Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB HDD WD20EADS

Aron Schatz
April 28, 2009
Western Digital
Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB HDD WD20EADS
It wasn't too long ago that technology pushed the 1TB limit on hard drives back and now Western Digital provides the same push to 2TB. The Caviar Green drive is certain aimed for high density storage.

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Storage technologies have really pushed the limits of magnetic storage to the extreme. It wasn't too long ago that many "experts" said that storage built on magnet disks would reach their end of life due to not a blocked of bit density. All those barriers are still being shatters and new ones keep being made. While it is certainly true that mechanical parts are slower than their solid state successors (and SSDs are the true successor to the traditional HDD), at certain workloads, the magnetic storage can keep with with these new technologies by having very good linear read speeds. Combine that with a multitude of speed enhancing technologies and a big cache size, the hard drive has some life in it yet.

Did we mention that Western Digital arrived at the 2TB size? Their first consumer drive in that storage size is the Caviar Green WD20EADS 3.5" SATA HDD. Combining an green design that reduces power and noise, this drive is a good start to please the masses with its 2TB of storage and 32MB of cache.



Since this drive arrived pretty much fresh off the line, it arrived in a generic OEM box. If you ordered a OEM drive, this would probably be the packaging it would come in.


Once opened, all that was contained is the drive proving this is an OEM drive fresh off the line. It was wrapped in an anti-static bag and protected well during transit.



Reduced power consumption - WD has reduced power consumption by up to 40 percent compared to standard desktop drives with the combination of WD's IntelliSeek, NoTouch, and IntelliPower technologies.

Helps enable eco-friendly PCs - WD Caviar Green drives yield an average drive power savings of 4-5 watts over standard desktop drives making it possible for our energy-conscious customers to build systems with higher capacities and the right balance of system performance, ensured reliability, and energy conservation.

Cool and quiet - GreenPower technology yields lower operating temperatures for increased reliability and low acoustics for ultra-quiet PCs and external drives.

Massive capacity - Capacities up to 2 TB offer the most available capacity for storage-intensive programs and space-hungry operating systems, like Window Vista, with plenty of room left over for photos, music, and video.

Perfect for external drives - External drive manufacturers can eliminate the need for a fan in a high-capacity product with a WD Caviar Green drive, the coolest and quietest in its class.

IntelliPower - A fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance.

IntelliSeek - Calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise, and vibration.

NoTouch ramp load technology - The recording head never touches the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit.

Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) - Employs PMR technology to achieve even greater areal density.

StableTrac - The motor shaft is secured at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilize platters for accurate tracking, during read and write operations. (2 TB models only)

Low power spin-up - WD Caviar Green drives consume less current during startup allowing lower peak loads.

Advanced power technology - Electronic components deliver best-in-class low power consumption for reduced power requirements and increased reliability.
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Performance Specifications:
Transfer Rates
    Buffer To Host (Serial ATA): 3 Gb/s (Max)

Physical Specifications:
    Formatted Capacity 2,000,398 MB
    Capacity 2 TB
    Interface SATA 3 Gb/s
    User Sectors Per Drive 3,907,029,168

Physical Dimensions:
    Height 1.028 Inches
    Length 5.787 Inches
    Width 4.00 Inches
    Weight 1.61 Pounds
    Height 26.1 mm
    Length 147 mm
    Width 101.6 mm
    Weight 0.73 kg

Environmental Specifications:
    Operating Shock (Read) 65G, 2 ms
    Non-operating Shock 300G, 2 ms
    Idle Mode 25 dBA (average)
    Seek Mode 0 29 dBA (average)
    Seek Mode 3 26 dBA (average)
    Linear 20-300 Hz, .75G (0 to peak)
    Random 10-300 Hz, 0.008 g² / Hz
    Low Frequency 5-20 Hz, 0.195 inches (double amplitude)
    High Frequency 20-500 Hz, 4.0G (0 to peak)
Electrical Specifications:
Current Requirements
    Power Dissipation
    Read/Write 6.00 Watts
    Idle 3.7 Watts
    Standby 0.80 Watts
    Sleep 0.80 Watts



Surprise! It is a hard drive and looks like any other hard drive would. Like the saying goes, it is what is on the inside that counts... And there's a lot inside this drive to count. The green stickers on the drive label really make it known that this is a green product from Western Digital. Being that this drive is one of WD's Caviar Green series, it has excellent power consumption and a quite operation. The rating idle and load power consumption features are actually fairly spot on at about 4 Watts for idle and about 7 Watts at load.


WD drives usually have the assortment of black stickers hiding the screws to get to the internals of the drive. The labeling on the drive gives some jumper options to limit the physical size reported by the drive and some other options. As you can see, the drive was born on February 6th, 2009. This drive is a baby. It was made in Thailand.


The bottom and back of the drive... looks like a normal hard drive. Other than the PCB doesn't have any real big components exposed on the bottom, the drive is fairly standard. We are interested in the storage size, after all. Power and data connections are the standard SATA variety.
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The drive has 1.82 TB of usable space since hard drive manufacturers adopted the wrong scale of computer units. Regardless, 1.8TB of usable space is pretty amazing. It wasn't too long ago that people were trying to figure out how to fill up a 500MB drive and now even the largest drives are easily usable. The ability to not worry about usable scratch space is the key on these drives. You could also pop a couple in a backup server to really have a good amount of storage. The drive also performed close to the rated power requirements as well. It was 4 Watts idling and about 7 Watts under load.

In the graph below, the WD20EADS was pitted against a much older Seagate 320GB drive to show what a new drive can do. The Seagate model was a 7200.10 and is a more performance oriented drive than the Green 2TB drive.

Elapsed Time Results (Lower is better)

ImageMagick Compilation
Apache Compilation
Parallel BZIP2 Compression
LZMA Compression
Flexible IO Tester

In most of the tests, the Western Digital drive comes out faster than the older Seagate model. If this was pitted against a newer drive, the results would probably tip the other way. That being said, this drive is more about raw size than pure speed and you do get a great amount of space for storage.


While this drive marked the new 2TB limit for hard drives, it is really useful if you have a backup solution to go along with this space. The majority of uses for this 2TB drive would probably be in the server oriented role (a storage server). The amount of data this drive can backup is staggering. It is really obvious why hard drives are replacing tape backup. Commodity prices of these drives make them beneficial over tape and the tape library. Though, if someone is using this as a personal drive without a backup, 1.82TB is quite a bit of information to lose.

The other issue at the time of writing is the price on the drive. The drive is retailing for »about $300. A faster 1TB hard drive will set you back »about $100 which begs the question. If you can buy three 1TB drives for the price of a single 2TB, would you? Throw them in a RAID 5 array and you're safe and relatively speedy.

That being said, this drive targets more than just the consumer market. The higher density that this drive provides allows servers with far greater capacities than before with even the 1.5TB drives. The Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB drive is certainly paving the way to our higher storage needs. If you need the high density storage that a single 2TB drive provides, the WD Caviar Green is a great choice.

ASE Labs would like to thank Western Digital for making this review possible.
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