Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB SATA 3Gb/s £189
21st Oct 2010 | 15:12
Smashing through barriers with careful abandon
Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB - Overview
The headline-grabbing capacity of three whole terabytes is what really makes this Western Digital Caviar Green HDD stand out, but is there anything more to it than sheer size?
With the focus squarely on the burgeoning SSD market it would be all too easy to overlook spinning platter drives. They're not as fast, not as talked about and not as exciting as their solid state brethren.
Ignoring them completely would be foolish though, as in most cases you'll need a large hard drive to go alongside your sprightly, but slim, SSD.
Plus, traditional hard drives can still offer a surprising amount of performance for your cash too. And as far as cash is concerned, traditional hard drives are still in a completely different league to their newer siblings – thanks to the enormous capacities that are available.
Western Digital lays claim to a number of technologies that are driving platter-based mechanisms forward, culminating in this whopping 3TB drive.
That's three terabytes in a single drive.
This huge capacity doesn't come without problems of its own (more on this in a second), but it isn't the only piece of cunning technology at work to make the WD30EZRS an interesting proposition.
For instance, alongside the hefty capacity, you'll find a tasty 64MB buffer, for improved performance across the board. Plus, Western Digital has employed various Cool and quiet technologies to keep the drive temperature down and noise levels to near-whisper quiet levels.
The WD30EZRSDTL, like its slightly smaller 2.5TB WD25EZRSDTL sibling, ships under Western Digital's 'Green' moniker. T
his means that its got an eye on your power consumption – essentially spinning the four 750GB platters at 5,400rpm speeds as opposed to the more traditional 7,200rpm models.
Optimisations ensure that data transfers don't get too sluggish in normal operation, but those looking for the ultimate in performance should wait for the release of the 'Black' edition, which forgoes the planet in preference to some good old fashioned naked performance.
The main problem for the Caviar Green 3TB is down to the BIOS in your motherboard.
This isn't something that Western Digital has direct control over, but it is something that it has gone out of its way to resolve. Those in the know will be aware of the 32-bit limit present in the BIOS that prevents most motherboards from seeing drive capacities above 2.19TB.
While Western Digital could have just marketed this drive to owners of compatible motherboards, chances are they would have sold in single figures if they had done so.
It's rather cunning solution is to bundle the drive with a PCI-Express controller card that enables everyone (with a spare PCI-e slot at least) to get in on the high-capacity action.
Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB - Benchmarks
In terms of performance, this 'green' drive produces reasonable results, matching the likes of the 2TB comparison drive from Seagate in some metrics, and losing out in others.
The differences are generally slight though, and essentially these figures show that despite it's green-angle, it's in the same ballpark.
If you are interested in an all-round performance offering, and less bothered about your power consumption, than the Blue and Black renditions should be winging their way to the virtual shelves soon though.
Sequential Read/Write Performance
Average Read Performance
Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB - Verdict
This Host Bus Adapter (HBA) is a small 1x PCI Express card that offers two SATA-2 ports for connecting to your larger than normal drives to your machine.
If you have a UEFI supporting motherboard then you can then boot through this card too.
Installation is straightforward, although we did have to remove the half-height bracket from the one sent as we were installing into a full desktop PC. Once done its business as usual.
You don't have to provide drivers, and Windows 7 was up and running with the new drive quickly (note that Windows XP will need to make do with smaller drives, as the old OS isn't supported).
Overall, there's a lot to like about the Caviar Green 3TB.
Western Digital's decision to bundle the drive with a controller card is a wise one, and means that while it is slightly more hassle than simply installing a second hard drive in your machine, it's a lot more painless than completely replacing your motherboard (and there aren't many UEFI options out there right now anyway).
If you're looking for a large drive with a ridiculous amount of capacity (formatted you're looking at 2.72TB), and don't mind paying a little bit over the odds for it, this is the drive for you.
The fact that it runs quietly and keeps an eye on your electricity bill is the icing on the cake. Those looking for extreme performance should hold out for the Black edition though.
This makes for a staggering amount of performance from a single drive, making it an ideal option for those with limited space.
The drives green credentials shouldn't just appeal to corporate buyers either, especially when it's this quiet and cool in use.
The add-in card will put some off, although it's very easy to install and get the drive up and running.
Performance is a little on the uninspired side, although that's mainly down to drive's green credentials.
Given the inclusion of the HBA the value for money isn't bad, although it does suffer comparisons with far more affordable 1TB drives out there, such as Western Digital's own Caviar Green 1TB, which can be had for £42.