Terabyte Round III: WD Caviar Green Power WD10EACS

Table of Contents

Our enthusiasm for the low noise WD 750GB Green Power hard drive prompted us to go hunting for the 1 TB flagship model so we could do more than speculate about it. With Western Digital’s odd IntelliPower system for rating spindle speed, we wanted to confirm for ourselves that it shared all the characteristics of its smaller brother — noise, power and all.

Feb 26, 2008 by Devon

Western Digital Caviar Green Power WD10EACS
1TB, 5,400 RPM Low Power Hard Drive
Market Price

Our enthusiasm for the WD 750 GB Green Power reviewed in December 2007 prompted us to go hunting for the
1 TB flagship model so we could do more than speculate about its greatness.
With Western Digital’s odd IntelliPower system for rating spindle speed, we
wanted to confirm for ourselves that it shared all the characteristics of its
smaller brother — noise, power and all.

The terabyte HDD sample that arrived was promising — with the exception of the model
number on the label, the two drives were identical to the naked eye, with no
indication that anything important had changed. Mechanically, the only difference
should be the addition of an extra platter to accommodate the extra capacity. A quick frequency analysis test confirmed that terabyte model spins at 5,400
RPM just like the 750 GB version. Please see our WD 750 GB Green Power review for all the details.

Specifications: WD Caviar GP WD10EACS vs WD7500AACS
Western Digital’s data sheet
1,000,204 MB
750,156 MB
16 MB
Disks / Heads
4 / 8
3 / 6
SATA 3Gb/s
Spindle Rotation Speed
IntelliPower* (5,400 RPM)
Not Specified (5.56 ms)
Read Seek Time
8.9 ms
Buffer to Disk Transfer Rate
1160 Mb/s
1.52 lb. (0.69 kg) ± 10%
Power: Idle / Seek
4.0W / 7.4W
Acoustics: Idle / AAM / Seek
24 / 25 / 29 dBA


Our sample was tested according to our standard
hard drive testing methodology
. Our methodology focuses specifically on
HDD noise, and great effort is taken to ensure it is comprehensively measured
and described. Performance is not tested, for reasons discussed in detail in
the methodology article. For comprehensive HDD performance testing results,
we recommend Storage
, who have established a long reputation as the specialist in
this field. Their review of the Western Digital Green Power can be found in
a roundup of
several terabyte drives

Our test drive was compared against our reference drives, the Seagate Barracuda
IV and Samsung Spinpoint P80, which are profiled in our methodology article.
To get a good idea of where the drives in this review stand, it is important
to read the methodology article thoroughly. It was also compared against our
current low-noise champ: A 500
GB Western Digital WD5000KS
. A
250 GB Spinpoint P120
was also included in the comparison.

Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:

  1. Airborne acoustics
  2. Vibration-induced noise.

These two types of noise impact the subjective
perception of hard drive noise differently depending on how and where the drive
is mounted.

Both forms of noise are evaluated objectively and
subjectively. Both the subjective and objective analyses are essential to understanding
the acoustics of the drives. Airborne acoustics are measured using a professional
caliber SLM. Measurements are taken at a distance of one meter above the top
of the drive using an A-weighted filter. Vibration noise is rated on a scale
of 1-10 by comparing against our standard reference drives.

A final caveat: As with most reviews, our comments
are relevant to the sample we tested. Your sample may not be identical. There
are always some sample variances, and manufacturers also make changes without
telling everyone.

Ambient conditions at the time of testing were 18 dBA and 20°C.

Mfg date
firmware version
(10 is best)
Activity State

Airborne Acoustics

Measured Power
Western Digital Caviar Green Power WD10EACS
December 2007
firmware 01.01B01

19~20 dBA@1m

5.7 W
(3.7W heads unloaded)
Seek (AAM)
19~20 dBA@1m
6.7 W
Seek (Normal)

21 dBA@1m

7.5 W
Western Digital Caviar Green Power WD7500AACS
October 2007
firmware 01.01B01

19~20 dBA@1m

3.3~5.9 W
Seek (AAM)
19~20 dBA@1m
5.4 W
Seek (Normal)

21 dBA@1m

6.7 W
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS
March 2006
firmware 07.02E07

21 dBA@1m

8.5 W
Seek (AAM)

21-22 dBA@1m

8.6 W
Seek (Normal)

23 dBA@1m

10.7 W
Seagate Barracuda IV
ST340016A – firmware 3.10

20 dBA@1m

6.7 W
Seek (AAM)

23 dBA@1m

11.3 W
Seek (Normal)

25-26 dBA@1m

11.6 W
Samsung Spinpoint
P120 SP2504C

September 05 – firmware VT100-33

21 dBA@1m

7.2 W
Seek (AAM)
23-24 dBA@1m
9.4 W
Seek (Normal)

23-24 dBA@1m

10.3 W
Samsung Spinpoint P80 (Nidec motor)
June 04 – firmware TK100-24

21 dBA@1m

6.3 W
Seek (AAM)

23-24 dBA@1m

8.3 W
Seek (Normal)

25-26 dBA@1m

9.1 W
Samsung Spinpoint P80 (JVC motor)
Feb 05 – firmware TK200-04

21 dBA@1m

6.2 W
Seek (AAM)

25 dBA@1m

n / a
Seek (Normal)

27 dBA@1m

9.3 W

No noise difference between the two WD Green Power drives could be measured — and none
could be heard either. A few minor differences showed up after thorough examination,
but these are unlikely ever to be noticed outside of our lab. For example, the
terabyte drive vibrated slightly less, but with the 750GB model’s already minuscule
amount of vibration, the difference wasn’t enough to be audible. In any case,
the cause of the difference is most likely to be sample variance than any fundamental
difference between the two capacity points.

Seek noise in the terabyte drive was slightly sharper, with less underlying
rumble. This difference was clearly audible on our test bench, but considering
how quiet the seek noise is on both models, it’s probably meaningless
in a real system.

Some small differences in power consumption were also evident. Predictably,
the terabyte drive consumed more power — about a watt during seeking. Both
drives consumed 3.7W in idle, but our terabyte sample did not exhibit the odd
fluctuations in idle power that made measuring the 750 GB model so difficult.

All in all, we are pleased (and relieved) to find that the terabyte drive is
so similar to the 750 GB model. This may be the first time we’ve ever been able
to say that the quietest drive on the market is also one of the largest. The
terabyte Green Power will find a permanent home in SPCR’s home theater test

Many thanks to Western
for the Caviar Green Power sample.


SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
SPCR’s Hard Drive Testing Methodology
SPCR’s Recommended Hard Drives
Western Digital 750 GB Green Power
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500 GB: Big,
Low Noise Champ?

Samsung Spinpoint T Series: Successor to
a Quiet Legacy

* * *

this article in the SPCR Forums

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