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Western Digital Black review

Richard Easton
18 Mar 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
177
inc VAT (4TB)

The Western Digital Black provides very strong performance for a mechanical hard disk as well as plenty of storage space for not much cash

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Specifications

Capacity: 500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB, Cost per gigabyte: £0.10 (500GB), £0.06 (1TB), £0.05 (2TB), £0.04 (4TB), Interface: SATA3

The Black range of desktop 3.5in drives is the manufacturer's performance series. Western Digital has simplified the branding of the range, dropping the “Caviar” from the name.

Western Digital has used five 800GB platters to reach 4TB of storage in its top-of-the-range drive. Each drive has 7,200RPM spindle speeds and 64MB cache; some drives, such as Seagate's Desktop HDD, have slower speeds in the higher-capacity models. You do pay a premium for the faster speeds, however, but the Black range still provides good value. It's available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities and, as usual, the large capacities provide the more favourable price per GB. For example, the 4TB drive works out as an inexpensive 4p per GB, while the 500GB model is 10p per GB. We feel the 500GB model isn't worth buying, as the 1TB model is only around £10 more for twice the capacity.

Western Digital sent us the 1TB and 4TB models to test, and there was a fair difference in our file transfer benchmarks. In the large file test, the 4TB model managed 237.2MB/s when writing and 326.7MB/s when reading files, which is exceedingly quick for a mechanical drive. The 1TB drive was slightly slower, with 231.2MB/s and 281.9MB/s respectively, for an overall score of 282MB/s.

In the small-file test the standings were reversed. We saw a small file write speed of 84.8MB/s and read speed of 68MB/s from the 4TB drive, but the 1TB drive performed slightly better in this test, with 91MB/s write and 82MB/s read for an average transfer speed of 86.5MB/s - 10MB/s faster than the larger drive managed.

The Western Digital Black is certainly good value considering its strong performance. However, for those only looking for a secondary mechanical hard disk drive for storing their media and pairing it with an SSD, it might be overkill.

If you’re only planning on using the Western Digital Black to access movies and music as a media drive, you won’t feel the benefits of the additional speed. It then might be worth saving some money and opting for a cheaper hard disk such as Western Digital’s Best Buy-winning Green range instead, which isn't far off for overall speed, and putting the extra money towards an SSD for a system disk.

However, if you need a secondary drive to store data such as 4K video files for editing, the Western Digital Black once again begins to make more sense, especially the 4TB model with its super-fast large file transfer speeds. If this drive doesn't meet your needs then also check out our Best hard drive 2015 buying guide.

Hardware
Capacity500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB
Formatted capacity (NTFS)931.5GB / 3725.9GB
Cost per gigabyte£0.10 (500GB), £0.06 (1TB), £0.05 (2TB), £0.04 (4TB)
InterfaceSATA3
Power connectorN/A
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Cache64MB
Quoted seek timeIntelliSeek
Buying Information
WarrantyFive-year RTB
Prices£51 (500GB), £64 (1TB), £102 (2TB), £177 (4TB)
Supplierwww.ebuyer.com
Detailswww.wdc.com
Part codeWD1003FZEX / WD4003FZEX

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