WD Black2, analysis

Now that SSDs are on everyone's lips, there are companies trying to maintain their most traditional hard drive business as best they can. In recent years we have seen how these devices are reaching the limit of their possibilities, so it is time to look for alternatives that can keep them alive in the market.

One of them is the so-called hybrid discs, which generally offer a mechanical part and another in flash format. The WD Black2 is one of them, and also one of the most interesting in allowing the performance of an SSD to be combined with the capacity of an HDD. How will this curious mixture behave? This is what we will describe today with this analysis of the Black2, as always with the benchmarks and the performance comparison against other units on the market.

WD's New Hybrid Disc

The idea behind the WD Black2 is not to offer a hybrid that has a small capacity flash to act like cache of the mechanical disk, like the Seagate SSHD, if not propose a double solution in a single device. For practical purposes, WD Black2 is a 120GB SSD and 1TB HDD on a single 2.5-inch-size, 9.5-millimeter-thick disk.

One part will not act as a cache of the other, but we can consider them as two independent units that, in fact, will act as two separate and clearly differentiated partitions. What we will see from the operating system is the same as if we had two different devices.

The installation of the WD Black2 is not trivial, as it is the use of a new mechanical disk or an SSD in any current operating system. The first time we connect Black2 to a PC, it will recognize the SSD partition but not the HDD partition, which will be kept hidden. To view it we will have to install some drivers Specifics provided by Western Digital and available online. Install, restart and go, a somewhat tedious process to which we had already become unaccustomed but which is not a great effort either.

We have already commented that in practice we will have two independent partitions that will allow us to play at our whim. We also said that they are two units in one, and it is that inside the Black2 we will find a WD Blue Slim of 7 millimeters, 5,400 rpm, plus the necessary circuitry to add the part of flash memory that, according to AnandTech's analysis with the respective exploded view, corresponds to a Micron controller that uses its NAND at 20 nanometers.

It is also necessary to note that WD has tried to take care of the packaging and the design of the product, the image facing the user. The device is covered in a fairly eye-catching black metallic layer, and from my beautiful point of view, being sold in a large box that also includes a SATA to USB 3.0 adapter and a 'paper type' USB 3.0 memory, containing direct access to the web and certain utility software, such as Acronis True Image.

Test conditions

A brief description of the test equipment and software used:

  • Mountain GTM 3000, with Intel Core i7-3930K, 16GB RAM DDR3 and Asus Rampage IV Extreme board are some of its specifications.
  • SATA3 connection interface directly to motherboard
  • Operating system Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit.

Benchmarks

For the preparation of this analysis we have used three programs whose use is completely free and free, which can also be found easily on the net:

  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1c
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.47
  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.6.4237.30508

All tests have been run with the default configuration of the application. In addition, we added the screenshots of the results at the end of the entry, in the image gallery along with the photographs of the device.

Sequential reading and writing

CristalMark data in default settings. In MB / s, the more the better.

User ratings for AS SSD Benchmark

Three scores: reading, writing and global. Measured in points, the more the better.

ATTO Disk Benchmark, 256MB in 8MB parts

Measured in MB / s and divided into reading and writing. The more the better.

Access times

Measured in milliseconds and also divided into read and write, obtained using AS SSD Benchmark software. The less the better:

WD Black 2: conclusions

As you can see in the analysis we have differentiated the part SSD of the HDD, since at the end of the day the two partitions are the ones that the system creates on its own. Once again we reiterate that WD Black2 is, for practical purposes, like having an SSD and an HDD in two different devices, but together and occupying a single space.

Therefore, the SSD part behaves 'almost' like a typical SSD. We say that 'almost' because benchmarks show good behavior in sequential reading, but regular in sequential writing or in both tests on ATTO. It is also worth mentioning the terrible reading access time of both parties.

In real use it does show that there is an SSD somewhere on the computer. The performance is significantly higher than that of an HDD, and it shows when we start the system as well as, of course, the loading times of the applications, search and more. However, it should also be mentioned that the set will not be as powerful as many of the current flash storage devices on the market, staying in a 'mid-range' of SSD.

As always, a comparative graph with the prices of the different products that we have tested at the time of each analysis. The analyzed Black2 - and for now the only model available - can be found for around 200 euros in the Spanish market, which taking into account its available 1.12 GB results in the top positions:

The positive is without a doubt that the WD Black2 is the best option to combine capacity and performance in a small space. An almost exclusive laptop product (in desktop, generally, there are no space requirements to use two independent devices) and where it can have its place. It is not the fastest, but it complies.

See complete gallery »WD Black 2, analysis (11 photos)

WD Black2 has been released for testing by Western Digital. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises.

More information | WD

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