As was suggested a long time ago, I have finally gotten to writing the promised review for my HDD. This is my first time reviewing anything like this, or anything for that matter Anyway, I hope you like it... Western Digital has been making hard drives for a while now. They have always been known for their excellent build quality and superior performance. But currently, WD makes some of the best hard drives on the market. I personally favor them, as this is my 2nd Western Digital, and after 5 years, the 1st WD, a 10GB Caviar, is working wonderfully. Although hard drive reliability is purely subjective, everyone has their own experiences on the matter. There is no “best” hard drive manufacturer, IMHO, but WD currently has the fastest drives out. Another factor to consider is that this drive is ATA100. Since ATA133 offers no real performance increase, as no drive today can give out that speed, Western Digital just decided to keep it @ ATA100. The drive came packaged in a pretty colorful WD standard box, with two big stickers announcing it to be 120GB and w/ an 8MB cache. The drive was packaged well with an anti-static bag, and bracers to each side of the drive. WD also has the good sense to package in an IDE cable, mounting screws, a manual, a quick setup poster, and WD’s own proprietary Data Lifeguard software. Setting itself apart from the fodder, the WD1200JB has an 8MB cache, aside from the regular 2MB. The ‘standard’ WD1200BB has only a 2MB cache. Because of this, the SE is pretty much the fastest single IDE drive on the market today. And, at capacities ranging all the way from 80GB to 200GB, it’s also quite roomy. In order to allow for more protection to the sensitive controller card, Western Digital has also inverted the chip found underneath the drive, and placing some soft foam padding in between the bottom and the top of the controller card. A sign of true great build quality. Western Digital has also claimed the Special Edition series of drives can handle up to 200G’s of non-operating shock and 65G’s of operating shock for 2ms. Although I wouldn’t want to test this if I were you For the basics, here are some of the manufacturer-supplied specifications of this drive: Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM (nominal) Buffer Size 8 MB Buffer To Disk 602.0 Mbits/s (Max) Read Seek Time (Average) 8.9 ms Write Seek Time (Average) 10.9 ms (average) Track-To-Track Seek Time 2.0 ms (average) Full Stroke Seek 21.0 ms (average) Average Latency 4.2 ms (nominal) Mode 5 Ultra ATA 100.0 MB/s Mode 4 Ultra ATA 66.6 MB/s Mode 2 Ultra ATA 33.3 MB/s Mode 4 PIO 16.6 MB/s Mode 2 multi-word DMA 16.6 MB/s Cylinders 16,383 Number of Heads (Logical) 16 Number of Heads (Physical) 6 Sectors Per Track 63 Formatted Capacity 120,034 MB Interface EIDE Actuator Type Rotary Voice Coil Number of Platters 3 Bytes Per Sector 512 User Sectors Per Drive 234,441,648 Servo Type Embedded Height (English) 1.028 Inches (Max) Length (English) 5.787 Inches (Max) Width (English) 4.00 Inches (+/- 0.010 inch) Weight (English) 1.32 Pounds (+/- 0.14 pounds) Operating Shock (Read) 65G, 2ms Non-operating Shock 200G, 2 ms Idle Mode 35 dBA (average) Seek Mode 0 39 dBA (average) Seek Mode 3 37 dBA (average) Now about partitioning strategies. I loosely followed Radified’s Partitioning Strategies, with the following configuration: C:/ Windows XP 8GB FAT32 D:/ Swap XP 2GB FAT32 E:/ Games 16.9GB FAT32 F:/ Music 16.9GB FAT32 G:/ Free 23.8GB FAT32 … K:/ Junk 43.8GB NTFS For the 2nd HDD: J:/ Alternative OS 7.53GB L:/ Swap 2.00GB Now for the benchmarks. The testing platform is as showed: Athlon XP 2100+ ASUS A7V8x 512MB PC2700 DDR-SDRAM ATi Radeon 8500 Pro Sound Blaster Audigy MP3+ Western Digital Special Edition 7200RPM 120GB HDD Western Digital Caviar 7200RPM 10GB HDD Seagate Barracuda 5400RPM 20GB HDD Windows XP Home PCMark 2002 Free – Build 100 Higher is better HDD Score – 1155 That’s the highest score I’ve ever seen for a single drive. #1 SiSoftware Sandra 2003 Standard (Test file size: 512MB) Higher is better Drive Index score: 32769 kbps C: - Buffered Read: 87 MB/s Sequential Read: 41 MB/s Random Read: 7 MB/s Buffered Write: 88 MB/s Sequential Write: 40 MB/s Random Write: 13 MB/s Average Access Time : 7 ms (estimated) D: - Buffered Read : 87 MB/s Sequential Read : 47 MB/s Random Read : 8 MB/s Buffered Write : 87 MB/s Sequential Write : 42 MB/s Random Write : 12 MB/s Average Access Time : 7 ms (estimated) E: - Buffered Read : 87 MB/s Sequential Read : 46 MB/s Random Read : 8 MB/s Buffered Write : 88 MB/s Sequential Write : 41 MB/s Random Write : 14 MB/s Average Access Time : 6 ms (estimated) F: - Buffered Read : 87 MB/s Sequential Read : 45 MB/s Random Read : 8 MB/s Buffered Write : 88 MB/s Sequential Write : 40 MB/s Random Write : 14 MB/s Average Access Time : 6 ms (estimated) G: - Buffered Read : 87 MB/s Sequential Read : 33 MB/s Random Read : 8 MB/s Buffered Write : 88 MB/s Sequential Write : 30 MB/s Random Write : 13 MB/s Average Access Time : 6 ms (estimated) K: - Buffered Read : 559 MB/s Sequential Read : 26 MB/s Random Read : 13 MB/s Buffered Write : 19 MB/s Sequential Write : 18 MB/s Random Write : 12 MB/s Average Access Time : 2 ms (estimated) #2 J: - Buffered Read : 54 MB/s Sequential Read : 13 MB/s Random Read : 2467 kB/s Buffered Write : 6 MB/s Sequential Write : 13 MB/s Random Write : 4 MB/s Average Access Time : 21 ms (estimated) L: - Benchmark Breakdown Buffered Read : 54 MB/s Sequential Read : 10 MB/s Random Read : 2089 kB/s Buffered Write : 6 MB/s Sequential Write : 10 MB/s Random Write : 3894 kB/s Average Access Time : 25 ms (estimated) As you can see, performance really differs between the partitions. K: is a completely different file system, and it takes up 1/3 of the drive, so you can’t really compare it to the others. The difference between the 2MB and 8MB WD models are clear: as much as 22 ms. Avg. access time. HD Tach 2.61 WD Special Edition: Bottom pic WD Caviar: Middle pic Seagate Barracuda: Top pic I would like to extend my personal thanks to LNCPapa, for graciously hosting my image From the results, the WD1200JB is one monster of a drive. It's performance is outstanding, it's build quality is exceptional, and the 3 year warranty is also great, not that (I hope) you'd need it. Western Digital has always been known for excellent drives, and the Special Edition only extends that feeling. Western Digital is definitely one of the top hard drive manufacturers. Currently, they just released an external USB2.0 200GB HDD. I would love to review that...but this drive is settling enough. I don't believe there's one thing that I didn't like about this drive. Now that file copies take a significantly shorter amount of time, I can easily mess around with any partitioning strategy I please. And I can store .iso's of pretty much every CD I have (In the Junk partition), just because I'm really paranoid when it comes to losing, scratching, or breaking CD's. Plus I can store my entire music collection...Ah! The possibilities are endless when it comes to high amounts of storage. Knowing some of you may be of the mind to upgrade your HDD's, if I were you I'd get a WD SE. Seriously...this drive is the fastest one out there right now. I was pleased, and I have high expectations when it comes to electronics; I only buy the best.