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Western Digital Black2 Dual Drive Full Review - 120GB SSD + 1TB HDD in a single 2.5" package

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Combined Tests - PCMark Vantage

Figuring many would weigh the Black2 against the hybrid offerings from Seagate, I shamelessly stole the chart from my previous hybrid storage review and adapted it for comparing the Black2 along with some newer SSD results thrown in for good fun:

View Full Size

The SSD portion of the Black2 performs very well when compared to other modern SSD solutions. More impressive is that it clearly dominates the cached performance of the Seagate SSHD. The HDD portion does perform a bit lower, but that is to be expected as it's a lower power solution than Seagate went with.

December 9, 2013 | 08:13 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Won't work properly in that config as the PS4 partitions the drive in a way that is not aware of the SSD / HDD border.

December 3, 2013 | 03:41 PM - Posted by Voiq (not verified)

Very interesting article and comment replies Allyn.
I have some questions.. 

My laptop is a Sony Vaio AW11Z/B with 2 x 320 GB 5400 RPM Serial ATA HDD.

I work with relatively large files (in Photoshop / Illustrator, etc) what do you recomend for speed improvement and storage space also, at an affordible price? 

How do I have to configure my OS, where should I install Windows, my aditional software (Photoshop / Illustrator) and where should I put the temporary files that the software uses (on what HDD or partition).

Do you recommend this WD Black2 Dual HDD? Should I wait for more variations? Should I wait for the SSD prices to drop? I can also make use or replace my second HDD.. What's your best solution also (non-affordable)?

Thank you.

December 9, 2013 | 08:12 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

You have a dual bay system. Are your drives currently in RAID?

For that particular setup, I'd either go single SSD and single HDD or if you really wanted it to scream, get a matched pair of SSDs and run them in RAID-0. That said, if you can live with a slightly smaller capacity, even a single 500GB SSD is going to run circles around the HDDs you're currently using, and be comparable in cost to the Black2. The catch is that you'd have half the capacity of the Black2, but given your current config, that may be liveable for you.

December 4, 2013 | 03:27 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So...if you go black , you will go back.

February 20, 2014 | 11:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have issues with WD Black - disk driver takes extrta 2 GB of RAM after system startup. I have been dealing with Western Digital support for weeks now, with no effects so far.

I know that some people broke their WD Blacks when they tried to install system on SSD part (which should be disabled with special program, before system is installed). SSD in this hybrid is for caching purposes only, and has to be disabled before system installation, what is quite bizzare solution.

I cannot recommend WD Black.

March 2, 2014 | 10:39 AM - Posted by mae (not verified)

I accidentally deleted 2 partitions namely SSD and HDD. Now I have got one big “messy” partition in a size of 1.1 T+. But I would like to re-partition it back to two original partitions (SSD and HDD) as factory settings. Please help! And Thanks in advance!

April 12, 2014 | 02:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Got the same exact problem! One giant partition of 1043.4GB No idea how to install this or how to reset it...

May 21, 2014 | 06:22 PM - Posted by Weaver (not verified)

I have only had mine for a couple hours and ran into this problem. Has anyone figured out how to get the drive separate again or at least get the software to turn off the 1 tb for the computer can only see the ssd

May 21, 2014 | 06:23 PM - Posted by Weaver (not verified)

I have only had mine for a couple hours and ran into this problem. Has anyone figured out how to get the drive separate again or at least get the software to turn off the 1 tb for the computer can only see the ssd

May 20, 2014 | 08:41 PM - Posted by Raj (not verified)

Hi,
Is it possible i can use this in Macbook Pro Retina display ??
Please reply.

June 10, 2014 | 06:16 AM - Posted by clinton (not verified)

Hi Guys

Does anyone know if this is mac compatible. I have a 2011 17" MacBook Pro.

thanks

July 23, 2014 | 01:00 PM - Posted by spcarrozzo (not verified)

Manual indicates compatibility:

Windows 8.1/8/7/Vista
Windows XP(32-bit)

I think you could enable the second partition on windows, delete the partitions and repartition on a mac, just like it was described for a linux before. But not sure.

December 13, 2014 | 03:16 PM - Posted by Rob (not verified)

Wow, I may visit you more often. Hope ur still answering fan posts. This is an excellent review, but MORE so the tech discussions which cover the varied setups on laptops (my interest).

REQUEST FOR HELP - Compare Black2 with swapping current 750GB HDD into DVD-based caddy and add internal SSD.

Have Dell N5110, single 750GB HD, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. Even in sleep mode, takes like 3+ minutes to 'wake up' and connect to Internet. Restart even worse.

SCENARIOS

1. My present thought "was" get internal SSD, then put 750GB into DVD-based caddy. IT appears 256GB SSD safest in terms of OS "space" route, but then WHICH SSD (reliability, bang for buck)? Also, what caddy will work with my Dell N5110?

If I put the 750GB HDD in a caddy / DVD slot, THEN the POWER is always on, right? Thus the HEAT goes UP in the laptop? Does the Black2 produce MORE heat than the standard HDD?

2. Are YOU using the Black2 hybrid? It is one step easier to use the hybrid (no DVD bay mod), and I get even more storage. As I've never had SSD, even the "slower" Black2 write speed will seem like lightning compared to my present startup speed, I think.

Lastly, I'll note the Dell runs very well as is, ONCE up and running. Thus any purchase is convenience for me, not necessity. I'm often using it for browsing so keep comparing to spending money on a tablet (the new-wave of convenience).

December 13, 2014 | 03:33 PM - Posted by Rob (not verified)

Ok, after reading the full article, I'd say for my 'these days' passive laptop use, often sleep on/off like a tablet... BUT I still want my 750GB (current) storage...

The Black2 looks very attractive, and I've used their 5-year warranty long ago with no issues. It's hard to beat.

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