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Author Topic: Hard drive recommendation?: WD Caviar Green vs. WD Caviar Black  (Read 23793 times)
dwnelson
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« on: January 29, 2012, 09:39:14 PM »
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I'm looking for two 2TB drives to house my Lightroom images. I know the WD Caviar Green is a slower, quieter and cheaper alternative to the WD Caviar Black. The Green only has a 2 yr warranty, while the Black has a 5 yr warranty. The Black costs about $100 more... almost double!

Will I notice that big of a performance hit with Caviar Green vs. Caviar Black? My Lightroom catalog will stay on my internal hard drive.

Any reliability problems with the Caviar Green? Most forums and user reviews like the WD drives...

These drives will be in a RAID 1 array connected via Firewire 800 on a mid-2011 iMac 27" 2.7 GHz quad core i5 (sure would be nice if there was a Thunderbolt RAID enclosure... Pegasus costs >$1000 for the 4x1TB). I know RAID 0 would be faster, but I need redundancy. Smiley

Much appreciated.

Dan
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degrub
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 12:16:49 AM »
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i have seen some report of the WD greens not working well in raid arrays - check this sheet
http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1397
Check the raid box manufacturer compatibility sheet or contact them directly.

As separate hard drives in external boxes or a port replication box - no issues. i use bunches.

Can you use eSATA on that Mac ?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 12:19:03 AM by degrub » Logged
ewanqbl
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 02:12:03 AM »
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I don't know about raid arrays and WD Caviar Green compatibility, but the Greens have less platters, which in term means less searching time, even if it's lower speed.

The black is sure faster, but runs warmer and a hell of a lot more noisy. I, for one, use and older Caviar Green, the EALS ending models, and a friend uses a raid 0 array from two 500gb green ending in EADS. Maybe you should look for these models, if still available. They were based on S-ATA 2. S-ATA3 has no gain on the mechanical hard drives.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 03:54:55 AM »
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I have had 4 WD Black Caviars running in a Raid set-up with a mac pro raid card in my mac pro for the last 18 months without issue. I have another 8 WD Black Caviars running in my Drobo Pro also for around 18 months without issue. All run 24/7.

I have had multiple failures from Seagate prior to switching to WD Black Caviars. That doesn't say anything bad per se about seagate. I was probably just unlucky with a bad batch.

I also have a WD green caviar running on an external drop in case - also without issue.

Black Caviars are basically drives that WD will warrant for longer than Green. Given my image library is the most important thing in my photography it seems a small $ expense to use WD Black Caviars.
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sbay
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 07:45:38 PM »
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For a question like this, what I'd really like to see are statistics on reliability for a large population of green vs black drives. However, I've never seen such data and I suspect that only WD has this information. In term of my own use, I've found that green drives run cooler and of the 10 or so WD drives I've had, the one failing drive is black (about half black/half green). On the other hand the warranty is longer for black drives.

I generally tend toward green drives for my data (because they run cooler) but again I don't have much hard evidence.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 07:47:30 PM by sbay » Logged

Ellis Vener
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 08:13:46 PM »
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I have 12 WD Caviar Green drives running ( 4 each in a pair of Drobo v2 boxes and 4 in a WD ShareSpace RAID 5 array.)  the  oldest 8 are about 2-2.5 years old  and have never given me any problems.
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Ellis Vener
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dwnelson
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2012, 02:19:48 PM »
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Fortunately it appears that a few desktop/consumer edition WD hard drives are compatible with simple RAID arrays (either 0 and 1 in two-bay enclosures, specifically)
http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/996/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xMzI4MDM5Mjk4L3NpZC9GSER4NnlQaw%3D%3D

However, OWC (macsales.com) doesn't recommend using variable RPM drives (like the Caviar Green) in RAID. To quote their tech support: "we have seen during testing that they [variable RPM drives] are generally less reliable in a RAID solution than drives that have a constant RPM, so we don't recommend them." They have seen no issues with the 7200rpm Caviar Black drives in a RAID. The RAID enclosure I want to get is the OWC Mercury Elite Pro RAID 0GB enclosure (OWC SKU: OWCMEPQ936AL2).

For anyone who is interested in a two-bay RAID enclosure, apparently the more expensive NewerTech Guardian MAXimus
0GB (OWC SKU: NWTGM3QKIT0GB) is better because it has indicator lights showing drive activity, while the OWC Mercury Elite Pro RAID 0GB enclosure doesn't have any lights and therefore won't indicate failure of one of the drives.

eSATA is not available on the iMac... I can either open it up and run a SATA cable externally (OWC used to do this on the older models of iMac... not sure about the new ones), or buy a really expensive Thunderbolt to eSATA adapter.  Sad
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degrub
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 09:11:51 PM »
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as long as it is just electrical signalling conversion it shouldn't slow it down much or add latency by using a TB to eSata conversion.  i would want to research just how much of the bandwidth is actually available. What speed of SATA is in the iMac ? Even the original SATA should be faster than firewire 800. Maybe one of the Mac sites has run some tests ?
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John.Murray
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 11:08:53 PM »
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Desktop class drives in a RAID configuration can be problematic.  During a hard error, WD's will attempt recovery of the block for up to 7 seconds, long enough to cause the RAID controller to report a failed disk.  That being said, a lot of people do it....

http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1397/~/difference-between-desktop-edition-and-raid-(enterprise)-edition-drives
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K.C.
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2012, 04:02:43 AM »
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http://www.storagereview.com/
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2012, 09:00:03 AM »
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Thanks for that link K.C. , lots of well presented information and opinions there.  I went a little deeper in the site and found this link: http://www.storagereview.com/best_drives
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Ellis Vener
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jalcocer
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2012, 09:20:20 AM »
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If you are going with raid, then I'll recommend the black, would recommend the blue line but as far as I know they only come up to 1tb in space. I tried green on raid for my self and had a lot of issues, also had reports from some clients with problems with greens on raid, and went straight to black or other brand. Green as an individual drive works great though.
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2012, 08:41:08 PM »
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I've used both green and black drives. At one stage I used green drives to store the working copies of my files, but I switched to 2tb black drives for more speed. These days I use the green drives for backup, for which purpose speed is a non-issue.

The black drives are definitely faster, no doubt about that. As for reliability, I've owned about 8 green drives and have yet to see one fail. I've owned 2 black drives and my second one failed last month after about a year. My experience is of course not a statistically significant test, but I'm mentioning it for what it's worth.
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red2
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2012, 10:25:47 AM »
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I'm looking for two 2TB drives to house my Lightroom images. I know the WD Caviar Green is a slower, quieter and cheaper alternative to the WD Caviar Black. The Green only has a 2 yr warranty, while the Black has a 5 yr warranty. The Black costs about $100 more... almost double!

Will I notice that big of a performance hit with Caviar Green vs. Caviar Black? My Lightroom catalog will stay on my internal hard drive.

Any reliability problems with the Caviar Green? Most forums and user reviews like the WD drives...

These drives will be in a RAID 1 array connected via Firewire 800 on a mid-2011 iMac 27" 2.7 GHz quad core i5 (sure would be nice if there was a Thunderbolt RAID enclosure... Pegasus costs >$1000 for the 4x1TB). I know RAID 0 would be faster, but I need redundancy. Smiley

Much appreciated.

Dan

Here is a comment from Western Digital on drive selection for RAID:
http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1397/p/227%2C283/session/L3RpbWUvMTMyOTc1NDY1Mi9zaWQvNDY4OFBhUms%3D

So you might consider their enterprise level drives (RE, "RAID Edition"). I have two older RE 3 1 TB drives in a RAID 0 array, and they work well. A bit more expensive, however.
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Regards,
Bob D.
schrodingerscat
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2012, 11:34:36 AM »
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Tom's Hardware is a good place to start when researching devices. Here's a review they did of the various WD drives - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/hdd-terabyte-1tb,2077-6.html. While there, check out their article on SSD drives.
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chrismurphy
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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2012, 05:27:38 PM »
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Digging up an oldish thread.

IntelliPower is not variable RPM. It's WDC's way of saying they're not going to tell you what RPM the disk is running at, which will be somewhere between 5400-7200. As far as I know all models so far are either 5400 or 5900 RPM disks, although I don't have a break down which is more common.

Caviar Green and Caviar Black spec sheets say consumer RAID 0 and 1 have been tested and are supported with these drives. Anything else, all bets are off. Business critical RAID, the fine print on the spec sheet says are not recommended or warranted, and the consumer is directed to use enterprise class disks for such applications.

What's probably happening, is as John Murray described on Jan 31st. Consumer WDC drives do not have a feature called TLER enabled, and on at least Caviar green drives it can't be enabled, which allows for the disk to fast recover from disk errors, deferring error correction to a hardware RAID controller instead. When the disk attempts to use ECC to recover from errors, if this doesn't occur within the time the RAID controller expects (seconds) it considers the disk bad, and drops it from the array.

Software RAID 5, 6 as implemented by linux mdadm for example, will defer to the disk and thus isn't going to drop the disk from the array anywhere near as aggressively. Hence why some are having problems, and others aren't, in RAID configurations.

http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-701229.pdf
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