So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Western Digital RE2 GreenPower (WD1000FYPS)
- Consumes less energy than most 1TB hard drives, five-year warranty
- It's slightly slower than other 1TB hard drives
Energy consumption should be at the forefront of our minds, especially when it comes to computing, and Western Digital's RE2 GreenPower consumes less power than most 1TB hard drives on the market. It's not the fastest drive, but it's also not a slouch, so it's suitable for everyday PCs, media centres and even high-end machines.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The main aim of Western Digital's GreenPower line-up of drives, is to reduce power consumption. Not only for mid-range capacities, but also high-end, and not only for standard drives, but also for RAID Edition drives. This might seem to be a hard thing to do – indeed, how do you cut down on energy consumption without compromising the drive's performance – but Western Digital has accomplished it without producing a slouch.
Physically, the 1TB RE2 GreenPower drive has four internal platters and employs perpendicular magnetic recording. It's a Serial ATA drive with a 3Gbps interface speed and a 16MB buffer. Its spin speed is a mystery and Western Digital just states that it uses IntelliPower, which is a feature that controls the speed to optimise its power consumption. It's aimed at environments where many drives are required, such as data centres, but users who want to build a high-end machine or a media centre PC will also find it to be a useful option.
The RAID Edition drives are optimised to run in RAID configurations, as they employ technology that improves the handling of error checking, but also because they barely exhibit any vibration. Our 1TB model barely vibrated or made a sound while it was running. From spin-up, and while it was conducting seek operations, the drive almost felt like it wasn't even switched on. This is a welcomed trait for any system that will house two or more of these drives.
Other welcomed traits are the drive's practically silent running and relatively cool operation. After two hours of continuous file transfers, the drive's surface warmed up to 34.5 degrees Celsius, which means it won't get too hot to touch. In a case with proper ventilation and cooling, the drive's surface temperature will be kept even lower. As for noise, all we heard were faint ticks when the drive was performing seek operations.
The cool, silent and vibration-less running can be attributed to a slower than usual spin speed, and the slower than usual spin speed (as well as optimised algorithms for controlling the heads) also contributes towards the drive's power efficiency. Compared to the last GreenPower drive we saw (the Caviar GP), the RE2 consumed even less power overall. While idle, we measured its power consumption as 3.47W, which is a 0.19W improvement. The 12V line, which drives the motor, consumed 3.12W, and this is 0.12W improvement. At full load, while copying data from one location on the drive to another, it consumed 7.62W, and this is even lower than the 10.1W that Western Digital claims it will consume.
Despite the reduction in power consumption, speed hasn't been compromised. The drive recorded a rate of 68.62MBps in our write test, and 69.30MBps in our read test. These are both faster than what the Caviar GreenPower drive mustered, but still a little slower than what 1TB drives from Hitachi and Seagate have produced. It was also much better than the Caviar when transferring data from one location on the drive to another, as it recorded an average of 28.68MBps.
As it stands, the RE2 GreenPower is among the quietest, coolest and least-vibrating drives on the market, and its performance isn't bad either. Coupled with the lower-than-usual power consumption for a 1TB drive, and a five-year warranty, we think this drive is a good option for anyone who wants to build a multi-drive high-end system or a lounge-dwelling media centre PC. With a formatted capacity of 931GB, and a retail price of $499, its cost per formatted gigabyte of 54 cents represents good value.
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