Caviar Green Hard Drive Firmware Upgrade for Performance

Caviar Green Hard Drive Firmware Upgrade for Performance

If y’all are the kind of user who wants it all – performance, low power consumption, and copious storage capacity – in a unmarried desktop drive, pay attention. Whether yous’re shopping for storage to fill up a habitation media server or you lot’re just looking to max out the capacity of your current desktop, the latest high-capacity, low-ability drives – like the 2TB Western Digital Caviar Dark-green up for review today – make a lot of sense for the kinds of calculating most of united states of america practise.

If you are the kind of user who wants information technology all – functioning, low power consumption, and copious storage capacity – in a single desktop drive, pay attention. Whether you’re shopping for storage to make full up a home media server or you’re just looking to max out the chapters of your current desktop, the latest high-capacity, depression-power drives – similar the 2TB Western Digital Caviar Greenish up for review today – make a lot of sense for the kinds of computing most of the states exercise.

Western Digital Caviar Green

With a concession to current branding trends, manufacturers have sought to promote the eco-friendliness of storage in this category. But while these drives do use less power (in some case, significantly less) than their high-performance peers, compromises reached in the interest of going green make them attractive “all-arounder” options for general use as well. Cheaper price points than pinnacle-tier performance drives, lower operating costs, and loftier capacities are the name of the game here, and over the adjacent several weeks we will be dissecting the relative merits of elevation contenders in the desktop eco-drive infinite from Samsung, Seagate, and (of course) Western Digital.


The Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB (aka the WD20EARS) is the electric current top-shelf storage system in the manufacturer’s Caviar Greenish lineup of eco-conscious drives, sporting two.0 TB of storage capacity and a 64 MB enshroud.

Western Digital Caviar Green

Visually, the 3.5 inch course-factor drive looks about identical to Caviar devices in other colors (and to most other consumer- and business organisation-grade desktop drives also).

WD cleans up the appearance slightly with black adhesive dots that embrace the drive’south fasteners – a visual finishing bear upon we’ve seen on WD’s Caviar Black drives likewise. In fact, excepting the dark-green characterization used here (which bears the bulldoze’s identifying information), the WD20EARS is a dead ringer for a member of the Caviar Black family of devices.

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The WD20EARS is built on the familiar WD Caviar blueprint, which utilizes places heat-producing parts in contact with the body of the bulldoze in lodge to aid in dissipation. The lath sits atop a vibration-arresting cream pad. Information technology is held in place with multiple Torx screws.

Western Digital Caviar Green

Board layout is basically identical to the Caviar Black drives, and the WD20EARS goes so far as to share the Smoothen L7251 three.1 motor controller with its high-speed cousin.

Western Digital Caviar Green

The heart of the Western Digital Caviar Green is a Marvell 88i9045-TFJ2 controller bit paired with a 64MB Hynix DDR400 retentiveness module.

Advanced Format

Yous may non exist able to see it past taking the drive autonomously, but another important change is lurking under the WD20EARS’due south hood: Advanced Format. The WD20EARS, along with the companion 1TB WD10EARS, are the beginning 3.5″ drives to hit the market with Western Digital’s new formatting structure, which divides the drive into 4,096-byte sectors instead of the smaller 512-byte sectors used in electric current bulldoze technology.

The advantage? Fewer, larger sectors mean less drive space devoted to lead-ins and inter-sector gaps, which allows for formatting efficiencies in the high-ninety% range and usable-space increases of more than ten%. In short, it’south a manner to get more actual storage space from the aforementioned concrete drive.

While larger sectors make sense for battling the diminishing returns on usable space every bit drives grow in size, it’due south worth noting that not all operating systems support this new technology. Windows users (including WHS users) from Vista forwards should have no trouble, and the latest versions of Mac Os X and Linux are reported to handle 4K sectors without 3rd-party software. If y’all’re running XP, even so, be aware that yous’ll have to use a software solution (WD’s supplied WD Align tool, which provides 512-byte emulation) to get optimal performance, and you’ll have to exist even more artistic in patching together a workable solution if yous happen to apply Windows Home Server 2003. We tested hits particular bulldoze in a number of environments, including a custom Linux server running Ubuntu 10.04, a
Synology DS410j Home Server, and inside Windows 7 with no 4K related issues.


To accordingly approximate the largest Caviar Green drive’due south performance, we evaluated the drive confronting its about directly competitors: 2 TB low-power drives from Samsung and Seagate. In the case of the WD, nosotros performed all benchmarks using both 512B sector “traditional” formatting and 4K sector Advanced Format whenever applied. Note that optimal performance on the 2TB Caviar Light-green is only observed when the tests are aligned for 4K read and writes.

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In social club to get a operation baseline (and to provide a best instance transfer speed scenario) we clocked the Caviar Greenish’south functioning in a 2MB sequential transfer examination conducted through IOMeter.

Western Digital Caviar Green

Under ideal atmospheric condition, at that place’due south very footling to distinguish the performance of these three drives. Likewise, the Caviar Light-green performs every bit well in 512B and 4K formats, turning in nearly identical transfer numbers in both modes.

CrystalDiskMark benchmarks the drives inside the system with an active NTFS sectionalization, only the basic results confirm what we saw in IOMeter testing: the Caviar Green stacks upwards somewhere nearly dead middle between the Seagate and Samsung competitors in almost every test.

Western Digital Caviar Green

Western Digital Caviar Green

To collect information that more than accurately mimics “real earth” usage, we use IOMeter’s 2MB and 4K random transfer read and write tests.

Western Digital Caviar Green

As in the sequential test, 2MB random read operations place the Caviar Greenish (in either mode) somewhere between the quick Seagate Barracuda LP and the much more moderate Samsung Spinpoint, although the WD20EARS clocks the best read speeds of the group.

Western Digital Caviar Green

Western Digital Caviar Green

Performance in the 4K random tests is less impressive, with the Caviar Green lagging backside regardless of configuration. That said, while read speeds were consistently loftier whether or non Avant-garde Format was used, the speed and book of write operations diminished significantly when not sending 4K-aligned transfer requests.

Western Digital Caviar Green

Write latency performance with the WD20EARS varied considerably depending on whether Advanced Format was used or non. In 4K sector format style, the drive was a pinnacle performer, hanging with the Seagate Barracuda LP in both average and maximum timings. Switching the drive to 512B emulation file-writing slows operations down considerably.

Among other uses, the Caviar Green is an platonic choice for employ in habitation or small business servers. With this in mind, we used IOMeter to compare the drive’southward multi-user functioning in four basic scenarios: Database, Workstation, Spider web Server, and File Server.

Western Digital Caviar Green

Western Digital Caviar Green

Western Digital Caviar Green

Western Digital Caviar Green

On average, the Caviar Green held its own (if rarely exceled) in these tests, steadily building speed every bit the number of requests increased.

Power Consumption

Originally launched every bit the GreenPower lineup in the days earlier WD’s electric current branding scheme, the Caviar Dark-green drives utilize several power-saving features – most notably, an “IntelliPower”  motor that is designed to spin at an efficient speed while still giving quick drive admission through the utilize of custom caching and admission algorithms. This arrangement is designed to offer the best of both worlds; modest power consumption and good bulldoze performance.

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The tabular array below compares the Caviar Green’southward ability consumption to its ii tested rivals in several situations.

The above comparisons are interesting for a number of reasons. In terms of total power draw (reached by combining watt measurements from each drive’s 5V and 12V runway), the Caviar Greenish was the well-nigh wallet-friendly of the three during both random and sequential read activeness, but consumed more power than its competitors during write activities and at idle (where draw from the 5V rail, which typically powers board components, was appreciably higher). In spite of the aforementioned variably spindle speed, the drive’s startup numbers also failed to print, drawing heavy loads on both 5V and 12V rails that put the Caviar Green much higher than the power-sipping Samsung Spinpoint during this performance.


Western Digital covers the WD20EARS with a iii-year warranty – about boilerplate for devices in this class, but non the extensive five-twelvemonth coverage that WD offers on their Caviar Blackness and Raptor operation drives.


Western Digital helped to pioneer the “greenish bulldoze” segment, and the meridian-of-the-line Caviar Green bulldoze sports a lot of cutting-edge technology: IntelliPower variable spindle speed, a 64MB cache, and Advance Format for more usable space. The wow factor associated with some of these innovations, however, is mitigated in part by the drive’s generally average functioning – in terms of both speed and ability consumption – compared to other competitors in this space. All in all, the Caviar Green was rarely at the bottom of our performance rankings, simply nosotros expected a few more top finishes from this long-fourth dimension leader in eco-friendly storage.


  • Generally solid, if unremarkable, performance
  • Supports side by side-gen 4K sector formatting


  • Mostly solid, if unremarkable, performance
  • Heavy-handed power employ in some situations

Bottom Line

Accelerate Format may be a big attraction for some. Otherwise, the Caviar Green is a good, if not ever a top-tier, low power performer.

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Caviar Green Hard Drive Firmware Upgrade for Performance

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