WD unleashes nested actuator and anti-disk tech with two new 7200RPM 2TB models

Subject: Storage | September 1, 2009 - 09:00 AM |
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Today Western Digital announced two new models to their product lines.  Both are 7200 RPM 2TB models.  First is the 2TB Caviar Black, and second is the 2TB RE4.  We previously reviewed the 2TB RE4-GP, a 5400 RPM model.  The RE4 will be the server class version of the consumer-grade Caviar Black, and will incorporate the same enterprise level features such as RAID Time Limited Error Recovery (TLER), pressure sensors, and vibration sensors to enable Enhanced Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFF).  I explained the RE4-specific features in greater detail in my last RE4-GP article.

Western Digital has incorporated some additional bleeding edge tech (into both models) that I have not seen offered or even hinted at by any other manufacturer.  Here are the new bonus features (translated by yours truly):

Dual Stage Actuator:  This is an actuator *within* the actuator.  This additional piezo-electric actuator enables the drive to zero in on a given track faster, and without shifting the actuator arm / entire head pack.  This allows a given head to shift within a 5 track range, meaning very short seeks can take place almost instantly.  This should increase overall throughput and seek times considerably, and in the case of the RE4 will assist in maintaining throughput while the drive is in a vibration-prone environment.



I shall call it "mini-actuator!"



Closer detail of this engineering marvel.

Anti-disks: These are thin plates mounted between all disks, covering ~210 degrees of their rotation.  Their purpose is to help keep air flow streamlined (laminar) across the spinning platter.  This ultimately reduces turbulence and keeps the head flying at a more constant height.



The topmost anti-disk can be seen in this pic.  There is one between each platter.


Both drives ship with a 5-year warranty.  We have a pair of them on the way to our lab and will look at their performance as soon as they arrive.  Stay tuned for the goods...