Western Digital has announced an update for their entire line of WD Black high-end hard drives. These drives are Western Digital’s highest and fastest offering for consumers. The WD Black line of drives is designed to give consumers the best level of performance with enterprise-class components at a more affordable price point. Obviously, these drives cannot be pushed as hard as their enterprise counterpart the WD RE, but they still carry a 5 year warranty.
Western Digital’s line of WD Black drives prior to the announcement came in capacities ranging from 500 GB up to 4 TB. The drives still come in those capacities, however, the 500 GB variant of their drives simply replaced the old 500 GB variant. Currently, Western Digital offers both the old and new drives since they haven’t cleared out their stock of the older, slower drives. WD has compiled a simple chart with the sequential read speeds of the drives to illustrate the performance differences. WD claims performance improvements of up to 48% on the 4 TB model and 26% on the 1 TB model. Granted, they don’t state where these improvements are made, be it sequential reads or writes, or 512K reads or writes, or even 4K reads or writes, which is usually where hard drives see the most improvements due to already pretty poor performance compared to SSDs.
As you can tell, the drives are almost identical except for the boost in sequential reads as well as the Advanced Format support, which usually translates to improved 4K reads and writes.
Western Digital has also added multiple under-the-hood features that simply make the drive last longer and faster. They added their HRC (High Resolution Controller) which improves the accuracy of the data written as well as the overall speed. They also added their own StableTrac technology which reduces vibration, one of the biggest enemies of hard drives over the long term of their use. This is part of their VCT, which is their vibration control technology, which reduces the amount of vibration of the drive which not only improves the longevity of the drive but also the performance.
Western Digital has made a significant amount of improvements to these drives using all of the new technologies they’ve released in their other drives over the course of the year. This update seems like a pretty significant one and I’d expect these drives to show up on shelves once WD sells out of their old SKUs. Currently, on Newegg, the old model is on sale for $289.99. I’d expect the new version to sell for the same price as the old model, at $299.99, and if WD doesn’t sell out of the old version quickly enough, I’d expect to see some pretty good 4 TB and 3 TB Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from Western Digital and their partners.