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Western Digital Touts New 'Green' Drives 119

An anonymous reader writes "Western Digital today announced the availability of a new line of serial ATA drives that are supposed to use 4 to 5 watts less than other competitive drives from Hitachi GST, Fujitsu and Seagate. The new "GreenPower" line comes in 500GB, 750GB and 1TB capacities. Western Digital says it achieves better power performance by balancing the platter's spin speed in order to make it more efficient, by optimizing seek speeds and by parking the read heads when the disk is idle, according to a Computerworld story."
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Western Digital Touts New 'Green' Drives

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:07AM (#21453143)
    I tried one of these. Performance on large files is about the same as the seagate barracuda 750GB. Performance on small files, or when there's a lot of seeking to be done, or under heavy load (which requires seeking) is noticeably slower. Maybe 75% of the barracuda, as a off-the-cuff completely unscientific number.

    The power is noticeably lower than the barracudas, even comparing an active one of these new WD ones versus an idle barracuda.

    Overall I'm very happy with it. Those barracudas cooked - definitely needed some air circulation around them. The new WD can sit in a less-than-ideal spot and remain comfortably cool. And if your system has more than a few drives I can definitely see this making a nice difference in heat and power consumption with an acceptable tradeoff in latency. Maybe use one non-green fast drive for the system and other rapid-access data, and then these for the less critical stuff, media library, etc.

    (Posted AC 'cause I don't feel like making an account for one measly post)
  • by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:14AM (#21453169) Homepage Journal
    From what I remember from the reviews, the disc spins between 5400 and 7200rpm depending on load. Benchmarks showed it's not as fast as equivalent 7200rpm drives of the same capacity, but the performance disparity is in the region on 5-10% at worst. For people worried about power usage and/or noise though, it looks like a superb drive - perfect for an HTPC. []
  • by agildehaus ( 112245 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:19AM (#21453193)
    Since when is a 5 watt savings on a 3.5 inch hard drive a joke? They typically use 10-14 watts when seeking (maybe 1.5 times that at startup) so any amount of savings that can be expressed as an integer is a significant savings. 2.5" and 1.8" Laptop drives are also FAR more power efficient than desktop drives, averaging about 2-3 watts during seeks.

    Solid state drives use about a half a watt from the specs sheets I've looked at.
  • by darthflo ( 1095225 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:27AM (#21453225)
    I can't seem to find anything coming from WD mentioning RPM, so the data from some online stores near ("IntelliPower at 5400-7200 RPM) me isn't quite verifiable. According to independent reviews, the drives seem to clock in somewhere between those values, so those might be the theoretical upper and lower limits, respectively.

    Assuming the [Green Power] also shares such a seek time, that leaves us with 15 ms [measured access time] minus 9.5 ms [assumed seek time] which equals 5.5 ms, almost exactly the rotational latency associated with a 5400 RPM spindle speed.
    (from [])

    [I]t's easy to convert [WD's values for average rotational latency] to revolutions per minute, or RPM. 5.6 milliseconds of rotational latency works out to about 5,400 RPM, which just happens to be the low end of the GreenPower's spindle speed range. Western Digital says that's by design; the latency spec it lists in the GreenPower's data sheets is merely an estimate based on the spindle speed range of the drive.
    (from [])

    Aside from those missing values, the drive's power consumption (4W idle, 7.5W read/write) seem pretty nice compared to the rest of the market.
  • by asc99c ( 938635 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:38AM (#21453279)
    How much energy do you believe a hard disc uses ?!?!? I thought a typical 7200 rpm desktop drive uses around 12W at max load. My media server at home currently has 11 hard discs, and is built on an Athlon 64 3000+ platform. The total energy use is 150W, measured through a power meter plugged in at the wall. This was up by 9W when I added the latest 2 500GB SATA2 discs.

    It would be great if the discs could tell they were being asked to read only 1-2MB/sec and just spin at minimal speed that enabled that. The oldest hard discs in my server are rather old and small - I'll have to start replacing them soon rather than adding more. I'll definitely be looking at this range when I need more space.

    I agree 5W isn't much, but it is actually quite a lot for just the hard disc. If every other component of a PC got the same treatment the savings would add up.
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:54PM (#21454663) Homepage

    Drop down lists are hard before coffee, is there any other way to undo a bad moderation with the new system?

    Don't moderate before coffee. In fact, don't do ANYTHING before coffee.

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