When only 4TB will do

Subject: Storage | April 9, 2013 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wd black, hdd, 4TB

SSDs may be the speed kings but when you need a lot of storage space they quickly become quite expensive which is where the new WD Black 4TB HDD shines as it is only $85 $300.  It spins at 7200RPM and has a 64MB cache which ought to make it a bit faster than other high density HDDs which are on the market though the 800GB platters could slow that expected performance somewhat.  It also comes with a 5 year warranty which is much better than the usual 2 year warranty many companies have adopted as standard for their platter based drives.  Check out the full review at The Tech Report.

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"Western Digital's Black 4TB the only desktop hard drive to combine that top-of-the-line capacity with a 7,200-RPM spindle speed and five years of warranty coverage. We take a closer look."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Double your drive density with HGST's special new offer

Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2013 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: hgst, hard drives, western digital

HGST, the recently purchased research division at Western Digital is promising to double the density of platter drives over the next few years, enhancing the longevity of a storage media that many already consider obsolete.  However, like tape and optical media there continue to be many scenarios where inexpensive high density storage is more useful than the speed offered by an SSD.  Using a combination of self-assembling molecules and nanoimprinting they are hitting a density of 1.2 trillion bits per square inch, not quite the density of the salted drives we heard about in 2011 but perhaps much closer to market.  Each of those dots is 10nm in size and because of the self assembling nature of the pattern HGST told The Register that they expect to be able to shrink the size of those dots even more as their process matures.

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"HGST, the Western Digital subsidiary formerly known as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, says it has developed a method of manufacturing hard-disk platters using nanotechnology that could double the density of today's hard drives."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Western Digital’s WD TV Play Brings Steaming Media to Your Television For Under $100

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2013 - 12:26 AM |
Tagged: western digital, streaming box, media player, DLNA

Western Digital may primarily be a hard drive manufacturer, but it also dabbles in media streaming boxes. Last week, a new product called the WD TV Play joined the existing lineup as a cheaper alternative to both the WD TV Live and Live Hub boxes.

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The WD TV Play measures 4.17” x 4.13” x 1.07” and is black with a blue outline. Unlike the other streaming boxes, the Play ditches the rectangular shape for one that resembles a trapezoid (where the base is wider than the top). The WD TV Play has support for a number of streaming media services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, Spotify, and Pandora. Notably absent is Amazon Video on Demand and Vudu, but otherwise it is a decent lineup of the popular internet media sources.

Additionally, the WD TV Play can playback local media from a flash drive or from a DLNA server. It support a variety of video and audio formats, but unlike the more expensive WD TV Live it does not support MPEG-2 or DTS Audio. That is the necessary compromise in order to get an approximately $20 cheaper device.

Media Type Supported File Formats
Video AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG4, VC-1), MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T/M2TS (MPEG4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, AVC), WMV9, FLV (AVC)
Photo JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
Audio MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby TrueHD
Playlist PLS, M3U, WPL, M3U8, XML, CUE
Subtitle SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI, MKV (embedded sub)

Rear IO on the WD TV Play includes a composite video output, HDMI, Ethernet jack, and Optical audio output. The media player reportedly also supports Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port for loading up media files. It comes with an infrared remote control, but you can also download the WD TV app to your smartphone and control the box using your phone's touchscreen.

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In fact, the new case design and removal of certain codecs are the only real differences between the new Play and existing Live streaming box. The WD TV Play has an MSRP of $69.99 USD. For comparison, the WD TV Live is $99.99. If you do not need MPEG-2 or DTS audio, the Play can easily save you a few bucks.

More information can be found on the WD TV Play product page.

CES 2013: Western Digital thin 5mm and 7mm hard drives now also come in hybrid SSHD!

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 10:03 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, western digital, wdc, sshd, hybrid, 5mm, 7mm

Today Western Digital showed me their new 5mm and 7mm mobile hard drives. These are very thin, intended for Ultrabooks, and come not only in the familiar Blue product line, but also in a new Solid State Hard Drive (SSHD). The new thin hybrid models are dubbed WD Black. The 5mm Blue and Black will be available in 500GB capacities:

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Adding another 500GB to reach a 1TB capacity point requires another platter, and therefore another 2mm, bringing the 1TB Blue and Black to 7mm:

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The WD Black SSHD will come with either 16 ot 24GB of flash memory cache (varying based on OEM configuration / request). More to follow on these once we can get some hours logged on their new models.

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Western Digital releases 4TB Black series HDD

Subject: Storage | November 20, 2012 - 10:35 AM |
Tagged: WD, western digital, Black, 4TB, hdd

Today Western Digital announced their new 4TB Black Series HDD. This new drive boasts some features normally reserved for their RE (enterprise) series drives, such as dual processors and dual stage actuator tech. This 7200 RPM unit comes with the now standard 64MB cache and SATA 6Gb/sec interface. We will be reviewing a sample upon its arrival, but I suspect performance will be close to the RE series, albeit without the additional enterprise-specific features.

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The 4TB Black kicks off at an MSRP of $339. Hopefully we see some 4TB Greens and Reds out of Western Digital shortly - as those should be at a lower cost and be more suited to the typical mass-storage applications of such a high capacity drive.

Press blast after the break:

Western Digital gets a temporary reprieve from a $600 million fine

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2012 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: western digital, Seagate, Lawsuit

A court settlement against Western Digital has been partly overturned, which means that they won't have to pay the $630 million fine to Seagate for misuse of confidential information.  They are not totally off the hook however as the judge only overturned 5 of the 8 charges, leaving 3 still outstanding.  Those three could well cost more than the amount they were just let off the hook for and even a storage giant like WD is going to notice a half billion dollar fine.  The Register is keeping an eye on this story, we will find out more in 2 weeks when the hearings resume.

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"Western Digital is off the hook for a cool $630m in an arbitration case it initially lost over the alleged misuse of Seagate's confidential information, including trade secrets.

Back last year, Seagate complained about the activities of WD and a former Seagate employee who had joined WD, alleging that WD was using Seagate trade secrets and other confidential information in its activities. The dispute went to an arbitration court, which awarded Seagate $525m in damages in November 2011."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register
Subject: Storage

Introduction and Internals

Introduction:

The Western Digital RAID Edition line of hard drives has been around for some time now, and has largely impressed us with each subsequent release. Since the launches of the RE4-GP and later, the faster spinning RE4, WD's enterprise line had been capped at the 2TB mark. Now that has changed with the introduction of a new line: simply named the RE Series:

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Yup, that's right. 4 TeraBytes! With the Green and Red series capped at 3TB, this new RE is the largest capacity drive available from Western Digital. The catch is that, since it's tailored and built for enterprise use, it comes at a rather hefty price premium.

Read on for the full review!

Western Digital launches 4TB RE Series in both SATA and SAS flavors

Subject: Storage | September 27, 2012 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, RE, RAID Edition, raid

Today Western Digital announced a new line of RAID Edition (RE) drives. While the WD RE series is not new, preceded by the RE4-GP and faster spinning RE4, it was certainly overdue for an update.

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This update brings the maximum capacity to 4TB and includes a SAS line as well. SATA connectivity will be 6Gb/sec, while SAS will employ dual port full duplex connectivity for the higher end enterprise sector. These drives appear to use the same platter capacity scheme employed by the recent WD Red Series, though the PR blast states 800GB/platter. I'm awaiting clarification on that point, as the math doesn't seem to work out evenly. Pricing is at a premium for these models, as they are intended for enterprise use. Mid to high $400's for SATA and SAS. Pricey, but still 1/10th of current good deals on SSDs.

Press blast (and detailed pricing) after the break!

HGST Working With Helium To Inflate Hard Drive Capacities

Subject: Storage | September 19, 2012 - 11:27 AM |
Tagged: western digital, WD, patter density, hitachi, hgst, helium, Hard Drive, 6tb

Western Digital-owned Hitachi Global Storage (HGST) recently announced that it is pursuing the mass production of helium-filled hard drives. The culmination of six-plus years of research and development, Hitachi’s engineers have come up with a workable solution to craft a sealed enclosure to contain the helium and internal drive hardware over the long term and in a way that can be mass produced. While the company is not ready to talk specifics or announce individual products, HGST (Western Digital) is going on record in stating that its helium-filled “hard drive platform” will offer up performance, power efficiency, and capacity improvements in a 3.5" form factor (with up to seven platters) sometime in 2013.

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Don't try this at home folks, it won't actually work :).

The current crop of hard drives have small holes on the top to allow air pressure equalization, as the drives are not a fully-sealed design (and is why dunking them in oil is a bad idea). The proposed helium-filled hard drives would change that design, by being fully sealed from the outside environment after being filled with the noble gas. Steve Campbell, CTO at HGST stated the following in the company's press release:

 “The benefits of operating a HDD with helium fill have been known for a long time. The breakthrough is in the product and process design, which seals the helium inside the HDD enclosure cost effectively in high-volume manufacturing,”

But why exactly is helium better for hard drives? In short, the gas is one-seventh (1/7) as dense as the air around us. This reduction in density allows for the platters to spin faster, or at the same spindle speeds at today's drives while experiencing less resistance and turbulance from versus an air-filled hard drive. Thanks to the reduced drag force, Hitachi can pack the platters closer together, which means that it can place more platters into the 3.5" hard drive form factor than ever before – up to seven with the current design. Further, the motor does not have to work as hard to drive the platters which results in quieter operation and more power savings. HGST also claims that using helium allows for better thermal conductivity, and allows the helium-filled hard drives to run up to 4°C cooler than an equivalently-configured air-equalized drive. Granted, 4°C is not that much of an improvement when looking at a single drive (or even a few in a desktop system), but it can add up to some decent cooling savings when these drives are utilized in datacenters.

Hitachi Global Storage does not yet have any specific products to announce publicly, but the company did offer up a few performance numbers that certainly seem promising – an in line with the company's goal of reducing the "total cost of ownership," or TCO. In addition tot he temperature improvements, the company claims up to 23% power reduction versus air. And when HGST factors in its seven-platter design, they have managed to bring the Watts-per-Terabyte (W/TB) 45% versus current drives. Assuming the helium-aided hard drives use the same (or more) amount of platter area as the company's previous drives, Hitachi/Western Digital could offer up to 7TB hard drives when combined with the company's 1TB per platter areal density improvements.

It has the potential to get even better, however. Should the engineers be able to integrate Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) – similar to what Seagate is pursuing – helium hard drives could offer up approximately 85TB 3.5" drives thanks to the additional two platters. Previously, Seagate envisioned up to 60TB HAMR hard drives in the 3.5" form factor. Those numbers are fairly far off in the future (and theoretical), however. On the other hand, Seagate believes that 6TB HAMR hard drives are reasonably close to public consumption, and if a HAMR drive could also benefit from the extra platters, potential spindle speed improvements, and power savings of using helium, I think 8TB+ is not out of the question while using less power than a traditional air-equalized (not sealed) 6TB HAMR-equipped hard drive.

Extremetech does bring up an interestng point about pricing, though. Mainly that helium is much more expensive than simply using the air around us! And as it is used up, it will only get more expensive, which are likely costs that will be passed onto consumers. Fortunately, it should not be too much of a premium that customers would have to pay (over a traditional hard drive) because a 3.5" hard drive will need only a small amount of the helium gas to realize the benefits, according to PC Perspective's resident storage guru Allyn Malventano.

What do you think about the prospects of a heluim-filled hard drive? Will we see such devices within our lifetimes, and just how much will these things cost? I suppose we'll have to wait until next year to find out!

Source: HGST

IDF 2012: Western Digital shows off 5mm Hybrid HDD

Subject: Storage | September 12, 2012 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: idf, idf 2012, western digital, wdc, 5mm, hybrid hdd

At the Technology Showcase yesterday during IDF I got see in person the new Western Digital hybrid hard drives that will combine a single platter spinning disk with a NAND flash for a hybrid solution at under 5mm thick.

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You can see that is barely enough z-height for a standard installation screw and this will really help get larger amounts of storage into thinner devices.  WD will have it available in 500GB and 1TB versions though the 1TB model will come in a slightly higher 7mm variety. 

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The WD Blue models will be spinning disk only while the WD Black will combine as much as 32GB of flash memory but it could vary based on the specific OEM request and considerations. 

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Another requirement of this new form factor is the need for a new connector, conveniently named SFF-8038, that handles both power and data. 

We are still waiting for pricing information, but another wave of hybrid technology looks to be on its way!