm drives, it will probably live through the heat.

While the power savings thing may not be that big of a deal for us, it will mean a lot for server farms, where a few watts per drive across a few hundred drives adds up very quickly. This has been one of the big selling points for enterprise level 2.5" drives.

To me it seems like they saw an emerging segment in HTPC's requirement for quieter drives, and knew to get there it would require what the HD industry would consider "blasphomy", and thus did everything they could to tack on improvements everywhere else to cover up the fact that it was moving slower. Reduce power requirements, slap a green label on it, hype up its high capacity and low noise, and just pray no one pays attention to the fine print of "5400rpm".

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Post by fwki » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:41 am

This is my first post to the forum that gave me the blueprint to my latest micro-ATX build, and thanks to all for the help. I'll update my sig soon.

I have an Hitachi 7K1000 in a home server, and it was loud especially considering the system is a very quiet MODT build. I used the Hitachi drive utility "Feature Tool v2.08" and changed the firmware settings to low power and quiet and now I consider the drive near-silent. The default settings are for high performance. I am guessing that for such a dramatic drop in sound level, the spindle speeds must be lowered. I haven't yet tested the change in power consumption. Does anyone know exactly how the Hitachi firmware accomplishes this reduction? If it does lower spindle speed, then we now have two sources for "green" and "quiet" drives.

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Post by Aris » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:46 pm

fwki wrote:This is my first post to the forum that gave me the blueprint to my latest micro-ATX build, and thanks to all for the help. I'll update my sig soon.

I have an Hitachi 7K1000 in a home server, and it was loud especially considering the system is a very quiet MODT build. I used the Hitachi drive utility "Feature Tool v2.08" and changed the firmware settings to low power and quiet and now I consider the drive near-silent. The default settings are for high performance. I am guessing that for such a dramatic drop in sound level, the spindle speeds must be lowered. I haven't yet tested the change in power consumption. Does anyone know exactly how the Hitachi firmware accomplishes this reduction? If it does lower spindle speed, then we now have two sources for "green" and "quiet" drives.
As far as i know, no pc hard drive has ever had dynamic rotation speed control. If its a 7200rpm drive, then it always spins at 7200rpm.

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Post by MikeC » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:02 pm

Aris wrote:
fwki wrote:I am guessing that for such a dramatic drop in sound level, the spindle speeds must be lowered. I haven't yet tested the change in power consumption. Does anyone know exactly how the Hitachi firmware accomplishes this reduction?
As far as i know, no pc hard drive has ever had dynamic rotation speed control. If its a 7200rpm drive, then it always spins at 7200rpm.
Yup, that's right -- at least until the new Hitachi P7K500 -- which is described as having dynamic rotation speed control, even if only in idle.

The original AAM first implemented by Seagate (irrc, in the Barracuda IV or around 2001-2002) basically controlled the speed of the actuator arm that holds the head over the disk. By reducing the power to drive this arm, the seek noise gets quieter... tho it gets slower. I don't know whether more recent iterations have changed; I would guess not much.

An aside -- Seagate stopped using AAM a while ago due to a patent right conflict / litigation over its AAM software.

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Post by loimlo » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:33 am

I am glad to hear that SPCR would put emphasis on P7K500. Competition is a nice thing, even in a niche market. :wink:
From my recent experience of 7K80 & 7K160, I believe P7K500 would compete against WD Green. Anyway, based on my exposure of Seagate 7200.10 led me to give Seagate a No. How can my 7200.4 would be substituted by a noisy Descent!

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