Tag Archives: Hard Disk Drive

Hard Disk Pre-Delay from The Tech ARP BIOS Guide!

Hard Disk Pre-Delay from The Tech ARP BIOS Guide!

Hard Disk Pre-Delay

Common Options : Disabled, 3 Seconds, 6 Seconds, 9 Seconds, 12 Seconds, 15 Seconds, 21 Seconds, 30 Seconds

 

Hard Disk Pre-Delay : A Quick Review

The Hard Disk Pre-Delay BIOS feature allows you to force the BIOS to delay the initialisation of your hard disk drives for up to 30 seconds. The delay allows your IDE devices more time to spin up before the BIOS initializes them.

If you do not use old IDE drives and the BIOS has no problem initializing your IDE devices, it is recommended that you disable this BIOS feature for the shortest possible booting time. Most IDE devices will have no problem spinning up in time for initialisation.

But if one or more of your IDE devices fail to initialize during the boot up process, start with a delay of 3 Seconds. If that doesn’t help, gradually increase the delay until all your IDE devices initialize properly during the boot up process.

 

Hard Disk Pre-Delay : The Full Details

Regardless of its shortcomings, the IDE standard is remarkably backward-compatible. Every upgrade of the standard was designed to be fully compatible with older IDE devices. So, you can actually use the old 40 MB hard disk drive that came with your ancient 386 system in your much newer Athlon XP system!

However, even backward compatibility cannot account for the slower motors used in the older IDE drives. Crucially, motherboards are capable of booting up much faster these days, initialising IDE devices much earlier.

Unfortunately, this also means that some older IDE drives will not be able to spin up in time to be initialized! When this happens, the BIOS will not be able to detect that IDE drive and the drive will not be accessible even though it is actually running just fine.

This is where the Hard Disk Pre-Delay BIOS feature comes in. It allows you to force the BIOS to delay the initialisation of your hard disk drives for up to 30 seconds. The delay allows your IDE devices more time to spin up before the BIOS initializes them.

If you do not use old IDE drives and the BIOS has no problem initializing your IDE devices, it is recommended that you disable this BIOS feature for the shortest possible booting time. Most IDE devices will have no problem spinning up in time for initialization.

But if one or more of your IDE devices fail to initialize during the boot up process, start with a delay of 3 Seconds. If that doesn’t help, gradually increase the delay until all your IDE devices initialize properly during the boot up process.

 

Recommended Reading

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Multi-Sector Transfers from The Tech ARP BIOS Guide

Multi-Sector Transfers

Common Options : Disabled, 2 Sectors, 4 Sectors, 8 Sectors, 16 Sectors, 32 Sectors, Maximum

 

Quick Review of Multi-Sector Transfers

The Multi-Sector Transfers BIOS feature speeds up hard disk drive access by transferring multiple sectors of data per interrupt instead of using the usual single-sector transfer mode. This mode of transferring data is known as block transfers.

There are a few available options, from Disabled and a few different multiple sectors option to Maximum.

The Disabled option forces your IDE controller to transfer only a single sector (512 bytes) per interrupt. Needless to say, this will significantly degrade performance.

The selection of 2 Sectors to 32 Sectors allows you to manually select the number of sectors that the IDE controller is allowed to transfer per interrupt.

The Maximum option allows your IDE controller to transfer as many sectors per interrupt as the hard disk is able to support.

Since all current hard disk drives support block transfers, there is usually no reason why IDE HDD Block Mode should be disabled.

Therefore, you should disable IDE HDD Block Mode only if you actually face the possibility of data corruption (with an unpatched version of Windows NT 4.0). Otherwise, it is highly recommended that you select the Maximum option for significantly better hard disk performance!

The manual selection of 2 to 32 sectors is useful if you notice data corruption with the Maximum option. It allows you to scale back the multi-sector transfer feature to correct the problem without losing too much performance.

 

Details of Multi-Sector Transfers

The Multi-Sector Transfers BIOS feature speeds up hard disk drive access by transferring multiple sectors of data per interrupt instead of using the usual single-sector transfer mode. This mode of transferring data is known as block transfers.

There are a few available options, from Disabled and a few different multiple sectors option to Maximum.

The Disabled option forces your IDE controller to transfer only a single sector (512 bytes) per interrupt. Needless to say, this will significantly degrade performance.

The selection of 2 Sectors to 32 Sectors allows you to manually select the number of sectors that the IDE controller is allowed to transfer per interrupt.

The Maximum option allows your IDE controller to transfer as many sectors per interrupt as the hard disk is able to support.

Since all current hard disk drives support block transfers, there is usually no reason why IDE HDD Block Mode should be disabled.

However, if you are running on Windows NT 4.0, you might need to disable this BIOS feature because Windows NT 4.0 has a problem with block transfers. According to Chris Bope, Windows NT does not support IDE HDD Block Mode and enabling this feature can cause data to be corrupted.

Ryu Connor confirmed this by sending me a link to a Microsoft article (Enhanced IDE operation under Windows NT 4.0). According to this article, IDE HDD Block Mode and 32-bit Disk Access have been found to cause data corruption in some cases. Therefore, Microsoft recommends that Windows NT 4.0 users disable IDE HDD Block Mode.

Lord Mike asked ‘someone in the know‘ about this matter and he was told that the data corruption issue was taken very seriously at Microsoft and that it had been corrected through the Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 2. Although he could not get an official statement from Microsoft, it is probably safe enough to enable IDE HDD Block Mode on a Windows NT 4.0 system, just as long as it has been upgraded with Service Pack 2.

Therefore, you should disable IDE HDD Block Mode only if you actually face the possibility of data corruption (with an unpatched version of Windows NT 4.0). Otherwise, it is highly recommended that you select the Maximum option for significantly better hard disk performance!

The manual selection of 2 to 32 sectors is useful if you notice data corruption with the Maximum option. It allows you to scale back the multi-sector transfer feature to correct the problem without losing too much performance.

 

Recommended Reading

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The Transcend StoreJet 25C3S Ultra Slim Drive Revealed!

Transcend introduces StoreJet 25C3S with an ultra-slim stylus aluminium design

Transcend just introduced the StoreJet 25C3S portable hard disk drive. As part of their StoreJet Luxury series, it features a premium aluminium alloy case with a USB 3.1 Gen1 interface.

Slim and Elegant

The Transcend StoreJet 25C3S external hard disk drive is ultra-slim at just 9.95 mm. Housed in an aluminium alloy, the drive weighs in at just 133 g. The sleek aluminium casing is also polished, sandblasted, and anodised. with CNC-finished edges.

Fast and Capacious

The StoreJet 25C3S has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface with UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) support, providing transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps. It comes pre-formatted with the NTFS file system, and up to 2TB of storage capacity.

The StoreJet 25C3S comes with both a USB Type-C cable and a USB Type-C to Type-A cable to accommodate desktops and laptops featuring the USB Type-C or USB 3.1 interface.

Transcend Elite and RecoveRx

For additional value, it comes with exclusive data management and data recovery software – Transcend Elite and RecoveRx. Both can be downloaded from Transcend’s website for free.

Transcend Elite is an advanced data management software that keeps important files organised, protected, and up-to-date. It can even protect files with 256-bit AES encryption.

RecoveRx is a free data recovery utility that allows you to recover erased files including digital photos, documents, music, and videos.

Transcend StoreJet 25C3S Storage Capacity + Warranty

The Transcend StoreJet 25C3S portable hard disk drive is offered in 1 TB and 2 TB capacities. Both are backed by Transcend’s Three-year Limited Warranty.

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PIO Mode from The Tech ARP BIOS Guide

PIO Mode

Common Options : Auto, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4

 

Quick Review

This BIOS feature allows you to set the PIO (Programmed Input / Output) mode for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to Auto lets the BIOS auto-detect the IDE drive’s maximum supported PIO transfer mode at boot-up.

Setting this BIOS feature to 0 forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 0 for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to 1 forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 1 for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 2 for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to 3 forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 3 for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 4 for the IDE drive.

Normally, you should leave it as Auto and let the BIOS auto-detect the IDE drive’s PIO transfer mode. You should only set it manually for the following reasons :-

  • if the BIOS cannot detect the correct PIO transfer mode.
  • if you want to try forcing the IDE device to use a faster PIO transfer mode than it was designed for.
  • if you want to force the IDE device to use a slower PIO transfer mode if it cannot work properly with the current PIO mode (i.e. when the PCI bus is overclocked)

Please note that forcing an IDE device to use a PIO transfer rate that is faster than what it is rated for can potentially cause data corruption.

 

Details

This BIOS feature allows you to set the PIO (Programmed Input / Output) mode for the IDE drive. Here is a table of the different PIO transfer rates and their corresponding maximum throughputs.

PIO Data Transfer Mode

Maximum Throughput

PIO Mode 0

3.3 MB/s

PIO Mode 1

5.2 MB/s

PIO Mode 2

8.3 MB/s

PIO Mode 3

11.1 MB/s

PIO Mode 4

16.6 MB/s

Setting this BIOS feature to Auto lets the BIOS auto-detect the IDE drive’s maximum supported PIO transfer mode at boot-up.

Setting this BIOS feature to 0 forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 0 for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to 1 forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 1 for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 2 for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to 3 forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 3 for the IDE drive.

Setting this BIOS feature to forces the BIOS to use PIO Mode 4 for the IDE drive.

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Normally, you should leave it as Auto and let the BIOS auto-detect the IDE drive’s PIO transfer mode. You should only set it manually for the following reasons :-

  • if the BIOS cannot detect the correct PIO transfer mode.
  • if you want to try forcing the IDE device to use a faster PIO transfer mode than it was designed for.
  • if you want to force the IDE device to use a slower PIO transfer mode if it cannot work properly with the current PIO mode (i.e. when the PCI bus is overclocked)

Please note that forcing an IDE device to use a PIO transfer rate that is faster than what it is rated for can potentially cause data corruption.

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How To Choose The Best Drive For Your PC

Western Digital colour-codes their hard disk drives not to make the drives look sexier, or to help sell more hard disk drives. They created the WD drive colours to help users understand the distinct advantages or use of each drive family. In this article, Western Digital will help us show you how to choose the best drive for your PC.

 

Every Drive Has A Purpose

There is no better person than Albert Chang, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at WD Asia Pacific, to explain why every drive has a purpose. He also points out a key point that users often forget to factor when consumers purchase a drive – the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

That’s right. The TCO is often overlooked, because that is ultimately the price you are paying over the lifetime of a drive. So make sure you don’t just buy the cheapest possible drive, because that may result in a high TCO… including the loss of priceless data.

 

Introducing The Five WD Drive Colours

Here is a quick primer on the five WD drive colours, and how they can help you determine the best drive for your PC.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each WD drive colour, and find out what advantages each drive colour boasts!

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WD Blue For Mainstream PCs

The WD Blue (Price Check) family are focused on offering highly-affordable drives with large storage capacities.

The WD Blue family does not just consist of hard disk drives. Western Digital also offers WD Blue SSHDs (solid state hybrid drives) and WD Blue SSDs (solid state drives).

For more information, you can read these WD Blue articles :

 

WD Black For High Performance PCs

The WD Black family (Price Check) is targeted at power users and gamers who want the fastest possible hard disk drives for their PCs.

The WD Black drives offer a much higher spindle speed, a very large cache, and a fast processor. For more information, you can read these WD Black articles :

 

WD Red For NAS Storage

The WD Red (Price Check) family of NAS drives is specifically designed for the “always on” environment of a NAS enclosure. They run cooler and vibrate less, greatly increasing their reliability and lifespan in NAS enclosures.

The WD Red drives are also optimised for NAS usage patterns (80% reads, 20% writes), so you will be able to access your files faster than with a regular hard disk drive.

For more information, you can read these WD Red articles :

 

WD Purple For Surveillance

WD Purple drives (Price Check) are designed to handle the high-temperature, “always-on” environment of the CCTV and DVR systems. Regular drives will fail quickly under such conditions.

They are also designed to handle multiple video streams without dropped frames, or gaps in recorded footage… and do this 24/7 without rest!

For more information on the WD Purple, and why it is the best drive for surveillance and CCTV systems, please read :

 

WD Gold For Datacenters

Qualified for nearline storage use in datacenters, datacenter hard disk drives like WD Gold (Price Check) are designed to offer high storage capacities at maximum performance and reliability while operating continuously 24 hours a day in large drive arrays.

So if you want nothing but the best drive to secure your company’s data, there can be no doubt that the WD Gold (Price Check) is the ultimate storage solution.

For more information, you can read these WD Gold articles :

 

What Is The Best Drive For YOU?

The WD drive colours make it extremely simple for you to choose the best drive for the job.

If you want the best hard disk drive for your gaming PC or laptop, the WD Black drives are your best options.

If you just need to store a large amount of data at very low cost, the WD Blue drives are your best bet.

If you have a NAS enclosure, you will not want to use any other drives but WD Red drives for better performance and reliability.

If you have a CCTV system, you will not want to use any other drives but WD Purple drives for stutter-free recording and a long lifespan.

If you are running a server, you will want the high performance and exceptional reliability of the WD Gold drives.

See? The WD drive colours make it extremely easy for you to find the best drive for the job!

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Disclosure

This post was sponsored by Western Digital.

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The Transcend StoreJet 200 For Mac Revealed!

Transcend Information Inc. just announced the StoreJet 200 for Mac portable hard drive. This is a large capacity and lightweight drive for Mac devices.

 

The Transcend StoreJet 200 For Mac

Featuring the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface, a USB Type-C connector, and pre-formatted with the HFS+ file system, the Transcend StoreJet 200 is ready to go right out of the package.

Lightweight and capacious

Transcend’s StoreJet 200 for Mac is only 9.95 mm thick and weighs in at just 133 g. Yet, the StoreJet 200 for Mac comes with a storage capacity of 2TB.

Stylish and speedy

Enclosed in a sleek aluminum housing, the StoreJet 200 for Mac features a classic silver color, CNC-finished edges, and sturdy industrial design. In addition, it utilizes the high speed USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface and USB Type-C port.

Both a USB Type-C cable and a USB Type-C to Type-A cable are included in the package to ensure that it will work with all MacBook, Macbook Pro, and iMac models.

Native formatting in HFS+

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The StoreJet 200 for Mac is factory formatted with the HFS+ file system, allowing it to be used right out of the box with Time Machine. Users can select it as a backup destination directly without worrying about the storage capacity.

Advanced Transcend Elite software

Transcend Elite is an advanced software suite compatible with both macOS and Windows that features powerful and user-friendly applications, such as backup and restore, data encryption, and cloud backup that help users manage data and increase productivity.

Warranty

The Transcend StoreJet 200 for Mac portable hard drive is backed by Transcend’s three-year limited warranty.

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WD Introduces MAMR Technology For 40TB & Beyond!

October 13, 2017 — Western Digital just announced a breakthrough innovation for delivering ultra-high capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) to meet the future demands of Big Data with proven data center-level reliability. They also demonstrated world’s first microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) HDD and presentations from company executives and the inventor of MAMR technology, Professor Jimmy Zhu from Carnegie Mellon University.

Western Digital also showcased advancements in micro actuation and Damascene recording head technology. Western Digital expects to begin shipping ultra-high capacity MAMR HDDs in 2019 for use in data centers that support Big Data applications across a full range of industries.

 

The MAMR Technology

MAMR is one of two energy-assisted technologies that Western Digital has been developing for years. They recently innovated a breakthrough in material and process that provides the required reliable and predictable performance, as well as the manufacturability to accelerate areal density and cost improvements to an estimated average of 15% per year.

Developments in the other energy-assisted technology, specifically, heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), present new material science and reliability challenges that are not a factor in MAMR. Only MAMR demonstrates the reliability and cost profile that meets the demands of data center operators.

At the heart of the company’s innovation breakthrough is the “spin torque oscillator” used to generate a microwave field that increases the ability to record data at ultra-high density without sacrificing reliability. Western Digital’s innovative MAMR technology is expected to offer over 4 terabits-per-square-inch over time. With sustained improvements in recording density, MAMR promises to enable hard drives with 40TB of capacity and beyond by 2025, and continued expansion beyond that timeframe.

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Western Digital’s MAMR technology is the latest innovation to significantly improve areal densities. It builds upon a number of other leading innovations from the company. In addition to HelioSeal helium-filled drive technology, MAMR also builds upon the company’s micro actuation and recording head manufacturing technologies.

Western Digital’s advanced micro actuation technology for data center applications enables hard drives to accurately and reliably position magnetic heads for writing and reading at ultra-high densities. Their head manufacturing operations are the only internal supplier to utilize Damascene processing to manufacture heads with the precise tolerances and complex structures required for reliable and cost-effective recording at ultra-high densities.

The Damascene process also provides the capability to embed the spin torque oscillator that enables the manufacturing of MAMR heads. The combination of these technologies deliver superior total cost of ownership (TCO) across all sizes of cloud and enterprise data centers.

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The 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) Hard Disk Drive Review

The popularity of Network-Attached Storage (NAS) systems has fuelled a surge in demand for large capacity hard disk drives. This interest led Western Digital to create the WD Red NAS-optimised family of hard disk drives. Today, we are going to look at the first helium-filled WD Red model – the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive!

 

The WD Red Family

The WD Red family of NAS-optimised hard disk drives, with storage capacities from 750 GB all the way to 10 TB. Here is a specification comparison of the five key models:

Specifications10TB WD Red8TB WD Red6TB WD Red5TB WD Red4TB WD Red
ModelWD100EFAXWD80EFZXWD60EFRXWD50EFRXWD40EFRX
HelioSeal TechnologyYesNoNoNoNo
Advanced Format TechnologyYes (512-byte emulation)Yes (512-byte emulation)Yes (512-byte emulation)Yes (512-byte emulation)Yes (512-byte emulation)
Spindle Speed5400 RPM5400 RPM5400 RPM5400 RPM5400 RPM
Cache256 MB SDRAM128 MB SDRAM64 MB SDRAM64 MB SDRAM64 MB SDRAM
Maximum Read / Write Speed210 MB/s178 MB/s175 MB/s150 MB/s147 MB/s
Average Read / Write Power Consumption5.7 W6.4 W5.3 W4.5 W4.1 W
Idle Power Consumption2.8 W5.2 W3.4 W3.3 W2.7 W
Acoustics (Seek / Idle)29 dBA / 20 dBA29 dBA / 20 dBA28 dBA / 25 dBA28 dBA / 25 dBA24 dBA / 23 dBA
MTBF (hours)1 million1 million1 million1 million1 million
Rated World Load (Per Year)180 TB180 TB180 TB180 TB180 TB
Warranty3 Years3 Years3 Years3 Years3 Years

They all share the following common features :
  • NAS Compatibility – Advanced firmware technology built into every WD Red drive, enables seamless integration, robust data protection and optimal performance for systems operating in NAS and RAID environments.
  • Exclusive NASware 3.0 Technology – WD’s exclusive NASware 3.0 technology further optimizes the WD Red for the NAS environment, allowing the WD Red to support small NAS systems with up to 8 bays!
  • 3D Active Balance Plus – This enhanced dual-plane balance control technology significantly improves the overall drive performance and reliability. Hard drives that are not properly balanced may cause excessive vibration and noise in a multidrive system, reduce the hard drive lifespan, and degrade the performance over time.[adrotate group=”2″]
  • Enhanced Reliability – With a 35% MTBF improvement over standard desktop drives, the WD Red drive is designed and manufactured to be a more reliable and robust solution.
  • Energy Efficient – Innovative technology reduces power consumption and lowers the operating temperature, resulting in a more reliable and affordable solution for always on 24×7 NAS environments.
  • Premium Support – Exclusively for WD Red drive customers, a free dedicated 24/7 support line is available in English. Other regional support hours vary.
  • Longer Warranty Coverage – The WD Red drive is backed by a 3-year limited warranty for greater peace of mind.

Now, let’s check out the 10TB WD Red (Lowest Price) hard disk drive!

 

 

A Quick Look At The 10TB WD Red

The 10TB WD Red (Lowest Price) hard disk drive came in a sealed antistatic plastic pack. Notably, it lacked the usual sachet of desiccants. That’s because the drive is hermetically-sealed in the factory, and filled with helium. Also notable is their use of two gold-coloured screws to lock the PCB in place.

To remove the drive, just tear off the top or cut it open, and slide out the drive. Be sure to ground yourself before removing and handling the hard disk drive as static can damage it. In particular, you should try to avoid touching the exposed PCB located on the lower underside of the drive.

Next Page > The 10TB WD Red NAS Drive, HelioSeal, SATA 6 Gb/s

 

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The 10TB WD Red NAS Drive

Despite featuring a hermetically-sealed chassis, the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) drive looks deceptively like any other 3.5″ hard disk drive. In fact, it even sports the same printed label on the top plate, with an uncovered PCB on the underside.

The label has a lot of important information, like the hard disk drive model, storage capacity as well as its date and place of manufacture. This particular drive was manufactured in Thailand on the 1st of April, 2017. You can also see that the drive uses the Advanced Format Technology to achieve its high storage density.

 

HelioSeal Technology

The 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS-optimised drive is one of the few hard disk drives in the market to feature the revolutionary HGST HelioSeal technology. It is hermetically sealed at the factory, and filled with helium.

Instead of a breather hole that is present in all “air-filled” hard disk drives, it has two sealed ports that are used to extract air from inside the chassis, and replacing it with helium.

Because helium is only 1/7th the density of “regular air”, it allows for less friction conferring the following benefits :

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  • The lower friction reduces the amount of power required to spin the platters, reducing both energy costs and thermal output.
  • Internal turbulence is greatly reduced, which makes tracking more precise and reliable. This indirectly allows for greater areal density.
  • The lower power requirement and internal turbulence allow more platters and heads to be added in the same volume of space.
  • The completely sealed environment eliminates reliability issues that can occur if breather filters get clogged up with dirt.

The only things stopping helium-filled drives from becoming mainstream are the relatively high cost of helium, and the difficulty in sealing the drive.

 

SATA 6 Gb/s

This is a Serial ATA drive, with native support for SATA 6 Gb/s. However, it is backward-compatible so you will have no problem using it with older SATA 3 Gb/s controllers.

The SATA 6 Gb/s interface is necessary for optimal performance since the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive boasts a maximum sustained internal (platter-to-buffer) transfer rate of 210 MB/s, and a large and fast DDR3 SDRAM cache.

Like all Serial ATA drives, it comes the standard SATA data (left) and power (right) connectors and is hot-pluggable. That means you can connect and disconnect this hard disk drive to the server, computer or NAS while it’s still running.

Next Page > Under The PCB, Testing The 10TB WD Red NAS Drive

 

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What’s Under The PCB?

Western Digital has a penchant for keeping all surface-mounted components on the reverse side of the PCB – to prevent static damage and to allow for better cooling. The PCB is protected by a thin foam cutout on the chassis side, with a thermal pad to help transfer heat from the HDD controller to the hard disk drive chassis.

Unfortunately, we can’t make out the hard disk drive controller Western Digital used, but we can see that it uses the ST Microelectronics L7232 motor drive controller, which features their proprietary Smooth Drive pseudo-sinusoidal digital drive technology.

The 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive boasts a large 256 MB SDRAM cache, courtesy of an EtronTech EM6GD16EWXC-12H chip. This is a DDR3-1600 SDRAM chip with 8 memory banks and timings of 11-11-11. This gives it a peak transfer rate of 400 MB/s.

Finally, the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive has two shock sensors that allow it to better detect shock and vibration events, and dynamically adjust the flying height of the read/write heads to avoid head crashes.

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Testing The 10TB WD Red NAS Drive

Processors Intel Core i7-2600K
Motherboard Intel DP67BG
Memory Four Kingmax 2 GB DDR3-1333 modules
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
Hard Disk Drives 10 TB Western Digital Red
8 TB Western Digital Gold
6 TB Western Digital Black
6 TB Western Digital Red
6 TB Western Digital Green

4 TB Western Digital Red Pro
4 TB Western Digital Re
4 TB Western Digital Black Gen. 2

4 TB Western Digital Red

3 TB Western Digital Red
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Microsoft Windows Vista 32-bit

 

Testing Methodology

Next Page > Usable Capacity, Platter Profile, Operating Temperature

 

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Usable Capacity

The 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive has an official formatted capacity of 10 terabytes. We checked that out by formatting it in NTFS using Microsoft Windows 7.

The actual formatted capacity was 10,000,695,029,760 bytes, which is about 695 MB higher than the official storage capacity. With about 494 MB allocated to the NTFS file system, the actual usable capacity was slightly above 10 TB.

 

Platter Profile

The platter profile of the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive was pretty good. There appeared to be some use of replacement sectors, but nothing particularly significant.

We also compared its platter profile to that of the 6TB WD Red, which was the last WD Red drive we reviewed. We can see right away that the 10TB WD Red uses higher density platters, which gave it a very high throughput.

In fact, the outermost tracks of the 6TB WD Red only equalised the 10TB WD Red at the 6.5 TB point. Even at its slowest tracks, the 10TB WD Red was as fast as the 6TB WD Red at its 5 GB point.

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Maximum Surface Temperature

We monitored the surface temperature of seven hard disk drives during their benchmarks. The following chart shows their operating temperature range, from idle to maximum load. Please note that instead of giving you the absolute numbers, we are showing the temperature delta, which is the difference between the actual temperature and the ambient room temperature.

Despite packing 2 additional platters than the 6TB WD Black, the 10TB WD Red drive was significantly cooler at full load. It ran a little warmer than the 8TB WD Gold – another helium-filled drive, but was cooler at idle.

This reduced thermal output (and power consumption) is a key advantage of helium-filled hard disk drives like the 10TB WD Red drive. When used in large NAS systems with up to 8 drives running non-stop, the lower energy costs of running them, and keeping them cool, will be very significant.

Next Page > Transfer Rate Range, WinBench Results

 

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Transfer Rate Range

This chart shows you the range of platter-to-buffer transfer rates from the innermost track to the outermost track. In other words, it shows you the range of disk transfer rates of the hard disk drives (from minimum to maximum).

The 10TB WD Red NAS drive has an official peak throughput of 210 MB/s, which was confirmed by our tests. In fact, it actually peaked at 217 MB/s. While it was still slightly slower than the 6TB WD Black, that puts it ahead of most of its competitors.

Both the 8TB WD Gold and the 10TB WD Red have 7 platters. The 10TB WD Red use higher density 1.43 GB platters to compensate for the 8TB WD Gold‘s higher 7200 RPM spindle speed. This proves yet again that HDD performance is not always about the spindle speed… 😉

 

Business Disk WinBench 99

Even though it’s not optimised for desktop applications, the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive did very well in this benchmark, coming in faster than even the 6TB WD Black.

Hard Disk Drive Model Capacity Business Disk
WinMark 99
Difference Useful Links
Western Digital Red 10 TB 32.5 MB/s Baseline Lowest $
Western Digital Black 6 TB 26.1 MB/s – 19.7% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Green 6 TB 25.6 MB/s – 21.2% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Black 4 TB 24.0 MB/s – 26.2% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red Pro 4 TB 23.4 MB/s – 28.0% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Gold 8 TB 23.3 MB/s – 28.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Re 4 TB 20.4 MB/s – 37.2% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 6 TB 19.4 MB/s – 40.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 4 TB 17.5 MB/s – 46.2% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 3 TB 16.1 MB/s – 50.5% Review Lowest $

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High-End Disk WinBench 99

The 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive was top in this benchmark too, edging out the very fast 6TB WD Black.

Hard Disk Drive Model Capacity High-End Disk
WinMark 99
Difference Useful Links
Western Digital Red 10 TB 150 MB/s Baseline Lowest $
Western Digital Black 6 TB 143 MB/s – 4.7% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Green 6 TB 140 MB/s – 6.7% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Black 4 TB 138 MB/s – 8.0% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red Pro 4 TB 137 MB/s – 8.7% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Gold 8 TB 133 MB/s – 11.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Re 4 TB 121 MB/s – 19.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 6 TB 121 MB/s – 19.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 4 TB 118 MB/s – 21.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 3 TB 107 MB/s – 24.0% Review Lowest $

Next Page > IO Meter (Random Access) Performance

 

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IO Meter (Random Access)

We compared the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive to the 6TB WD RedFor more performance comparisons, please take a look at The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide.

 

Random Throughput

The small random reads and writes are the most important tests for applications that make a lot of random accesses, so those would be key performance indicators for drives that are used as boot or system drives, but not very important for NAS systems.

With the exception of small reads, the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) was far superior than the 6TB WD Red in all other aspects. Most impressively, it was 3X faster at small writes, most likely due to its large, fast cache.

Test  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
512 KB Read 27.92 MB/s 18.70 MB/s + 49.3%
512 KB Write 31.65 MB/s 20.81 MB/s + 52.1%
4 KB Read 0.27 MB/s 0.26 MB/s + 3.8%
4 KB Write 0.76 MB/s 0.24 MB/s + 216.7%

 

Random Access Time

Test  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
512 KB Read 18.78 ms 28.04 ms – 33.0%
512 KB Write 16.56 ms 25.19 ms – 34.2%
4 KB Read 15.24 ms 15.81 ms – 3.6%
4 KB Write 5.36 ms 17.29 ms – 69.0%

The access times dropped significantly across the board. The small decrease in the 4KB read access time is more than compensated by the incredibly large decrease in the 4KB write access time.

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Random CPU Utilisation

Test  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
512 KB Read 28.79 % 0.41 % + 6922%
512 KB Write 29.07 % 0.44 % + 6507%
4 KB Read 28.83 % 0.38 % + 7487%
4 KB Write 28.82 % 0.39 % + 7290%

We are not sure what HDD controller Western Digital used for the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive, but they appeared to have decided to focus on performance at the expense of CPU utilisation. This is not a problem for NAS systems because they have a processor that is dedicated to such operations. Such high CPU utilisation though means the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) would not make for a very good desktop drive.

Next Page > IO Meter Sequential Access Performance

 

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IO Meter (Sequential Access)

We compared the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) NAS drive to the 6TB WD RedFor more performance comparisons, please take a look at The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide.

 

Sequential Throughput

Test  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
512 KB Read 215.25 MB/s 172.71 MB/s + 24.6%
512 KB Write 215.45 MB/s 173.09 MB/s + 24.5%
4 KB Read 84.70 MB/s 51.64 MB/s + 64.0%
4 KB Write 71.53 MB/s 50.09 MB/s + 42.8%

This is the most important test for the NAS drives because it shows their ability to read and write files sequentially. The large sequential transfer performance is particularly important since many NAS system deal with large files (larger than 512 KB in this context).

Without a doubt, the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) is much faster than the 6TB WD Red in all aspects. The biggest boost was in small sequential reads.

 

Sequential Access Time

Test  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
512 KB Read 2.43 ms 3.03 ms – 19.8%
512 KB Write 2.43 ms 3.03 ms – 19.7%
4 KB Read 0.05 ms 0.08 ms – 39.2%
4 KB Write 0.06 ms 0.08 ms – 30.0%

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Sequential CPU Utilisation

Test  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
512 KB Read 29.84 % 0.96 % + 3008%
512 KB Write 29.49 % 1.14 % + 2487%
4 KB Read 35.77 % 8.52 % + 319.8%
4 KB Write 35.17 % 9.15 % + 284.4%

Even in sequential accesses, the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) took up an excessive amount of CPU utilisation. Again, this is not a problem for NAS systems, but will be an issue for those who choose to use this drive in their desktop systems.

Next Page > IOPS Scaling (Random) Performance

 

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IOPS Scaling (Random)

We tested the drive’s ability to tackle multiple input/output operations, comparing the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) to the 6TB WD Red. For more performance comparisons, please take a look at The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide.

Although we don’t know what hard disk drive controller used in the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX), we can see that it is significantly faster than the Marvell 88i1047-NDB2 controller used in the 6TB WD Red. Its performance was particularly impressive in the 4 KB random write test.

 

4 KB Random Read

Outstanding I/Os  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
1 66 IOPS 63 IOPS + 3.7%
8 112 IOPS 98 IOPS + 14.1%
32 142 IOPS 136 IOPS + 3.7%

 

4 KB Random Write

Outstanding I/Os  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
1 186 IOPS 58 IOPS + 222.3%
8 192 IOPS 58 IOPS + 228.7%
32 186 IOPS 57 IOPS + 224.2%

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512 KB Random Read

Outstanding I/Os  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
1 53 IOPS 36 IOPS + 49.3%
8 72 IOPS 37 IOPS + 96.2%
32 76 IOPS 47 IOPS + 61.4%

 

512 KB Random Write

Outstanding I/Os  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
1 59 IOPS 40 IOPS + 52.1%
8 57 IOPS 40 IOPS + 43.6%
32 60 IOPS 40 IOPS + 47.5%

Next Page > IOPS Scaling (Sequential) Performance

 

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IOPS Scaling (Sequential)

We tested the drive’s ability to tackle multiple input/output operations, comparing the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) to the 6TB WD Red. For more performance comparisons, please take a look at The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide.

The 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) was much faster than the 6TB WD Red in all aspects. Its performance was particularly impressive in the 4 KB sequential read test.

 

4 KB Sequential Read

Outstanding I/Os  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
1 20,680 IOPS 12,608 IOPS + 64.0%
8 52,847 IOPS 37,207 IOPS + 42.0%
32 52,441 IOPS 36,793 IOPS + 42.5%

 

4 KB Sequential Write

Outstanding I/Os  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
1 17,463 IOPS 12,228 IOPS + 42.8%
8 46,286 IOPS 38,668 IOPS + 19.7%
32 46,609 IOPS 38,560 IOPS + 20.9%

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512 KB Sequential Read

Outstanding I/Os  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
1 411 IOPS 329 IOPS + 24.6%
8 411 IOPS 329 IOPS + 24.8%
32 414 IOPS 329 IOPS + 25.5%

 

512 KB Sequential Write

Outstanding I/Os  WD Red
(10 TB) 
 WD Red
(6 TB) 
Difference
1 411 IOPS 330 IOPS + 24.5%
8 412 IOPS 331 IOPS + 24.5%
32 411 IOPS 330 IOPS + 24.6%

Next Page > Our Verdict & Award, Full Specifications

 

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Our Verdict & Award

This is our second review of a helium-filled hard disk drive (after the 8TB WD Gold), and we continue to be impressed. Even from its specifications alone, we can already see a significant reduction in power consumption and noise levels. These are not minor either.

The 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) boasts 11% lower power consumption than the air-filled WD Red models at peak loads, and an astounding 46% lower power consumption during idle! It accomplished this despite packing 2-4 more platters than the other WD Red drives.

The platters of the 10TB WD Red (WD100EFAX) still spin at a relatively sedate 5400 RPM, but they have a very high areal density, boasting a storage capacity of 1.43 GB per platter. This high areal density gave it a very high throughput, allowing it to beat even the 8TB WD Gold, which has a spindle speed of 7200 RPM.

Our benchmarks show that it is one of the fastest hard disk drives in the market, beating even high-performance drives like the 6TB WD Black. This is very impressive performance for a 5400 RPM drive that is optimised for NAS systems.

The downside though is its high CPU utilisation. This is not a problem if you intend to use it in a relatively new NAS system, but it may be a problem if you pack more than two of them in an old NAS system with a slow processor. The high CPU utilisation will also be an issue if you intend to use this drive in your desktop PC.

Despite the high CPU utilisation, its stellar performance deserves our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Western Digital!

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The 10TB WD Red Specifications

Specifications10 TB WD Red NAS Hard Disk Drive
ModelWD100EFAX
Form Factor3.5 inch
Platter And Head Count7 Platters with 14 Read/Write Heads
Advanced Format TechnologyYes (512-byte emulation)
Formatted Capacity10 TB
Native Command QueuingYes
InterfaceSATA 6 Gb/s
Spindle Speed5400 RPM
Sustained read / write performance210 MB/s (maximum)
Cache256 MB DDR3-1600 SDRAM
Average Power ConsumptionRead / Write : 5.7 W
Idle : 2.8 W
Temperature Rating0 to 65 °C (Operating)
-40 to 70 °C (Non-Operating)
Shock RatingOperating : 65 G (half-sine wave, 2 ms)
Non-Operating : 250 G (half-sine wave, 2 ms)
AcousticsSeek : 29 dBA (average)
Idle : 20 dBA
Load / Unload Cycles600,000
Non-Recoverable Read Errors per Bits Read14
MTBF (Maximum Time Before Failure)1,000,000 hours
Rated Workload (Per Year)180 TB
Warranty3 Years
Physical Dimensions101.6 mm (4.0") wide x 147.0 mm (5.787") long x 26.1 mm (1.028") high
Weight650 g (1.43 lbs)

Go Back To > First PageReviews | Home

 

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The 8TB WD Gold Datacenter Drive (WD8002FRYZ) Review

WD Gold Datacenter Drives

On April 20, 2016, Western Digital launched the new WD Gold family of hard disk drives. These hard disk drives are designed for maximum performance and reliability in the highly demanding conditions of a datacenter. In fact, they are rated to handle workloads of up to 550 TB per year (1.5 TB per day), with a MTBF rating of up to 2.5 million hours!

Today, we are going to take a look at the 8TB Western Digital Gold hard disk drive. This is one of the two helium-filled WD Gold models to feature a hermetically-sealed chassis with an internal helium environment. That’s not what’s different though. For your convenience, we created a specification comparison of the WD Gold family of datacenter drives :

Specifications10TB WD Gold8TB WD Gold6TB WD Gold4TB WD Gold
ModelWD101KRYZWD8002FRYZWD6002FRYZWD4002FYYZ
HelioSeal TechnologyYesYesNoNo
Advanced Format TechnologyYes (512-byte emulation)Yes (512-byte emulation)Yes (512-byte emulation)No
Spindle Speed7200 RPM7200 RPM7200 RPM7200 RPM
Cache256 MB SDRAM128 MB SDRAM128 MB SDRAM128 MB SDRAM
Maximum Read / Write Speed249 MB/s205 MB/s226 MB/s201 MB/s
Sequential Read / Write Power Consumption7.1 W / 6.7 W7.2 W / 7.0 W9.3 W / 8.9 W9.0 W / 8.7 W
Random Read / Write Power Consumption6.8 W / 5.0 W7.4 W / 5.1 W9.1 W / 7.1 W8.8 W / 7.0 W
Acoustics (Seek / Idle)36 dBA / 20 dBA36 dBA / 20 dBA36 dBA / 29 dBA36 dBA / 29 dBA
MTBF (hours)2.5 million2.5 million2 million2 million
Warranty5 Years5 Years5 Years5 Years

Now, let’s check out the 8TB WD Gold datacenter hard disk drive!

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Unboxing The 8TB WD Gold Drive

The 8TB WD Gold (WD8002FRYZ) hard disk drive came in a sealed antistatic plastic pack. Notably, it lacked the usual sachet of desiccants. That’s because the drive is hermetically-sealed in the factory, and filled with helium. Also notable is their use of two gold-coloured screws to lock the PCB in place.

To remove the drive, just tear off the top or cut it open, and slide out the drive. Be sure to ground yourself before removing and handling the hard disk drive as static can damage it. In particular, you should try to avoid touching the exposed PCB located on the lower underside of the drive.

Next Page > The 8TB WD Gold, HelioSeal & Media Caching Technologies

 

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The 8TB WD Gold Datacenter Drive

Despite featuring a hermetically-sealed chassis, the 8TB WD Gold (WD8002FRYZ) datacenter drive looks deceptively like any other 3.5″ desktop hard disk drive. In fact, it has the same label on the top plate, with an uncovered PCB on the underside.

The label has a lot of important information, like the hard drive model, storage capacity as well as its date and place of manufacture. This particular drive was manufactured in Thailand on the 26th of March, 2016. You can also see that the drive uses the Advanced Format Technology to achieve its high storage density.

 

HelioSeal Technology

The 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive is one of the few hard disk drives in the market to feature the revolutionary HGST HelioSeal technology. It is hermetically sealed at the factory, and filled with helium. The hole, which normally serves as the breather hole in a normal “air-filled” hard disk drive, is likely the port through which the air is extracted and replaced with helium.

Because helium is only 1/7th the density of “regular air”, it allows for less friction conferring the following benefits :

  • The lower friction reduces the amount of power required to spin the platters, reducing both energy costs and thermal output.
  • Internal turbulence is greatly reduced, which makes tracking more precise and reliable. This indirectly allows for greater areal density.
  • The lower power requirement and internal turbulence allow more platters and heads to be added in the same volume of space.
  • The completely sealed environment eliminates reliability issues that can occur if breather filters get clogged up with dirt.

The only things stopping helium-filled drives from becoming mainstream are the relatively high cost of helium, and the difficulty in sealing the drive.

 

Media Caching Technology

This feature was mentioned only perfunctorily in the Western Digital press release, which led many writers to assume that they added a NAND flash cache, like the ones used in SSHDs (examples : 4TB WD Blue SSHD, 1TB WD Blue SSHD). Unfortunately, that’s not true.

The media caching technology used in the WD Gold datacenter drives are also a HGST technology, like HelioSeal. It doesn’t use any additional components, just the existing SDRAM cache and the hard disk drive platters. This is how it works :

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  • Small media cache areas are created in regular intervals across the platters. These are only visible to the drive controller, and are hidden to the computer and operating system.
  • Data written to the SDRAM cache are combined and regularly written down to the nearest media cache areas at a higher internal queue depth.
  • These dispersed media cache areas boost write performance by greatly reducing head movements as data is written to the drive.
  • The write data is simultaneously de-staged, which eliminates burst activity and their impact on reads from the platters.
  • In the event of a sudden power-off event, the media cache areas is used to quickly restore the SDRAM cache.

Generally, the media caching technology increases random write performance with a slight boost in read performance.

Next Page > SATA 6 Gb/s, What’s Under The PCB?

 

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SATA 6 Gb/s

This is a Serial ATA drive, with native support for SATA 6 Gb/s. However, it is backward-compatible so you will have no problem using it with older SATA 3 Gb/s controllers.

The SATA 6 Gb/s interface is necessary for optimal performance since the 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive boasts a maximum sustained internal (platter-to-buffer) transfer rate of 205 MB/s, and a large and fast DDR3 SDRAM cache.

Like all Serial ATA drives, it comes the standard SATA data (left) and power (right) connectors and is hot-pluggable. That means you can connect and disconnect this hard disk drive to the server, computer or NAS while it’s still running.

 

What’s Under The PCB?

Western Digital has a penchant for keeping all surface-mounted components on the reverse side of the PCB – to prevent static damage and to allow for better cooling. The PCB is protected by a thin foam cutout on the chassis side, with a thermal pad to help transfer heat from the HDD controller to the hard disk drive chassis.

The 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive uses the LSI 7101B hard disk drive controller, and the ST Microelectronics L7229 motor drive controller, which features their proprietary Smooth Drive pseudo-sinusoidal digital drive technology.

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The 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive boasts a large 128 MB SDRAM cache, courtesy of a Samsung K4B1G1646G-BCK0 chip. This is a DDR3-1600 SDRAM chip with 8 memory banks and timings of 11-11-11. This gives it a peak transfer rate of 400 MB/s.

Finally, the 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive has two shock sensors that allow it to better detect shock and vibration events, and dynamically adjust the flying height of the read/write heads to avoid head crashes.

Next Page > Testing The Drive, Usable Capacity, Platter Profile, Temperature

 

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Testing The WD Gold 8TB Datacenter Drive

Processors Intel Core i7-2600K
Motherboard Intel DP67BG
Memory Four Kingmax 2 GB DDR3-1333 modules
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
Hard Disk Drives 8 TB Western Digital Gold
6 TB Western Digital Black
6 TB Western Digital Red
6 TB Western Digital Green

4 TB Western Digital Red Pro
4 TB Western Digital Re
4 TB Western Digital Black Gen. 2

4 TB Western Digital Red

3 TB Western Digital Red

3 TB Western Digital Caviar Green
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Microsoft Windows Vista 32-bit

 

Testing Methodology

 

Usable Capacity

The WD Gold 8TB datacenter drive has an official formatted capacity of 8,001,563,222,016 bytes. We checked that out by formatting it in NTFS using Microsoft Windows 7.

The actual formatted capacity was 8,001,427,599,360 bytes, which is about 136 MB lower than the official storage capacity. With about 338 MB allocated to the NTFS file system, the actual usable capacity remained slightly above 8 TB.

 

Platter Profile

As expected from a premium, datacenter-grade hard disk drive, the platter profile of the WD Gold 8TB datacenter drive was phenomenal. There were absolutely zero dips in throughput that would signify a significant use of replacement sectors. Lots of them would be evidence of poor platter quality.

We also compared its platter profile to that of the 6TB WD Black – Western Digital’s top-of-the-line desktop hard disk drive. We can see that the denser platters allow the 6TB WD Black to achieve a higher throughput initially, but the 8TB WD Gold equalised it at around the 3.5TB point.

Thereafter, the 8TB WD Gold was faster. In fact, at the 6TB point, the 8TB WD Gold was about 36% faster than the 6TB WD Black.

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Maximum Surface Temperature

We monitored the surface temperature of seven hard disk drives during their benchmarks. The following chart shows their operating temperature range, from idle to maximum load. Please note that instead of giving you the absolute numbers, we are showing the temperature delta, which is the difference between the actual temperature and the ambient room temperature.

Despite packing 2 additional platters than the 6TB WD Black, the 8TB WD Gold drive was significantly cooler at full load. In fact, it ran cooler than the 4 TB WD Black Gen. 2, and the 4 TB WD Red Pro drives!

This reduced thermal output (and power consumption) is a key advantage of helium-filled hard disk drives like the 8TB WD Gold drive. When deployed in the hundreds or thousands in a datacenter, the lower energy costs of running them, and keeping them cool, will be very significant.

Next Page > Transfer Rate Range, Disk WinMark Results

 

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Transfer Rate Range

This chart shows you the range of platter-to-buffer transfer rates from the innermost track to the outermost track. In other words, it shows you the range of disk transfer rates of the hard disk drives (from minimum to maximum).

The 8TB WD Gold drive has an official peak throughput of 205 MB/s, which was confirmed by our tests. In fact, it actually peaked at 209 MB/s. While that puts it ahead of most of the competition, it was still slower than the 6TB WD Black.

This is because the 8TB WD Gold uses platters with slightly lower areal density (about 1,142 GB per platter) than the 6TB WD Black, which boasts 1,200 GB per platter.

 

Business Disk WinBench 99

The 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive is not optimised for desktop applications, so it’s no wonder that it isn’t the fastest drive in this test. Even so, the 8TB Gold datacenter drive did reasonably well, coming within 12% of the 6TB WD Black.

Hard Disk Drive Model Capacity Business Disk
WinMark 99
Difference Useful Links
Western Digital Black 6 TB 26.1 MB/s + 12.0% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Green 6 TB 25.6 MB/s + 9.9% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Black 4 TB 24.0 MB/s + 3.0% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red Pro 4 TB 23.4 MB/s + 0.4% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Gold 8 TB 23.3 MB/s Baseline Lowest $
Western Digital Re 4 TB 20.4 MB/s – 12.4% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 6 TB 19.4 MB/s – 16.7% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 4 TB 17.5 MB/s – 24.9% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB 16.3 MB/s – 30.0% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 3 TB 16.1 MB/s – 30.9% Review Lowest $

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High-End Disk WinBench 99

Again, the 8TB WD Gold was fast, but it was not exceptionally fast because it’s not optimised for desktop applications.

Hard Disk Drive Model Capacity High-End Disk
WinMark 99
Difference Useful Links
Western Digital Black 6 TB 143.0 MB/s + 7.5% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Green 6 TB 140.0 MB/s + 5.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Black 4 TB 138.0 MB/s + 3.8% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red Pro 4 TB 137.0 MB/s + 3.0% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Gold 8 TB 133.0 MB/s Baseline Lowest $
Western Digital Re 4 TB 121.0 MB/s – 9.0% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 6 TB 121.0 MB/s – 9.0% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 4 TB 118.0 MB/s – 11.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB 114.0 MB/s – 14.3% Review Lowest $
Western Digital Red 3 TB 107.0 MB/s – 19.5% Review Lowest $

Next Page > IO Meter – Random Access Performance

 

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IO Meter (Random Accesses)

We compared the 8 TB Western Digital Gold to the 6 TB Western Digital Black – the fastest desktop-grade hard disk drive in Western Digital’s arsenal. For more performance comparisons, please take a look at The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide.

 

Random Throughput

Test  WD Gold
(8 TB) 
 WD Black
(6 TB) 
Difference
512 KB Read 31.86 MB/s 31.97 MB/s – 0.3%
512 KB Write 31.34 MB/s 28.54 MB/s + 9.8%
4 KB Read 0.32 MB/s 0.32 MB/s
4 KB Write 0.74 MB/s 0.39 MB/s + 89.7%

Check out the incredible boost in the random write speed, especially for small random writes. The 8TB WD Gold delivered almost double the performance of the 6TB WD Black drive in small random writes, and a 10% boost in performance in large random writes.

This is the key advantage of the HGST media caching technology that Western Digital included into the 8TB WD Gold. This is a tremendous performance advantage in file storage servers that serve hundreds or thousands of users.

 

Random Access Time

Test  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
512 KB Read 16.45 ms 16.39 ms + 0.3%
512 KB Write 16.73 ms 18.36 ms – 8.9%
4 KB Read 12.81 ms 12.79 ms + 0.1%
4 KB Write 5.54 ms 10.50 ms – 47.3%

As you can see, the HGST media caching technology truly has a significant effect on performance. It cut down the random access time, even though that’s a limitation imposed by physics.

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Random CPU Utilization

Test  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
512 KB Read 0.56 % 0.60 % – 6.7%
512 KB Write 0.57 % 0.62 % – 8.1%
4 KB Read 0.35 % 0.43 % – 18.6%
4 KB Write 0.53 % 0.37 % + 43.2%

The LSI 7101B hard disk drive controller used in the 8TB WD Gold is definitely more powerful than the LSI TT07143 controller used in the 6TB Western Digital Black. The extra processing power was certainly useful in handling the extra media caching duty.

Next Page > IOMeter – Sequential Access Performance

 

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IO Meter (Sequential Accesses)

We compared the 8 TB Western Digital Gold to the 6 TB Western Digital Black – the fastest desktop-grade hard disk drive in Western Digital’s arsenal. For more performance comparisons, please take a look at The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide.

 

Sequential Throughput

Test  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
512 KB Read 209.29 MB/s 225.60 MB/s – 7.2%
512 KB Write 209.89 MB/s 228.38 MB/s – 8.5%
4 KB Read 90.87 MB/s 94.82 MB/s – 4.2%
4 KB Write 53.91 MB/s 84.54 MB/s – 36.2%

The WD Gold 8TB datacenter drive uses less dense platters, so its sequential throughput is understandably lower than that of the 6TB Western Digital Black. That would account for about a 5% deficit in performance, with the rest due to the drive being optimised for random writes.

In fact, we can see here that the HGST media caching technology actually results in a large drop in small sequential write performance.

 

Sequential Access Time

Test  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
512 KB Read 2.50 ms 2.32 ms + 7.8%
512 KB Write 2.51 ms 2.29 ms + 9.4%
4 KB Read 0.04 ms 0.04 ms + 4.2%
4 KB Write 0.08 ms 0.05 ms + 56.4%

No surprises here. The 8TB WD Gold is optimised for small random writes, not small sequential writes.

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Sequential CPU Utilization

Test  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
512 KB Read 1.25 % 1.33% – 6.0%
512 KB Write 1.41 % 1.50% – 6.0%
4 KB Read 8.66 % 8.95% – 3.2%
4 KB Write 8.59 % 9.23% – 6.9%

Again, we can see that the LSI 7101B hard disk drive controller used in the 8TB WD Gold is more powerful than the LSI TT07143 controller used in the 6TB Western Digital Black.

Next Page > IOPS Random Scaling Performance

 

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IOPS Scaling (Random)

In these tests, we tested the drive’s ability to tackle multiple input/output operations. We compared the 8 TB Western Digital Gold to the 6 TB Western Digital Black – the fastest desktop-grade hard disk drive in Western Digital’s arsenal. For more performance comparisons, please take a look at The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide.

The LSI 7101B hard disk drive controller used in the 8TB WD Gold is definitely faster than the LSI TT07143 controller use in the 6TB WD Black. However, you can see that Western Digital optimised it for random write performance. Together with the HGST Media Caching Technology, it trades some random read performance, for a big boost in random write performance, particularly in small, random writes.

 

4 KB Random Read

Outstanding I/Os  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
1 78 IOPS 78 IOPS – 0.1%
8 125 IOPS 132 IOPS – 5.6%
32 172 IOPS 190 IOPS – 9.5%

 

4 KB Random Write

Outstanding I/Os  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
1 181 IOPS 95 IOPS + 89.7%
8 195 IOPS 95 IOPS + 104.2%
32 196 IOPS 96 IOPS + 104.3%

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512 KB Random Read

Outstanding I/Os  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
1 61 IOPS 61 IOPS – 0.3%
8 89 IOPS 95 IOPS – 6.7%
32 98 IOPS 108 IOPS – 9.0%

 

512 KB Random Write

Outstanding I/Os  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
1 60 IOPS 54 IOPS + 9.8%
8 60 IOPS 54 IOPS + 10.1%
32 62 IOPS 54 IOPS + 13.3%

Next Page > IOPS Sequential Scaling Performance

 

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IOPS Scaling (Sequential)

In these tests, we tested the drive’s ability to tackle multiple input/output operations. Again, we compared the 8 TB Western Digital Gold to the 6 TB Western Digital Black – the fastest desktop-grade hard disk drive in Western Digital’s arsenal. For more performance comparisons, please take a look at The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide.

It is obvious that the “price” for almost doubling the small random write performance is poorer sequential read and write performance.

 

4 KB Sequential Read

Outstanding I/Os  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
1 22,185 IOPS 23,150 IOPS – 4.2%
8 44,074 IOPS 51,435 IOPS – 14.3%
32 42,976 IOPS 51,861 IOPS – 17.1%

 

4 KB Sequential Write

Outstanding I/Os  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
1 13,162 IOPS 20,639 IOPS – 36.2%
8 45,863 IOPS 46,924 IOPS – 2.3%
32 47,559 IOPS 55,433 IOPS – 14.2%

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512 KB Sequential Read

Outstanding I/Os  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
1 399 IOPS 430 IOPS – 7.2%
8 400 IOPS 430 IOPS – 7.0%
32 399 IOPS 431 IOPS – 7.5%

 

512 KB Sequential Write

Outstanding I/Os  WD Gold (8 TB)   WD Black (6 TB)  Difference
1 398 IOPS 436 IOPS – 8.5%
8 395 IOPS 430 IOPS – 8.2%
32 399 IOPS 435 IOPS – 8.4%

Next Page > Our Verdict & Award, Lowest Prices, Specifications

 

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Our Verdict & Award

This is our first review of a helium-filled hard disk drive, and we are very impressed. Even from its specifications alone, we can already see a significant reduction in power consumption and noise levels. These are not minor either.

The helium-filled 8TB WD Gold (WD8002FRYZ) datacenter drive boasts 22% lower power consumption, and is half as loud as the air-filled WD Gold models when they are not seeking. We confirmed these claims during our tests, noting how quiet it was, and how it ran almost as cool as 5400 RPM hard disk drives despite packing 3-4 additional platters than the drives we compared it to!

The 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive achieves its tremendous storage capacity, not by increasing areal density, but by packing 2 additional platters. This is only made possible by filling it with helium, reducing turbulence and friction.

While this allows Western Digital to quickly increase storage capacity, it doesn’t help with its performance. That’s why it was slightly slower than top-of-the-line desktop drives like the 6TB Western Digital Black. That doesn’t meant that the 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive is a slow drive. Far from it. It is a fast drive, but not in the way we expect.

The 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive is optimised for datacenter applications. Hence, it features the HGST media caching technology which trades sequential write performance for a big boost in its small random write performance. This is not a very useful trade-off for desktop users, but a big boon to servers that handle hundreds or thousands of users.

The 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive would be overkill for home or office users, even for NAS applications. But there is no doubt that it would offer a big boost in performance and a tremendous reduction in TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), considering its significantly lower power consumption and thermal output per TB of storage. In light of that, we think the WD Gold 8TB datacenter drive deserves no less than our Reviewer’s Choice Award! Congratulations, Western Digital!

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The 8TB WD Gold Specifications

SpecificationsWD Gold 8TB Datacenter Hard Disk Drive
ModelWD8002FRYZ
Form Factor3.5 inch
Platter And Head Count7 Platters with 14 Read/Write Heads
Advanced Format TechnologyYes (512-byte emulation)
Available Sectors15,628,053,168 (512-byte emulation) sectors
1,953,506,646 (4,096-byte physical) sectors
Formatted Capacity8,001,563,222,016 bytes
Native Command QueuingYes
InterfaceSATA 6 Gb/s
Spindle Speed7200 RPM
Sustained read / write performance205 MB/s (maximum)
Cache128 MB DDR3-1600 SDRAM
Average Power ConsumptionSequential read : 7.2 W
Sequential write : 7.0 W
Random read / write : 7.4 W
Idle : 5.1 W
Temperature Rating5 to 60 °C (Operating)
-40 to 70 °C (Non-Operating)
Shock RatingOperating : 70 G (half-sine wave, 2 ms)
Non-Operating : 300 G (half-sine wave, 1 ms) / 150 G (half-sine wave, 11 ms)
AcousticsSeek : 36 dBA (average)
Idle : 20 dBA
Load / Unload Cycles600,000
Non-Recoverable Read Errors per Bits Read15
MTBF (Maximum Time Before Failure)2,500,000 hours
AFR (Average Failure Rate)0.35%
Warranty5 Years
Physical Dimensions101.6 mm (4.0") wide x 147.0 mm (5.787") long x 26.1 mm (1.028") high
Weight650 g (1.43 lbs)

 

Lowest Prices


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10TB WD Purple Helium-Filled Surveillance Drive Launched!

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), a storage industry leader, today announced the availability of the 10TB WD Purple HDD, the newest member of its high-capacity hard drive line for surveillance applications.

With increased capacity and proven leading-edge technology, the 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) HDD is optimized for 24×7 video surveillance systems and up to 64 high-definition (HD) cameras in home and small business security environments.

 

The 10TB WD Purple

Optimized to withstand the demands of always-on DVR and NVR recording environments, the new 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) hard disk drives offer low power consumption, exclusive WD technologies and many advanced performance features including:

  • AllFrame 4K Technology – AllFrame 4K technology enhances ATA streaming support to help reduce video frame loss with proprietary cache policy management technology to improve overall data flow and playback. 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) HDDs include exclusive firmware enhancements that help protect against video pixilation and interruptions within a surveillance system.
  • HelioSeal Technology – Enabling higher storage capacity and lower power consumption, the 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) HDD uses the third generation of HelioSeal technology, which has been shipping for over three years and on over 12 million drives as of December 2016.
  • Scalable Surveillance Systems – Designed for 24×7 operations with support for multi-bay systems with an annualized workload rating of 180 TB/year and tarnish-resistant components, 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) drives are ready for use in demanding high-performance, high-definition small- or large-scale surveillance systems

Don’t forget to read our article on the WD Purple family of drives – Is Your Hard Disk Drive Optimised For CCTV Recording?

Engineered for Compatibility

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Built for easy integration into new or existing video surveillance systems, WD Purple hard drives are designed and tested to surveillance-class standards and are compatible with industry-leading chassis and chip-sets. Without a current industry standard, WD worked closely with surveillance partners to develop a proprietary benchmark to define and demonstrate performance in surveillance systems.

 

10TB WD Purple Price and Availability

The 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) HDDs are shipping now and available in Malaysia. With the new 10TB drive, the WD Purple surveillance-class line is available in capacities ranging from 1TB up to 10TB, all covered by a three-year limited warranty.

The suggested Retail Price (SRP) for the 3.5-inch 10TB WD Purple (WD100PURZ) hard disk drive is RM 2,099 / ~US$ 49910TB WD PurpleGet the lowest Price here!

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10TB WD Red & Red Pro Helium-Filled Drives Launched!

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced the 10TB WD Red (Lowest Price) and 10TB WD Red Pro (Lowest Price) NAS hard drives lineup with the introduction of 10TB capacity models optimized for use in personal, home and small to medium business NAS systems.

Western Digital has shipped more than 15 million helium-based high capacity drives into multiple applications, including for NAS systems, to date and is continuing to support customers with higher capacities and outstanding reliability. The WD Red line of NAS hard drives allow customers to scale up or down to meet their changing NAS storage needs.

 

10TB WD Red / Red Pro NAS Hard Drive

Designed with Western Digital’s HelioSeal helium-technology, the 10TB WD Red (Lowest Price) hard disk drive provides higher capacity and performance to meet the increasing storage needs of always-on, single-to-8-bay NAS systems. The helium-based design enables a 25% capacity increase from the 8TB WD Red NAS storage drive.

With support for up to 16 bays in tower- and rack-based systems, the 10TB WD Red Pro (Lowest Price) hard disk drive delivers the same high performance, reliability and capacity to systems operating in up to 16 bay NAS systems. Here are their key features and specifications of the 10 TB WD Red / WD Red Pro drives :

  • HelioSeal: Bringing Western Digital’s fourth generation, exclusive HelioSeal technology in 10TB capacity to the NAS storage market
  • 3D Active Balance Plus, an enhanced balance control technology that improves overall drive performance and reliability
  • Seamless integration with Western Digital’s My Cloud Pro Series NAS and My Cloud Expert Series NAS systems designed specifically for the creative community to enable seamless transfer of content between devices in any location, whether users are shooting remotely or editing at home
  • NASware 3.0, an enhanced version of WD’s original NASware technology, designed to improve reliability and system performance, reduce customer downtime and to simplify the integration process
  • Optimized performance class – 5400 RPM class for SOHO environments, 7200 RPM class for up to 16 bay NAS systems

The 10TB WD Red (Lowest Price) and 10TB WD Red Pro (Lowest Price) drives are finalizing compatibility testing with a number of leading NAS system providers.

 

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Price & Availability

The new 10TB WD Red (Lowest Price) and 10TB WD Red Pro (Lowest Price) hard disk drives are available in July at selected retailers and distributors.

The 10TB  WD Red (model #: WD100EFAX) hard disk drives feature a three-year limited warranty and a RM 2,249 (inclusive of GST) / ~US$ 539 manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Get the lowest price here!

The 10TB WD Red Pro (model #: WD101KFBX) hard disk drives feature a five-year limited warranty and a RM 2,449 (inclusive of GST) / ~US$ 589 MSRP. Get the lowest price here!

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New WD G-Technology Drives With Thunderbolt 3 & USB-C

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced upgrades to its award-winning G-Technology product lines, including the addition of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connectivity technologies. To be on display at BroadcastAsia 2017 for the first time, the upgrades optimize the speed and performance of these drives, meeting the growing needs of creative professionals who are capturing and transferring vast amounts of high-resolution content.

 

The New WD G-Technology Drives With Thunderbolt 3 & USB-C

Built for creative professionals, including videographers and digital photographers, who require storage solutions that keep up with their intensive data needs and creative applications, G-Technology’s upgraded devices offer complete, high-capacity workflow solutions that seamlessly integrate into the larger Thunderbolt 3 ecosystem.

All WD G-Technology storage solutions use HGST Ultrastar enterprise-class drives and are backed by an industry-leading 5-year limited warranty. G-Technology’s storage solutions come pre-formatted for Mac computers and can be easily reformatted for Windows computers with the G-Technology Windows Format Wizard.

 

WD G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt 3

The WD G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt 3 is designed for creative professionals in mind, with dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and a USB-C port (supports USB 3.1 Gen 1). Users can conveniently daisy chain up to five additional devices, allowing them to stay connected to multiple drives and quickly move HD videos and 4K footage through a single connection.

With capacities up to 12TB, heavy workloads and mission-critical data users have peace of mind with the long-lasting reliability of the HGST Ultrastar 7200 RPM enterprise-class hard drive inside. It is available now at RM 3,900 / ~US$ 929 for 12TB and RM 3,410 / ~US$ 810 for 10TB .

 

WD G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3

The WD G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3 is a high-performance, removable dual-hard drive RAID 0, 1 or JBOD storage system that features Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 2, HDMI 2.0 ports. It also has the ability to plug in 4K 60 HDR displays and editing tools, allowing creative professionals to quickly access, browse, edit, and backup digital libraries.

Removeable HGST Ultrastar 7200 RPM enterprise-class drives allow flexibility and reliability that is suitable for the most demanding creative projects, including multi-stream HD, 2K, 4K, and HDR video workflows. It is available now at RM 9,750 / ~US$ 2,320 for 24TB.

 

WD G-SPEED Shuttle XL

The WD G-SPEED Shuttle XL with Thunderbolt 3 is able to handle demanding multi-stream workflows of 4K and beyond, both on location and in the studio. The G-SPEED Shuttle XL with Thunderbolt 3 offers hardware RAID 0, 1, 5, 6,10, and 50 configurations in an 8-bay transportable solution.

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Equipped with HGST Ultrastar enterprise-class hard disk drives for enhanced reliability and transfer rates up to 2000 MB/s, creative professionals have the ultimate storage solution for demanding video workflows and high-capacity storage. It is available now at RM 49,730 / ~US$ 11,840 for 96 TB.

The G-SPEED Shuttle XL with ev Series bay adapters is similar to the G-SPEED Shuttle XL with Thunderbolt 3. The integrated ev Series bay adapters improve workflow options and productivity by enabling cross-functionality with all ev Series drives.

Designed with two ev Series bay adapters for use with ev Series drive modules and ev Series readers, users can experience enhanced reliability coupled with fast transfer rates up to 1500 MB/s. It is available now at RM 38,030 / ~US$ 9,055 for 72 TB.

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Fixed Disk Boot Sector – The BIOS Optimization Guide

Fixed Disk Boot Sector

Common Options : Normal, Write Protect

 

Quick Review

The Fixed Disk Boot Sector BIOS feature provides rudimentary anti-virus protection by write-protecting the boot sector.

If this feature is enabled, the BIOS will block any attempt to write to the boot sector and flash a warning message. This protects the system from boot sector viruses. Please note that it offers no protection against other types of viruses.

If this feature is disabled, the BIOS will not block any writes to the boot sector.

This feature can cause problems with software that need to write to the boot sector. One good example is the installation routine of all versions of Microsoft Windows, from Windows 95 onwards. When enabled, this feature causes the installation routine to fail.

Many hard drive diagnostic utilities that access the boot sector can also trigger the system halt and error message as well. Therefore, you should disable this feature before running such utilities, or when you intend to install a new operating system.

 

Details

The Fixed Disk Boot Sector BIOS feature provides rudimentary anti-virus protection by write-protecting the boot sector.

If this feature is enabled, the BIOS will block any attempt to write to the boot sector and flash a warning message. This protects the system from boot sector viruses. Please note that it offers no protection against other types of viruses.

If this feature is disabled, the BIOS will not block any writes to the boot sector.

This feature can cause problems with software that need to write to the boot sector. One good example is the installation routine of all versions of Microsoft Windows, from Windows 95 onwards. When enabled, this feature causes the installation routine to fail.

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Many hard drive diagnostic utilities that access the boot sector can also trigger the system halt and error message as well. Therefore, you should disable this feature before running such utilities, or when you intend to install a new operating system.

Please note that this BIOS feature is useless for storage drives that run on external controllers with their own BIOS. Boot sector viruses will bypass the system BIOS with such anti-virus protection features, and write directly to the drives. Such controllers include additional IDE, SATA or SCSI controllers that are either built into the motherboard or part of add-on PCI Express or PCI cards.

 

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ATAPI 80-Pin Cable Detection – The BIOS Optimization Guide

ATAPI 80-Pin Cable Detection

Common Options : Host & Device, Host, Device

 

Quick Review

The ATAPI 80-Pin Cable Detection BIOS feature was incorrectly named because it actually refers to the 40-pin, 80-conductor IDE cable. Despite the misleading name, the IDE cable does not have 80-pins. The 80-conductor cable only adds 40 additional ground wires to the 40 ground wires already nestled between the 40 signal wires.

The ATAPI 80-Pin Cable Detection BIOS feature controls whether both IDE controller and IDE device should be allowed to detect the type of IDE cable used.

When set to Host & Device, both the IDE controller and the IDE device will be able to detect the type of IDE cable used.

When set to Host, only the IDE controller will be able to detect the type of IDE cable used.

When set to Device, only the IDE device will be able to detect the type of IDE cable used.

The higher Ultra DMA transfer modes will only be allowed if the 80-conductor cable is used and detected by the system. Otherwise, the system defaults to slower transfer modes, even if you set the drives to use the faster transfer modes.

It is recommended that you leave this BIOS feature at the default setting of Host & Device. This ensures that the system will never incorrectly detect a 40-conductor cable as an 80-conductor cable, preventing data corruption.

 

Details

The ATAPI 80-Pin Cable Detection BIOS feature was incorrectly named because it actually refers to the 40-pin, 80-conductor IDE cable. Despite the misleading name, the IDE cable does not have 80-pins. It actually uses the same 40-pin connector as the original 40-conductor IDE cable. In fact, it is electrically and logically similar to the 40-conductor cable.

The 80-conductor cable only adds 40 additional ground wires to the 40 ground wires already nestled between the 40 signal wires. These ground wires reduce cross-talk between the signal wires and improve signal integrity. They allow the cable to reliably support transfer rates of 66 MB/s and 100 MB/s. Hence, these 80-conductor cables are essential if you want to use those higher transfer rates.

The 40-pin, 80-conductor cable was first introduced with the ATA/ATAPI-4 standard but was not mandatory until ATA/ATAPI-5 was introduced. You must use the 80-conductor cable if you intend to use the faster 66 MB/s and 100 MB/s Ultra DMA modes. Using a 40-conductor cable will force the system to revert to slower Ultra DMA modes.

Both IDE controller and IDE devices (e.g. hard disk drives, DVD writers) can detect 80-conductor cables by checking if Pin #34 of the interface is grounded. 80-conductor cables have this pin grounded while 40-conductor cables do not.

The ATAPI 80-Pin Cable Detection BIOS feature controls whether both IDE controller and IDE device should be allowed to detect the type of IDE cable used.

When set to Host & Device, both the IDE controller and the IDE device will be able to detect the type of IDE cable used.

When set to Host, only the IDE controller will be able to detect the type of IDE cable used.

When set to Device, only the IDE device will be able to detect the type of IDE cable used.

The higher Ultra DMA transfer modes will only be allowed if the 80-conductor cable is used and detected by the system. Otherwise, the system defaults to slower transfer modes, even if you set the drives to use the faster transfer modes.

It is recommended that you leave this BIOS feature at the default setting of Host & Device. This ensures that the system will never incorrectly detect a 40-conductor cable as an 80-conductor cable, preventing data corruption.

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You should only change this BIOS feature to Host or Device if the IDE controller or the IDE device cannot correctly detect the 80-conductor cable. In other words, this is a workaround for situations where the IDE controller or IDE device cannot correctly detect 80-conductor cables.

You must be sure, though, that you have 80-conductor cables installed before changing this BIOS feature to Host or Device. Both 40-conductor and 80-conductor cables are similar in length and width. They even use the same 40-pin connector.

However, 40-conductor cables are made up of 40 thicker wires, while 80-conductor cables are made up of 80 thinner wires. 80-conductor cables also have colour-coded blue, gray and black connectors.

 

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GIGABYTE 200 Series Motherboards Now Optane Ready!

Taipei, 30 March 2017GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd is proud to release the all-new advanced capability to utilize Intel Optane Memory on its 200 Series Motherboards. Intel Optane Memory enhances traditional mechanical drives, and even the newer generation SSDs, and NVMes by caching frequently used applications and files for rapid access.

Since its launch, GIGABYTE’s 200 series motherboards have had Intel Optane Memory ready technologies onboard. With a simple BIOS update and a 7th Gen Intel Core processor installed, users can enable this performance enhancement to experience their PC like never before.

“Intel Optane Memory is a game-changer for this industry. With the market still relying heavily on mechanical drives for storage capacity, Optane will make traditional drives new again,” said Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE’s Motherboard Business Unit. “By giving mechanical HDDs a means to keep up with new SSDs and NVMes, Optane is the way of the future.”

 

Intel Optane Memory

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Intel Optane memory delivers high-speed response when combined with large storage drives. Installed in the M.2 memory module, Intel Optane accelerates operation while maintaining the current system storage capacity to improve productivity and an overall PC computing experience.

Applications and games can now install quicker and launch faster with minimal latency. Not only is this technology revolutionary, it is affordable to all who want to experience shorter boot times, faster application launches, and an extraordinary gaming experience.

BIOS updates to enable Optane support for GIGABYTE’s 200 Series are available for users to download on the GIGABYTE and AORUS product pages.

 

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32-bit Transfer Mode – The BIOS Optimization Guide

32-bit Transfer Mode

Common Options : On, Off

 

Quick Review

This BIOS feature allows you to command the IDE controller to combine two 16-bit hard disk reads into a single 32-bit data transfer to the processor. This greatly improves the performance of the IDE controller as well as the PCI bus.

Therefore, it is highly advisable to enable 32-bit Transfer Mode. If you disable it, data transfers from the IDE controller to the processor will only occur in 16-bits chunks.

 

Details

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This BIOS feature is similar to the 32-bit Disk Access BIOS feature. The name 32-bit Transfer Mode is actually a misnomer because it doesn’t really allow 32-bit transfers on the IDE bus.

The IDE interface is always 16-bits in width even when the IDE controller is on the 32-bit PCI bus. What this feature actually does is command the IDE controller to combine two 16-bit reads from the hard disk into a single 32-bit double word transfer to the processor. This allows the PCI bus to be more efficiently used as the number of transactions required for a particular amount of data is effectively halved!

However, according to a Microsoft article (Enhanced IDE operation under Windows NT 4.0), 32-bit disk access can cause data corruption under Windows NT in some cases. Therefore, Microsoft recommends that Windows NT 4.0 users disable 32-bit Disk Access.

Lord Mike asked ‘someone in the know’ about this matter and he was told that the data corruption issue was taken very seriously at Microsoft and that it had been corrected through the Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 2. Although he couldn’t get an official statement from Microsoft, it’s probably safe enough to enable 32-bit Disk Access on a Windows NT 4.0 system, just as long as it has been upgraded with Service Pack 2.

Because it realizes the performance potential of the 32-bit IDE controller and improves the efficiency of the PCI bus, it is highly advisable to enable 32-bit Transfer Mode.

If you disable it, data transfers from the IDE controller to the processor will only occur in 16-bits chunks. This degrades the performance of the IDE controller as well as the PCI bus.

As such, you should disable this feature only if you actually face the possibility of data corruption (with an unpatched version of Windows NT 4.0).

You can also find more information on the Windows NT issue in the details of the IDE HDD Block Mode feature!

 

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IDE Detect Time Out – The BIOS Optimization Guide

IDE Detect Time Out

Common Options : 0 to 15 or 0 to 30, in 1 second steps

 

Quick Review

Motherboards are capable of booting up much faster these days, with the initialization of IDE devices now take place much earlier. Unfortunately, this also means that some older IDE drives will not be able to spin up in time to be initialized! When this happens, the BIOS will not be able to detect those IDE drives and make them available to the operating system even though there’s nothing wrong with them.

This is where the IDE Detect Time Out BIOS feature comes in. It allows you to force the BIOS to delay the initialization of IDE devices for up to 30 seconds (although some BIOSes allow for even longer delays). The delay gives your IDE devices more time to spin up before the BIOS initializes them.

If you do not use old IDE drives and the BIOS has no problem initializing your IDE devices, it is recommended that you leave the delay at the default value of 0 for the shortest possible boot time. IDE devices manufactured in the last few years will have no problem spinning up in time for initialization. Only older IDE devices may have slower spin-up times.

However, if one or more of your IDE devices fail to initialize during the boot up process, start with a delay of 1 second. If that doesn’t help, gradually increase the delay until all your IDE devices initialize properly during the boot up process.

 

Details

Regardless of its shortcomings, the IDE standard is remarkably backward compatible. Every upgrade of the standard was designed to be fully compatible with older IDE devices, so you can actually use the old 40 MB hard disk drive that came with your ancient 386 system in your spanking new Intel Core i7 system! However, even backward compatibility cannot account for the slower motors used in the older drives.

Motherboards are capable of booting up much faster these days, with the initialization of IDE devices now take place much earlier. Unfortunately, this also means that some older IDE drives will not be able to spin up in time to be initialized! When this happens, the BIOS will not be able to detect those IDE drives and make them available to the operating system even though there’s nothing wrong with them.

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This is where the IDE Detect Time Out BIOS feature comes in. It allows you to force the BIOS to delay the initialization of IDE devices for up to 30 seconds (although some BIOSes allow for even longer delays). The delay gives your IDE devices more time to spin up before the BIOS initializes them.

If you do not use old IDE drives and the BIOS has no problem initializing your IDE devices, it is recommended that you leave the delay at the default value of 0 for the shortest possible boot time. IDE devices manufactured in the last few years will have no problem spinning up in time for initialization. Only older IDE devices may have slower spin-up times.

However, if one or more of your IDE devices fail to initialize during the boot up process, start with a delay of 1 second. If that doesn’t help, gradually increase the delay until all your IDE devices initialize properly during the boot up process.

 

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IDE HDD Block Mode – The BIOS Optimization Guide

IDE HDD Block Mode

Common Options : Enabled, Disabled

 

Quick Review

The IDE HDD Block Mode BIOS feature speeds up hard disk drive access by transferring multiple sectors of data per interrupt instead of using the usual single-sector transfer mode. This mode of transferring data is known as block transfers.

When you enable this feature, the BIOS will automatically detect if your hard disk drive supports block transfers and set the proper block transfer settings for it. Depending on the IDE controller, up to 64 KB of data can be transferred per interrupt when block transfers are enabled. Since all current hard disk drives support block transfers, there is usually no reason why IDE HDD Block Mode should be disabled.

Please note that if you disable IDE HDD Block Mode, only 512 bytes of data can transferred per interrupt. Needless to say, this will significantly degrade performance.

Therefore, you should disable IDE HDD Block Mode only if you actually face the possibility of data corruption (with an unpatched version of Windows NT 4.0). Otherwise, it is highly recommended that you enable this BIOS feature for significantly better hard disk drive performance!

 

Details

The IDE HDD Block Mode BIOS feature speeds up hard disk drive access by transferring multiple sectors of data per interrupt instead of using the usual single-sector transfer mode. This mode of transferring data is known as block transfers.

When you enable this feature, the BIOS will automatically detect if your hard disk drive supports block transfers and set the proper block transfer settings for it. Depending on the IDE controller, up to 64 KB of data can be transferred per interrupt when block transfers are enabled. Since all current hard disk drives support block transfers, there is usually no reason why IDE HDD Block Mode should be disabled.

However, if you are running on Windows NT 4.0, you might need to disable this BIOS feature because Windows NT 4.0 has a problem with block transfers. According to Chris Bope, Windows NT does not support IDE HDD Block Mode and enabling this feature can cause data to be corrupted.

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Ryu Connor confirmed this by sending me a link to a Microsoft article (Enhanced IDE operation under Windows NT 4.0). According to this article, IDE HDD Block Mode and 32-bit Disk Access have been found to cause data corruption in some cases. Therefore, Microsoft recommends that Windows NT 4.0 users disable IDE HDD Block Mode.

Lord Mike asked ‘someone in the know‘ about this matter and he was told that the data corruption issue was taken very seriously at Microsoft and that it had been corrected through the Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 2. Although he could not get an official statement from Microsoft, it is probably safe enough to enable IDE HDD Block Mode on a Windows NT 4.0 system, just as long as it has been upgraded with Service Pack 2.

Please note that if you disable IDE HDD Block Mode, only 512 bytes of data can transferred per interrupt. Needless to say, this will significantly degrade performance.

Therefore, you should disable IDE HDD Block Mode only if you actually face the possibility of data corruption (with an unpatched version of Windows NT 4.0). Otherwise, it is highly recommended that you enable this BIOS feature for significantly better hard disk drive performance!

 

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WD Gold – The Gold Standard In HDD Technology

Hard disk drives have evolved into many distinct families to cater to different requirements – performance, low cost storageNAS, surveillance, etc. They often emphasise one attribute over others, to meet the requirements of their target market, while keeping costs low. But what if you wanted nothing but the best in hard disk drive technology? That’s where datacenter-grade hard disk drives like WD Gold come in.

Qualified for nearline storage use in datacenters, datacenter hard disk drives like WD Gold (Lowest Price) are designed to offer high storage capacities at maximum performance and reliability while operating continuously 24 hours a day. Virtually no expense is spared in making these drives the gold standard in HDD technology. That is likely why Western Digital gave their datacenter drives the WD Gold moniker.

Let’s take a quick look at why the WD Gold drives are the best hard disk drives in the industry.

 

Industry-Leading Storage Capacity

The WD Gold (lowest price on Amazon) is available in storage capacities from just 1 TB, all the way to the industry-leading storage capacity of 10 TB.

 

Constant Peak Performance

Unlike desktop-grade performance hard disk drives, the WD Gold (Lowest Price) is designed for peak performance at all times. While they may be classified as datacenter hard disk drives, the WD Gold drives can certainly be used in any desktop or consumer system.

On top of a 7,200 RPM spindle speed, the WD Gold also boasts a large (128 MB or 256 MB) SDRAM cache, and the HGST Media Caching Technology. They both help to sustain a high read and write throughput from the WD Gold drives.

 

Less Noise & Vibration, Lower Power Consumption

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The WD Gold (Lowest Price) is built around the revolutionary HGST HelioSeal technology, which seals the drive and fills it with helium. Because it is only 1/7th the density of “regular air”, helium imparts the following advantages to the WD Gold drives :

  • less friction for the spinning platters, reducing power consumption and thermal output
  • less internal turbulence, allowing for more reliable head-to-platter tracking
  • more capacity because more platters and drive heads can be fitted in the same volume of space
  • the completely sealed environment eliminates reliability issues from outside contaminants

 

24×7 Reliability

The WD Gold (Lowest Price) drives are designed to handle high workloads (up to 550 TB per year) continuously for years. They boast a phenomenal mean time before failure (MTBF) of 2.5 million hours. That is partly due to vibration control technologies like the Enhanced RAFF (Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward) technology, and extensive testing.

To ensure the best possible 24×7 reliability, the WD Gold (Lowest Price) drives undergo rigorous tests in the factory before they are certified for use. They are also extensively tested with a wide variety of systems, controllers and adapters to ensure maximum compatibility and ease-of-installation into any storage system.

 

Our Choice

The WD Gold (lowest price on Amazon) is designed for the most arduous and demanding conditions in the datacenter, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use it in a less-demanding desktop environment. In fact, tech enthusiasts who want nothing but the best hard disk drive and can afford to pay for the bespoke quality, can buy and use the WD Gold in their desktops or even NAS systems!

We tested the WD Gold extensively in our 10-page review, and came away very impressed with its performance. It was not just fast, it was also quiet and it ran really cool. That is why we awarded it our Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Now, the lower cost of ownership may not matter much for a desktop user with a couple of WD Gold drives, but it matters a great deal if you are running a datacenter with tens of thousands of servers. The WD Gold (Lowest Price) drives will not just reduce downtime from drive failures, they will greatly reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

For more information, you can take a look at our in-depth review, or visit the official WD Gold product page.

 

Disclosure

This post was sponsored by Western Digital.

 

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Mainstream Hard Disk Drives Keep Getting Better

Hard disk drives have become so commoditised that most users assume that one hard disk drive is no different from another. That’s not true, of course, because there are performance-grade drives, NAS-optimised drives, and even surveillance hard disk drives. Even mainstream hard disk drives have seen remarkable improvements in reliability and performance over the years.

 

Mainstream Hard Disk Drives In The Past

The hard disk drive industry is highly competitive, with many manufacturers competing for the same piece of pie. Hence, mainstream hard disk drives tend to be developed with cost in mind.

As a general rule, they tend to use older technologies, have lower storage capacities, lower performance, and shorter warranties.

 

Less Competition, But Better Drives

Over the years, hard disk drive manufacturers have fallen, merged, or been bought up by their rivals. Today, only three hard disk drive manufacturers remain – Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba.

Paradoxically, the reduced competition was actually good for the consumer. There was less pressure to compete solely on price. This allowed better mainstream hard disk drives to be developed.

 

Mainstream Hard Disk Drives Today

Today, mainstream hard disk drives are at the forefront of hard disk drive technologies. Even the most basic models feature the latest interface, platter technology and come with large caches for higher performance.

The newer SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) models integrate flash memory technology to offer SSD-like performance, with large storage capacities and much more affordable prices.

Mainstream hard disk drives are also more reliable, boasting the latest data protection features. That’s why manufacturers offer longer warranties today, with most offering 2 years warranty, instead of just 1 year.

 

WD Blue Mainstream Hard Disk Drives

The most popular mainstream hard disk drives in the market today are arguable the WD Blue hard disk drives from Western Digital. Designed for mainstream usage patterns, the WD Blue drives are highly affordable yet boast features like :

  • NoTouch Ramp Load Technology : The drive heads are kept off the disk surface when the drive is idle or not running, to prevent damage to the platters if the drive is dropped or knocked.
  • Data LifeGuard : Advanced algorithms in the firmware that monitor your drive continuously to alert you of any impending failures.
  • IntelliSeek : The drive automatically adjusts its optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise and vibration.

Western Digital offers the WD Blue hard disk drives in a wide variety of storage capacities to suit every need and budget.

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For users who want a boost in performance without paying top dollar for a solid state drive, Western Digital even offers two WD Blue solid state hybrid drive (SSHD) models :

These WD Blue SSHDs are basically WD Blue hard disk drives enhanced with a flash memory cache :

  • NAND Flash Technology : WD Blue SSHDs come with 8 GB of NAND flash memory to perform up to 4-5X faster than traditional 5400 RPM hard disk drives.
  • Self-Learning Technology : Using an advanced set of algorithms, WD Blue SSHDs continuously track data usage to prioritise frequently-used data. It can adapt, learn and optimise itself as new applications and data requests change over time.

Thanks to the flash memory cache, the WD Blue SSHDs offer SSD-like performance, with a large storage capacity at much lower prices than solid state drives.

 

 

Disclosure

This post was sponsored by Western Digital.

 

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Is Your Hard Disk Drive Optimised For CCTV Recording?

Once the fearsome tool of a totalitarian state in George Orwell’s iconic novel – 1984, CCTV surveillance is not only ubiquitous, it is even considered essential. Forget Big Brother. Many modern homes and offices have CCTV systems for safety and security reasons.

The most common video surveillance systems are dedicated CCTV (closed-circuit television) systems. They combine video cameras with a display and a digital video recorder (DVR). Whether they are using good old analog video cameras, or the newer high-definition digital video cameras, all those video streams are written into hard disk drives.

 

Not Optimised For CCTV Recording

For many years, CCTV systems were built around hard disk drives used by desktop computers. While this worked, it was not an ideal situation because these desktop hard disk drives are :

  • NOT designed to withstand the harsher conditions inside a DVR.
  • NOT engineered to run 24/7 in an always-on condition
  • NOT optimised for the recording of multiple video streams

As a result, these desktop hard disk drives have a tendency to fail earlier. This not only means lost video surveillance footage, it also means a higher cost of ownership because these drives have to be replaced more frequently.

Even when they are working properly, the recorded video streams may suffer from quality problems like dropped frames or whole gaps in the video stream. After all, desktop hard disk drives lack support for ATA streaming that give proper surveillance hard disk drives the ability to record multiple video streams simultaneously.

 

Surveillance Hard Disk Drives

As we upgrade to high-definition digital video cameras, the quality problems with desktop-grade hard disk drives become more apparent. They drop even more frames because they are unable to keep up with the constant flow of high bit-rate video streams.

This negates the purpose of upgrading to high-definition cameras. What’s the point of recording high-resolution video if it means whole gaps in the video?

To counter that problem, as well as improve reliability in the high-temperature, always-on environment of the DVR, surveillance hard disk drives were developed. What do these drives offer?

  1. The ability to withstand the extreme heat fluctuations and vibration common in DVR enclosures.
  2. The ability to record the incoming video streams 24/7, without rest.
  3. The ability to record multiple video streams without dropped frames, or gaps in recorded footage.

 

WD Purple Surveillance Hard Disk Drives

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The WD Purple family of surveillance hard disk drives were unveiled in February 2014. Since then, Western Digital has steadily added new models to the family. They now offer WD Purple hard disk drives in capacities from as low as 500 GB all the way to 8 TB.

All WD Purple drives boast these key features :

  • Engineered specifically to handle the workload of always-on, 24/7 surveillance security systems
  • Performance prioritised for write operations to minimise dropped frames.
  • Toughened to withstand the high-temperature and vibration of a DVR
  • WD AllFrame technology improves ATA streaming to reduce frame loss, improve overall video playback and increase the number of drives supported by a single DVR
  • WD IntelliSeek technology keeps power consumption, noise level and vibration low
  • Three year limited warranty for peace of mind

Surveillance hard disk drives like the WD Purple drives are an essential component of the triad of reliable CCTV systems – high-quality cameras, reliable power supply and trustworthy storage. Make sure your CCTV system uses proper surveillance hard disk drives.

WD Purple drives are currently available at all computer retailers nationwide. For more information, check out the official WD Purple product page.

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Disclosure

This post was sponsored by Western Digital.

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10TB WD Gold Increases Storage Capacity By 25%

15 August 2016Western Digital Corporation today announced a new, high-capacity configuration of up to 10TB for its award-winning WD Gold datacenter hard drives. Designed for modern enterprise storage systems, 10TB WD Gold datacenter hard drives feature HelioSeal helium-technology for high capacity, power efficient storage for datacenter environments.

Read our review of the 8TB WD Gold datacenter drive.

 

WD Gold Hard Drive

WD Gold datacenter hard drives are designed for a broad range of applications – including small- to medium-scale enterprise servers and storage, and rack-mount datacenter servers and storage enclosures. 10TB WD Gold datacenter hard drives feature an optimized design over the existing WD Gold 8TB drives that helps reduce TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of servers and storage systems through an 8 percent operating power reduction while delivering 25 percent more capacity. This benefits IT administrators challenged with keeping up with growing storage demands on limited budgets.

“It is Western Digital’s on-going goal to provide superior reliability and compelling value to the our enterprise customers,” said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing, Western Digital. “WD Gold drives are a key component of the overall WD portfolio, providing power efficient, capacity-optimized storage for a wide range of high workload applications. The new 10TB capacity enables customers to efficiently deploy higher density storage solutions.”

 

10TB WD Gold datacenter hard drives provide:

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  • Improved power efficiency – HelioSeal Technology delivers lower power with an increase in capacity. Power efficiency (watts/TB) during operation is improved up to 26 percent over the WD Gold 8TB drive.
  • Better performance – Up to 21 percent sequential performance improvement over WD Gold 8TB datacenter drives
  • High reliability – WD Gold drives incorporate best-of-breed design, manufacturing and test processes to achieve one of the highest reliability ratings in the industry – 2.5 million hours MTBF (8TB and 10TB offerings)
  • Dedicated Premium Support Line– Western Digital offers a 24/7 premium support line for WD Gold drive customers and can be reached at U.S.: (855) 559-3733; International: +80055593733.

10TB WD Gold hard drives (model number WD101KRYZ) are currently available at select retailers and distributed by Eternal Asia (M) Sdn Bhd in Malaysia. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 10TB WD Gold is RM3,499 / ~US$ 875.

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High Performance PCs Need High Performance Drives

In the early days of personal computing, hard disk drives were just a place to store our applications and files. Our requirements were simpler back then, and so were the hard disk drives. Over time, our personal computers became more powerful, and the way we use them changed.

We no longer just use them to run word processors and spreadsheets, but to edit photos, create and manipulate 3D models and even play games. This created the need for faster hard disk drives. Hard disk drive manufacturers responded by developing high-performance hard disk drives.

Many users make the common mistake of focusing too much on CPU and graphics card performance while ignoring the performance of their hard disk drives. Today, we are going to show you why high performance PCs need high performance drives.

 

Higher Spindle Speed

Traditionally, hard disk drives spin at 4,200 RPM. Today, most desktop hard disk drives spin at 5,400 RPM. High performance drives achieve better performance by spinning their platters at a higher speed – 7,200 RPM or even 10,000 RPM.

The higher spindle speeds not only deliver better transfer rates, but also greatly reduces seek times – how long it takes to move from one location on the drive platter to a different location.

Transfer Rate : The speed at which files are read from, or written to, the hard disk drive. Usually measured sequentially.

Seek Time : How fast the drive head can move from one location to another location on the platter. Usually measured randomly, the shorter the better.


A high transfer rate is useful when you are copying a lot of files off the drive, or writing a lot of files to it. It also helps to load applications and games faster.

However, the greatest advantage of high-performance drives is their low seek times. The operating system and any application or game you are running will feel faster because there is less delay in the data they request from the drive (which tend to be all over the platter).

 

Larger Cache

All hard disk drives have a SDRAM cache that keeps a copy the latest data or the most frequently-used data from the hard disk drive. If the data requested is in the SDRAM cache, then it is instantly accessed. If not, then it has to be read off the hard disk drive’s platter.

The larger the SDRAM cache, the more data can be stored in it, and the more likely the data you are requesting is in it. That’s why high performance drives have large SDRAM caches. While regular hard disk drives have 16 MB or 32 MB caches, a high performance drive come with 64 MB or 128 MB caches.

 

Faster Processor

All modern hard disk drives use a small (usually ARM-based) processor to handle all sorts of tasks – encoding data, performing error correction checks, Native Command Queuing (NCQ), power management, etc.

High-performance drives boast faster dual-core processors so they can perform these tasks faster. This ensures that the raw data being read from, or written to, the hard disk drive is never delayed even under the heaviest loads.

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Performance Advantage

To demonstrate the difference, here is a comparison of a 6 TB Western Digital Black hard disk drive against the 6 TB Western Digital Green hard disk drive. Both are hard disk drives from the same manufacturer – Western Digital. The difference is the Black drive is a high-performance drive, while the Green drive is an energy-efficient drive.

As you can see, the 6 TB WD Black drive is 32-60 MB/s faster than the 6 TB WD Green drive. That is a 36-42% boost in transfer rate. To put this into perspective, if you copy out 6 TB of data from each drive, it will take the WD Black drive just under 10 hours, but the WD Green drive will take almost 14 hours.

Now, let’s take a look at how fast they perform with small random reads and writes that happen when the drive is used by an operating system and applications.

The 6 TB WD Black drive is 62.5% faster in random writes, and 23% faster in random reads than the 6 TB WD Green drive. The WD Black drive’s significantly better small random write performance is due to the faster processor and larger cache.

 

WD Black High Performance Drives

The Western Digital Black family is a great example of high-performance drives for power users and gamers who want the fastest possible hard disk drive. We have been using them for years because they are not just fast, but very reliable. In fact, we have WD Black drives that are still running more than 8 years after we first spun them up!

Western Digital offers their Black drives in both 3.5″ desktop models, and 2.5″ laptop models. They offer the following advantages over regular hard disk drives :

  • Higher 7,200 RPM spindle speed, which gives higher transfer rates and faster random access times
  • A much larger cache : Up to 128 MB for desktop models, up to 32 MB for laptop models
  • Faster dual-core processors to better handle multiple, simultaneous accesses
  • A much longer 5 years warranty for greater peace of mind

For more information, you can read about the latest WD Black desktop hard disk drives that we tested here at Tech ARP :

And here are the WD Black mobile hard disk drives that we reviewed here at Tech ARP :

It is said that once you try a WD Black high-performance drive as a boot drive, you will never want to go back to a “regular” hard disk drive. They are available in all major IT malls, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to get your hands on one for your PC!

 

Disclosure

This post was sponsored by Western Digital.

 

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5 Reasons To Only Use NAS-Optimised Drives In Your NAS

Network-attached storage (NAS) drives provide fast and secure storage for backup files, or a central repository of shared files that everyone can access. As NAS drives are available 24/7, they offer the convenience of on-call access to data with minimal power consumption. That is why they are now a necessity in many businesses and even homes.

When NAS systems first became popular, they were built around normal desktop drives which were not designed for 24/7 operation. This led to poor performance and reliability. To address this, Western Digital developed the WD Red family of NAS hard disk drives.

Let us show you why you must use NAS-optimised drives like the WD Red drives for your NAS systems, instead of regular hard disk drives.

 

Reason #1 : Tougher, Cooler & Quieter

Desktop drives are designed to run as solitary drives, so they do not need much protection against vibration. Neither do they need to be particularly quiet or cool. When installed in a NAS enclosure, the vibration and heat from multiple drives running in close proximity greatly reduce their reliability and lifespan, while testing your tolerance for noise.

WD Red drives are designed to run cooler and vibrate less. They also come with technologies that offer better protection against vibration, like 3D Active Balance Plus. That’s why you can pack up to 8 WD Red drives (or 16 WD Red Pro drives) in a NAS enclosure without worrying about killing them… or your eardrums!

 

Reason #2 : 24/7 Reliability

Desktop drives are also not designed to run 24/7. WD Red drives, on the other hand, are specifically designed for the “always-on” environment of a NAS enclosure.

Just how reliable are WD Red drives? The latest WD Red drives that feature the NASware 3.0 firmware are rated for a MTBF (mean time before failure) of 1 million hours. If you buy 8 of these drives and run them 24/7, you will likely see a single drive fail only after 14 years of non-stop operation.

That’s why Western Digital backs up their WD Red drives with a 3-year warranty. Their higher-end WD Red Pro drives (which support up to 16 drives in a single NAS enclosure) come with a 5-year warranty.

 

Reason #3 : Optimised For NAS

The performance requirements for network storage is vastly different from that of a desktop computer. Desktop drives will see a rough 50-50 mix of read and write operations over time, and their firmware are designed to support simultaneous read and write operations.

NAS drives, however, will experience far more reads than writes. After all, when you share files (family holiday photos, for example), they are written once but read many times after that. That is why WD Red drives are optimised for a mix of 80% reads and 20% writes.

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Reason #4 : Testing, Testing, Testing

WD Red drives are extensively tested with most, if not all, of the NAS systems in the world. WD Red drives also undergo more extensive reliability tests than regular desktop drives. All these tests not only ensure compatibility out-of-the-box, they also ensure the drives run reliably in the more demanding NAS environment.

 

Reason #5 : RAID-Optimised

Regular desktop drives are not designed to be used as RAID drives, and lack the RAID error recovery control called TLER (Time-Limited Error Recovery). TLER is designed to increase the reliability and stability of the RAID array. WD Red drives, on the other hand, support TLER because they are designed to be configured as RAID drives.

 

WD Red Drives

In July 2012, Western Digital revealed the world’s first NAS-optimised hard disk drive designed to run 24/7 – the 3 TB WD Red (WD30EFRX). Since then, they have released many new WD Red drives to meet the high demand for NAS-optimised storage :

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Irrespective of which brand you choose to use, understand this – you must use NAS-optimised hard disk drives in your NAS. Your data depends on it!

 

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2TB WD Black HDD Giveaway Contest Results

In our review of the 2TB WD Black hard disk drive, we noted that it is an insanely fast drive. In fact, it came in second only to the WD VelociRaptor in our tests! Needless to say, it was one of the few HDDs to win our Reviewer’s Choice Award. This is why we think it makes a great prize for our new giveaway contest!

 

This 2TB WD Black HDD Is Up For Grabs!

The prize is a brand-new 2TB WD Black (WD2001FASS) HDD. It comes in a sealed anti-static packet with anti-shock protection.

Find out more about the 2TB WD Black (WD2001FASS) HDD (Amazon) and what’s included in the package in our 2 TB WD Black review!

 

How Do I Win It?

You can do it one of two ways… or both ways. It’s really up to you. 😀

Method #1 : Facebook

  1. Like the Tech ARP Facebook page (if you have not already done so)
  2. Like this Contest Post in the Tech ARP Facebook page
  3. Share the Contest Post (REMEMBER to set it to Public so we can track!)
  4. Tag 2 friends (or more) in the comments below the Contest Post OR any Tech ARP posts, and tell them why they should check out the post or article. Every friend you tag gives you one chance to win!

Method #2 : Email

  1. Subscribe to our mailing list. You will find it on the right side bar of our articles.
  2. Email a link to Tech ARP, or any of our articles to your friends
  3. CC or BCC contest @ techarp.com in your email so we can track

That’s it! It’s that simple. You don’t need to think of any slogans, dance for us, or do any funny shit. Just click, click, click from the comfort of your chair and you are done! 😀

You may participate as many times as you wish, using either or both methods. But make sure you read and follow the instructions.

The 2TB WD Black HDD Giveaway Contest ends at midnight, the 12th of April 2016 (GMT+8), so make sure you complete either (or both) methods before then to qualify!

At the end of the contest, we will collate all of the results (both Facebook and email methods) and randomly select one winner from the combined pool.

 

Contest Results!

We are very excited to announce the 2TB WD Black HDD Giveaway contest results! This time, a total of 442 contestants participated. Thank you for making it such a success!

We have not only selected the winner of 2TB WD Black hard disk drive, we have also pre-selected a backup winner, in case the first winner does not get back to us on time. Let’s see who won!

The winner must PM or email us with your details within 7 days of this announcement, or the prize will go to the backup winner, and so on.

  1. Full Name
  2. Mobile / Telephone Number
  3. Full Address

If you did not win this time, don’t worry – we have another contest running right now! Check out the Tech ARP 2016 Power Bank Giveaway!

 

WD Black Giveaway Contest Terms & Conditions

  • Contestants are allowed to participate using either (or both) the Facebook and email methods as many times as they wish, but repetitions will not be counted.
  • Facebook users must use their personal Facebook account. Corporate and contest gaming accounts will be automatically disqualified.[adrotate banner=”4″]
  • Email users will be automatically disqualified if they send emails to fake email accounts.
  • Once the winner is announced, the contest winner will have 7 days to provide Tech ARP with the mailing details. Failing to do so will result in the nullification of the results, and a new winner will be selected instead.
  • Tech ARP will deliver the prize through mail or courier service to the winner. Tech ARP will, however, not be responsible for any loss or damage that occurs during the delivery of the prize.
  • In the event where a winner gives up the prize(s), either intentionally or by neglect or refusal to provide his/her details in a timely fashion, his/her rights to the prize will be rendered null and void.
  • Under unexpected circumstances where the prize(s) is not available, Tech ARP has the right to substitute the prize(s) with another prize of similar value.
  • Tech ARP has the right to disqualify any participant who violates the terms of this contest. The rules and regulations are subject to change by Tech ARP without prior notice. Complaints will not be entertained.
  • Tech ARP reserves the right to amend or delay or even cancel the contest due to any unexpected circumstances.

 

WD Black Giveaway Contest Privacy Policy

Any personal information that you submit will only be used by Tech ARP for promotional and communications purposes only.

Any personal information that you submit will not be sold or used or shared with a third-party, without your prior consent.

 

Help Us Help You!

Tech ARP will be sponsoring many of these prizes and delivery of all prizes at substantial cost to the team. If you would like to help us defray our costs, you can do so by visiting more of our sponsors or participating in our forums. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

SATA Mode – BIOS Optimization Guide

SATA Mode

Common Options : RAID, SATA or AHCI, IDE

 

Quick Review

The SATA Mode BIOS feature is similar to the SATA Operation Mode BIOS feature, but with different options available. It controls the SATA controller’s operating mode.

When set to SATA or AHCI, the SATA controller enables its AHCI functionality. However, its RAID functions will be disabled and you won’t be able to access the RAID setup utility at boot time. You can find more information on AHCI in the SATA AHCI Mode BIOS feature.

When set to RAID, the SATA controller enables both its RAID and AHCI functions. You will be allowed to access the RAID setup utility at boot time.

When set to IDE, the SATA controller disables its RAID and AHCI functions and runs in the IDE emulation mode. You won’t have access to the RAID setup utility.

If you intend to create or use a RAID array, you should set this BIOS feature to RAID. The BIOS will load the RAID setup utility which you can access at boot time.

If you do not wish to create or use a RAID array but would like to make use of the SATA controller’s AHCI features, you should set this BIOS feature to SATA or AHCI. This skips the loading of the SATA controller’s RAID functions, which speeds up the boot process.

Even if you do not intend to use a RAID array, it is recommended that you set this BIOS feature to SATA or AHCI, even if you do not intend to use features like hot-plugging. This is because switching from the IDE emulation mode to AHCI mode is often problematic.

On the other hand, the IDE mode allows for maximum compatibility with older hardware. Even with the proper SATA driver installed, it is possible for a system to crash while installing or booting up an operating system. Disabling this BIOS in such cases will normally resolve the issue.

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Details

The SATA Mode BIOS feature is similar to the SATA Operation Mode BIOS feature, but with different options available. It controls the SATA controller’s operating mode. There are three available modes – IDE, SATA or AHCI and RAID.

When set to SATA or AHCI, the SATA controller enables its AHCI functionality. However, its RAID functions will be disabled and you won’t be able to access the RAID setup utility at boot time. You can find more information on AHCI in the SATA AHCI Mode BIOS feature.

When set to RAID, the SATA controller enables both its RAID and AHCI functions. You will be allowed to access the RAID setup utility at boot time.

When set to IDE, the SATA controller disables its RAID and AHCI functions and runs in the IDE emulation mode. You won’t have access to the RAID setup utility.

If you intend to create or use a RAID array, you should set this BIOS feature to RAID. The BIOS will load the RAID setup utility which you can access at boot time.

If you do not wish to create or use a RAID array but would like to make use of the SATA controller’s AHCI features, you should set this BIOS feature to SATA or AHCI. This skips the loading of the SATA controller’s RAID functions, which speeds up the boot process.

Please note that both RAID and SATA/AHCI modes require you to load the SATA controller driver during the Microsoft Windows XP installation routine. When you load the Windows XP installation routine, the following message will appear on screen :

Press F6 if you have to install a third-party SCSI or RAID driver.

At this point, press the F6 key and insert the floppy disk containing the motherboard’s SATA controller driver. Once the driver is loaded, the Microsoft Windows XP installation will proceed as usual. This step is not required if the SATA controller is set to SATA or AHCI and the operating system has native support for AHCI.

Even if you do not intend to use a RAID array, it is recommended that you set this BIOS feature to SATA or AHCI, even if you do not intend to use features like hot-plugging. This is because switching from the IDE emulation mode to AHCI mode is often problematic. For example, switching from IDE mode to AHCI after installing Microsoft Windows 7 in IDE mode will result in a Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD).

On the other hand, the IDE mode allows for maximum compatibility with older hardware. Even with the proper SATA driver installed, it is possible for a system to crash while installing or booting up an operating system. Disabling this BIOS in such cases will normally resolve the issue.

 

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If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

WD Gold Datacenter Hard Drives Launched

20 April 2016 — Western Digital Corporation today announced the expansion of its award-winning color portfolio with a new line; WD Gold datacenter hard drives. WD Gold datacenter hard drives are designed for a broad range of applications – including small- to medium-scale enterprise servers and storage, and rack-mount datacenter servers and storage enclosures.

With purpose-driven designs for the datacenter, WD Gold datacenter hard drives are launching with a new, high-capacity configuration of up to 8TB that offers HelioSeal helium-technology for performance, ideal capacity per square foot, power efficiency and low power consumption for datacenter environments.

WD Gold datacenter hard drives feature an optimized design with an 8TB option that helps reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of servers and storage systems, benefiting IT administrators challenged with growing storage capacity needs on limited budgets. WD Gold hard drives will also include a premium dedicated support line for customers worldwide.

“Western Digital has a proven history of providing award-winning purpose-driven products for unique requirements of each application environment, like WD Red, WD Purple and WD Blue drives,” said Brendan Collins vice president of product marketing, Western Digital Corporation. “WD Gold is a pinnacle part of the color portfolio strategy and another step in creating optimized drives for the markets we serve. Our continued goal is to deliver the most competitive and reliable solutions on the market.”

Don’t forget to read our comprehensive review of the 8TB WD Gold drive!

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WD Gold Datacenter Key Features

  • Improved power efficiency – New electronics enhance power efficiency up to 15 percent.
  • HelioSeal technology enables up to 26 percent lower power consumption .
  • Better performance – Up to 18 percent sequential performance improvement over previous generation WD Re 4TB datacenter drives, and up to 30 percent improvement in random write performance over previous generation WD Re 6TB datacenter drives through media-based cache, and up to 3x improvement over competitive offerings
  • High reliability – WD Gold incorporates best-of-breed design, manufacturing and test processes to achieve one of the highest reliability ratings in the industry – 2.5 million hours MTBF (8TB offering)
  • Dedicated Premium Support Line and WD Gold Model Numbers – Western Digital offers a 24/7 premium support line for WD Gold customers and can be reached at U.S.: (855) 559-3733; International: +80055593733.

 

WD Gold Datacenter Models

Go Back To > Enterprise | Home

 

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If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

Sharkoon QuickPort USB Type C Docking Station Launched

Sharkoon expands its range of docking stations and introduces the fastest QuickPort to the product family, which thanks to USB 3.1, offers a data transfer rate of up to 10 gigabits per second.

The Sharkoon QuickPort USB 3.1 Type C is a compact docking station for convenient connection of a SATA hard drive to a PC or laptop. With USB 3.1 support, the QuickPort offers a transfer rate of up to 10 gigabits per second and is backwards compatible to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. The docking station is suitable for a 2.5″ HDD/SSD or a 3.5″ hard drive, which slides easily into the drive bay of the QuickPort.

Installation is also simple; your operating system recognizes the QuickPort without having to install a driver. If there is no hard drive inserted, a spring-loaded flap protects the inside against dust and dirt. The internal SATA interface of the docking station supports SATA Revision 3.0 and is backwards compatible to previous SATA Revisions.

[adrotate banner=”4″]A status LED on the front indicates operation and data transfer. The on/off switch is located on the back, along with the power inlet and USB the USB 3.1 Type C port for connecting to a computer. A USB 3.1 cable (Type A plug to Type C plug) and a power adapter is included, as well.

Fittingly, Sharkoon also introduces a new expansion card: The Sharkoon USB 3.1 Host Controller Card Type A+C conveniently expands a PC with two USB 3.1 ports. Here, both a Type A port and Type C port are available. Each port provides a transfer rate of up to 10 gigabits per second.

The PCIe expansion card supports PCIe 2.0 x2 as well as PCIe 3.0 x1 and is backwards compatible to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. An internal SATA power inlet provides the necessary power supply. Windows 7, 8 and 10 operating systems are supported.

 

Sharkoon Quick Port Price & Availability

The Sharkoon QuickPort USB 3.1 Type C is available now for the suggested retail price of 39.99 euros from authorized retailers. The Sharkoon USB 3.1 Host Controller Card Type A+C is also now available for the suggested retail price of 29.99 euros.

 

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If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

Delay IDE Initial – BIOS Optimization Guide

Delay IDE Initial

Common Options : 0 to 15

 

Quick Review

Motherboards are capable of booting up much faster these days. Therefore, initialization of IDE devices now take place much earlier. Unfortunately, this also means that some older IDE drives will not be able to spin up in time to be initialized! When this happens, the BIOS will not be able to detect that IDE drive and the drive will not be accessible even though it is actually running just fine.

This is where the Delay IDE Initial BIOS feature comes in. It allows you to force the BIOS to delay the initialization of IDE devices for up to 15 seconds. The delay allows your IDE devices more time to spin up before the BIOS initializes them.

If you do not use old IDE drives and the BIOS has no problem initializing your IDE devices, it is recommended that you leave the delay at the default value of 0 for the shortest possible booting time. Most IDE devices manufactured in the last few years will have no problem spinning up in time for initialization.

But if one or more of your IDE devices fail to initialize during the boot up process, start with a delay of 1 second. If that doesn’t help, gradually increase the delay until all your IDE devices initialize properly during the boot up process.

 

Details

Regardless of its shortcomings, the IDE standard is remarkably backward compatible. Every upgrade of the standard was designed to be fully compatible with older IDE devices. So, you can actually use the old 40 MB hard disk that came with your ancient 386 system in your spanking new Athlon XP system! However, even backward compatibility cannot account for the slower motors used in the older drives.

[adrotate banner=”4″]Motherboards are capable of booting up much faster these days. Therefore, initialization of IDE devices now take place much earlier. Unfortunately, this also means that some older IDE drives will not be able to spin up in time to be initialized! When this happens, the BIOS will not be able to detect that IDE drive and the drive will not be accessible even though it is actually running just fine.

This is where the Delay IDE Initial BIOS feature comes in. It allows you to force the BIOS to delay the initialization of IDE devices for up to 15 seconds. The delay allows your IDE devices more time to spin up before the BIOS initializes them.

If you do not use old IDE drives and the BIOS has no problem initializing your IDE devices, it is recommended that you leave the delay at the default value of 0 for the shortest possible booting time. Most IDE devices manufactured in the last few years will have no problem spinning up in time for initialization.

But if one or more of your IDE devices fail to initialize during the boot up process, start with a delay of 1 second. If that doesn’t help, gradually increase the delay until all your IDE devices initialize properly during the boot up process.

 

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If you like our work, you can help support out work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

How The Right Surveillance Storage Improves The System

When the first event music, “Video Killed the Radio Star” premiered on MTV in 1981, it started a video revolution. A lot has changed since then, but video’s relevance in our culture, has increased, and our lives and security have come to depend on it.

Market research firm IHS estimates that one surveillance camera has been installed for every eight people (about 40M) in the U.S. alone. Stats from 2014 certainly back that up – according to the IHS Video Surveillance Intelligence Service Market Insight report from August 2015, the U.S. was ranked as the second largest market for video surveillance equipment, worth $2.8 billion dollars.

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With our obsession over video and corresponding camera capabilities such as HD and 4K, it’s easy to miss an equally crucial component that can make or break the effectiveness of an entire surveillance system: storage. Unfortunately, many surveillance professionals are using the wrong drive.

Rather than being designed for continuous capture of HD or FHD video from multiple cameras, a drive that is not optimized for surveillance systems can drop frames, or even consume more power, generating more heat to create a major reliability issue. This could drastically reduce the life of a drive, adversely affecting the read and write operations in a surveillance system. These solution may cost the customer less upfront, but eventually could affect your business when performance, reliability and even your reputation.

The right surveillance storage solution offer high performance, efficiency and capacity that has been tested in harsh surveillance environments. But how to tell the difference?

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: What to Look For In Surveillance Storage

There are several specific things to look for when evaluating whether a drive has been designed with surveillance in mind:

  • Always on: A surveillance system works 24×7. If the storage drive hasn’t been designed for constant, never-ending read/write operations, it won’t be able to keep up.
  • Performance Reliability: Some drives, like WD’s Purple surveillance-class hard drive family, include special technology (called AllFrame in this case) that improves playback performance and works with ATA streaming to reduce errors and frame loss.

  • RAID-enabled: To increase peace-of-mind for your customer, you may also want to look for a drive with RAID or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disk capabilities. A drive with this capability can use two or more hard disks to create a safety net for failed hardware by ensuring that the image is still being captured even if one drive isn’t working. This lessens interruptions in productivity and decreases the chance of data loss.
  • Low power consumption: While “low power consumption” might not be first on your list of things to look for in a hard drive, the need for always-on capability makes this crucial. Having a drive that calculates the optimum seek speeds won’t generate as much heat, even in passively-cooled storage enclosures, making it more reliable and friendlier to your customer’s wallet.
  • High camera count support: A high number of cameras, an NVR system or a longer retention period will require higher storage use and an even greater need to ensure you have chosen a drive that will meet the customer’s needs. Look for one with up to 6 TB of capacity on a single drive.
  • High system bay count support: The right drive will include hardware vibration sensors to enable higher drive-count systems as well as higher system and hard drive workloads.
  • Extensive compatibility with cameras: Needless to say, the drive you select needs to work with the cameras you are planning to install. One that works with most of the different cameras you could install will make it even easier to keep the right drive on-hand, regardless of your current installation scenario.
  • Rugged exterior: In some cases the drive may need to live, and perform continuously in harsh environments. In this case, you’ll want one with tarnish-resistant PCBA protection.
  • Easily upgradable: In an ideal world, your customer occasionally asks to upgrade or expand their existing surveillance system. A drive that scales with a system when the need to expand arises and makes your job easier.

Considering the importance of storage in surveillance systems, you may also find it helpful to use a capacity calculator to help determine how much storage is needed for the length of time data is to be maintained for a particular surveillance system. Vendors like WD offer calculators and drive selection tools to help find the right drive and capacity that best suits your needs.

 

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If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donating to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!