back to article WD Caviar Black 1TB vs Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB

Western Digital offers its Caviar desktop drives in three varieties that are identified by a handy system of colour coding. Caviar Green is cool, quiet, eco-friendly and - to be frank - lacking in performance. In the mid-range, we have Caviar Blue, which offers performance and reliability with up to 16MB of cache and a maximum …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >Quiet, cheap, very fast and ridiculously capacious - what more do you need?


  2. Colin Millar

    Bugger bugger bugger

    Just when I thought I had chosen a great new drive (spinpoint F1) along come two more.

    For an HTPC so probably not the WD

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Damn Lies and Statsitics?

    Data Copy Results: Drive-to-Drive 2GB Transfer


    From Seagate to Caviar = 27.9 seconds


    To Caviar From Seagate = 25.4 Seconds

    Likewise with all the 'equal and opposite' tests...

    from where I'm standing someone has made a booboo!

  4. Parax

    ...with drives like the 1.4TB Barracuda...

    Nice to see some honesty...

    Shame on the manufactures, shameless marketing will get you a reputation... shame they all share it...

  5. Paul


    With a five year warranty its quite clear that WD stands by their product. You don't say what the warranty on the Seagate unit is. If its only a year, should I have faith in the reliability of this drive? Capacity is NOT everything.

  6. Joe K

    Yeah whats the Time To Failure stats?

    Reliability is what counts here more than a few seconds in copying a file.

    1.4TB is a shitload of data to lose, and you probably have to buy 2 of them to RAID the buggers.

  7. Andy Nugent

    RE: Damn Lies and Statsitics?

    Would that not suggest that there is a difference in the read / write speeds of the 2 drives, in that either the Caviar has a faster write speed or the Seagate has a faster read speed?

  8. Thomas Jolliffe
    Black Helicopters

    Interesting that..

    ...this goes against numerous other reviews of the new Barracuda. Capacity-wise, it's the daddy, but other than that it's disappointing.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Fuzzy terrabytes

    The wording of the formatted capacity is a bit fuzzy. To clarify, it is not formatting that results in a loss of ~100GB of space, (meaning the OS used to format is irrelevant), rather it is the fact that all HD manufacturers (as Parax pointed out above) lie about the capacity. 1TB to them = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes. 1TB to the OS = 1,099,511,627,776.

    Of course the latter figure above is actually 1TiB, not 1TB, but the confusion is caused because Windows and other OSes refer to drive capacity and file size in MB, GB, and TB, but they *actually* mean MiB, GiB, and TiB.

    So their 1.5TB = 1396.9838619232177734375 TiB.

    Alien, because these measurements are alien to a lot of people.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Large Drives

    I'm more worried about the heat these generate under load and their overall reliability. A five-year warranty is nice, but there is no effective way to back this up without a duplicate harddrive (raid or otherwise)

    Are you sure the vista load times weren't days?

  11. Nigel
    Thumb Up

    Barracuda 8200.11 warranty is 5 years

  12. Will

    RE: Warranty

    SG provides a 5 year warranty on all products, regardless of user type or geographical location. "Instaswap" is available from Seagate retailers (if you purchased it from there) if you verify the fault with SeaTools.

    Seagate provides a new 5 year warranty on all units they RMA. As the warranty is from MANU date and the high turnover of stock it's usualy close to this date. If for whatever reason it's not you can just use the original RMA from the Seagate website and your reception date as the new warranty period.

  13. Kradorex Xeron


    Western Digital drives are more dependable in the longterm - Sure, you may get more performance and capacity out of the Seagate, but the WD I bet you will last far longer. Ever since about 2001-2003, Seagate drives have gone downhill in quality in the longterm. They operate exceedingly well when you first get them, but I've seen Seagate disks fail. just *FAIL* for no clear reason. When replaced with a WD in the same operating conditions, the WD lasted far longer.

  14. Scott Mckenzie

    Great Service from Seagate

    I've always had the above... including replacing a drive that was 6 years old (a 40Gb one) with one that was twice the capacity....

    I'll be getting a 1.5Tb to replace in my Apple Time Capsule!

  15. Leo Waldock

    more from Leo

    In the transfer tests from one drive to another the first drive is the C: drive that is running Vista. The second drive listed is a data drive/Slave/euphemism of choice.

    MTBF is something that I cannot test and neither can I verify the manufacturers' figures. To the best of my recollection every drive manufacturer has had a dodgy patch when drives fail horribly. They have all had problems and have all come through them and I would be loath to recommend one make over another. Wimpish I know but if your photos and music go up in smoke after two or three years do you much care about getting the purchase price of the drive refunded?

  16. Max Vernon


    1) Capacity is mentioned in decimal sizes by hard drive manufacturers in order to up the apparent spec without adding additional cost.

    Operating Systems count sizes in binary amounts, 1000 bytes is of no use in a binary counting system, whereas 1024 is much easier to use in binary. 1KB = 2^10 or 1,024 bytes, 1MB = 2^20 or 1,048,576 bytes, 1GB = 2^30 or 1,073,741,824, 1TB = 2^40 or 1,099,511,627,776 bytes, and finally 1.5GB in binary is 2^40 + 2^39 or 1,649,267,441,664 bytes, which when abbreviated into human readable form looks like 1,649GB or 1.6TB for short. Of course, HDD manufacturers should use the binary capacities as the listed capacities but they don't since selling to chavs always reduces to the lowest common denominator of understanding. They use the decimal capacity since it looks like you get more for your money.

    2) Reliability is a factor of many things. Quoting the MTBF of hardware is (for me) useless since WTF does 1,200,000 hours mean time to failure mean??? Come on, that's like 120 years! As if! Reliability can in no way shape or form be predicted accurately for an individual component much less an individual drive. Over the years (I bought my first HDD in 1986) I've had varying degrees of success with Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Samsung, Hitachi, Connor, IBM, Quantum, and the god-awful Fujitsu. I can honestly say by far the most important item for maintaining a reliable drive is to make sure it never runs hot. If it does, it WILL fail, and usually pretty quickly. If a standard desktop drive runs in a 20°C ambient environment, is kept stable, and not subjected to undue physical stress, it will last (and I have drives to prove it, from various manufacturers) at least 5 to 8 years if not substantially longer. Just for your edification all drives I currently use are never turned off, they run without power management 24x7x365. Perhaps the absence of in-rush current stress is giving me a better experience. Also, I best mention I will probably now suffer a bunch of sudden failures simply because I wrote this comment.

    As an aside, I can't wait for SSDs to become mainstream since that will seriously increase reliability, performance, power efficiency and will reduce noise pollution (ever heard an SSD? I thought not).

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Meaningless pence per gig prices

    Whilst the pence per gig price gives some indication of disk cost, it's not really a useful figure is it? If I'm building a NAS for home I'm only going to have 2-4 slots available and I'm going to want the biggest drives I can get in there. Even in a PC, how many (l)users "get" the concept of a D: drive to store their data? That means I still want big big big every time.

    (Mine's the one with the Drobo full of mismatched drives in the pocket)

  18. Nigel

    Every disk drive is a prototype

    It's a fact of life that every disk drive one buys is still a prototype with respect to proving its reliability. By the time it's been around for the five-plus years necessary to prove that it doesn't accidentally contain any component or technology with unfortunate ageing characteristics, it'll be obsolete!

    The manufacturers do what they can with accelerated ageing tests (running in high temperatures, low temperatures, rapid temperature changes, vibrating enclosures), but they can't accelerate real time. So they have to extrapolate from the known characteristics of five-year-old products, and stand by their product with a long warranty.

    BTW not all Seagates (and not all WDs) have a five-year Warranty. You have to check by model. And beware if you run RAID-5 arrays: if one drive fails, replace it fast, because it can be a sign that the others (all from the same batch) are also about to expire.

  19. foo_bar_baz
    Thumb Down

    7200.11 4 real?

    Never again. I've 3 failed Maxtor 7200.xx drives at home. Two were in a RAID1 array and died simultaneously. I went for Samsung after reading up at

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Seagate 1.5TB drives are bugged!

    I bought 8 of them, to go into 2 Drobo units.

    All 4 drives failed in the first Drobo... I called Data Robotics and heard the support guy mention that they'd removed this drive from their compatibility list (they were on it when I ordered!).. After doing some googling.. I discovered the horror stories.. These drives are falling over left right and centre, with an apparent problem flushing it's 32mb cache.. the drive freezes...

    I started to backup my work onto the 2nd Drobo unit, with identical drives, and that's failed again today - just locked up after about 30 minutes of writing...

    8 faulty drives...

    Drobo, Netgear, and other manufacturers are removing this drive from their compatibility list until Seagate fixes the problem.. great capacity, but flaky and unreliable.

  21. fishman

    1TB drives

    Over at Newegg, the 1+ TB drive that has the best buyer reviews is the WD caviar black drive. I bought one just over a week ago for home, and I don't notice any additional noise,

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