When WD launched its “XE” enterprise SAS hard drives last fall, it gave its customers an “eXtremely Efficient” option to deploy. At the forefront, their 2.5-inch form-factor allows customers to install them in slim servers, and compared to competing 3.5-inch 15K RPM models, they consume far less power (67% lower, according to the company). Topping it all off, the XE drives can, in some cases, even out-perform those 15K drives where sequential performance is concerned.
While the XE line-up brings a lot to the table, there’s one caveat that has prevented some people from pulling the trigger: that 2.5-inch form-factor. While it’s not uncommon to see 2.5-inch drives supported in many modern servers, there’s no simple solution for those who want to install them in their aging servers – but that’s where WD’s latest product changes things. You guessed it – it’s time to mount up.
You might recall that WD’s VelociRaptor drive (the latest of which we reviewed here) comes in a 3.5-inch form-factor even though the drive itself is 2.5-inches. The reason for the added bulk is for the “IcePack” heatsink, which helps keep that 10K operation from heating things up to a point that’s not desirable. Well, with today’s launch, the XE drives adopt the same measure. While a heatsink like this isn’t entirely necessary for a drive in a server since cooling there tends to be on the extremely efficient side, this does enable WD to sell its XEs to those who need it to be in a 3.5-inch form-factor.
There’s another perk here: retiring that aging database machine? Simply remove the XE from its cooler and then plop it into the new server. WD touts flexibility with this latest launch, and we can see why.
These kits will become available soon, with prices ranging from $229.99 (300GB) to $599.99 (900GB), in US dollars. You can read more about the line-up right here.