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Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
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by William Kelley on December 23, 2009 in Hard Drives

Kicking off our hard drive coverage begins with a look at Western Digital’s Caviar Black 1TB. As an affordable “high-end” consumer drive, this model includes all of the important features, and performs quite well throughout all of our tests. It also happens to win the contest for having the lowest overall acoustic levels, and by a fair margin.

Synthetic: PCMark Vantage

There are few PC enthusiasts who are unfamiliar with the name “Futuremark”, as the Finland-based developer has been producing quality benchmarks to help us gauge our computer’s worth for years. Originally known as Madonion, Futuremark has expanded its focus to go beyond its bread and butter, graphics and gaming, and tackle other areas, such as full system performance. That’s where PCMark comes into play.

The company’s most recent addition to the PCMark family is Vantage. For most users, a full suite would be run, but because we’re focused on storage performance only, we instead run only the HDD-specific tests. Fortunately, Futuremark makes this easy for us to do as it has split up the entire suite into seven separate sub-tests, one being the aptly named “HDD Suite”.

PCMark’s HDD Suite may look simple on the surface, but it’s actually quite exhaustive. While the benchmark does deliver a simple “overall” result, it actually tests I/O performance based on a variety of scenarios, from adding music to Windows Media Player, to loading applications in succession, to editing video, to running a malware scanner, and more. It even includes metrics to evaluate a simulated Windows Vista boot time, so Futuremark has done a fine job of combining many useful scenarios into a single button press.

The Caviar Black did quite well against the competition here, showing its ability to run repeatedly in the middle of the pack, in 7 out of our 9 tests. In addition, while the drive competes nicely with its direct competition, it even manages to near levels of the faster models in a few of the categories.