Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB Review: Performance, Power, Noise and Conclusion

October 19, 2010 by J.R. Nelson Reads (22,403)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Features
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.83
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance
As with any piece of computer equipment, one of the biggest aspects of its identity is its performance.  For hard drives, that mostly means how fast they can transfer data to and from their surface. These days, anything above 100MB/s sustained sequential read and write speeds is generally considered to be pretty good. 

CrystalDiskMark benchmark results:

Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB

In our testing, the 3TB Western Digital Caviar Green soared past that bar, averaging close to 120MB/s read speeds. As it turns out, it really couldn’t beat Seagate’s own 3TB Barracuda XT in any tests, but that’s no surprise – the Barracuda XT is a 7200RPM higher-performance drive.  

Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB

The Caviar Green comes perilously close in a few aspects as it is, and when WD inevitably releases the high-performance Caviar Black version, it’ll be a fairer comparison.

Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB

IOMeter benchmark test results:

Test series

Read speed (MB/s)
Write speed (MB/s)
Western Digital
CG 3TB 
Seagate
BXT 3TB
Western Digital
CG 3TB 

Seagate
BXT 3TB

1MB random 46.2 60.6 60.3 77.5
1MB sequential 117.4 147.2 117.1 147.1
4K random 0.33 0.39 0.59 0.76

(Ed.: We had a few errors running the IOMeter benchmark suite; as soon as we rerun it, the new numbers will be posted.)

Power and noise
One great aspect of Western Digital’s hard drives – especially the eco-friendlier Caviar Green lineup – is that they are really very quiet drives. The Caviar Green 3TB is just a step above whisper quiet on the scale, and it’s much, much quieter than the alternative Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB.  

In terms of power consumption, the Caviar Green managed to perform admirably here, as well. With a peak startup power draw of just over 12 watts, the average idle power draw was down to just 3.88. Despite adding even more storage space, Western Digital has managed to lower the actual power draws. 

Given that the vast majority of its usable life a hard drive will be sitting at idle, that sub-4W idle power draw is a worthwhile achievement.  Even under active use, the drive just sips two or three extra watts.

Conclusion
Western Digital may not have given the world its first 3TB hard drive, but they’ve certainly given it a good one.  They’ve gone out of their way to make what should for all intents and purposes be a difficult transition into a smooth and easy one.  Most of today’s new computers should be able to use the drive without excess difficulty, and the included (for free, no less) HBA helps to ensure that customers receive a solid experience.

Toss in WD’s solid three-year warranty, exceptional power draws (for an HDD) and the surprisingly low cost – whereas most new WD products, like the 2TB Caviar Green drive, have intro’d at $299.99, the 3TB Caviar Green is just $239.99; that’s $80/TB – and the Caviar Green 3TB is nothing less than a standard for other manufacturers to follow as they inevitably bridge that 2.19TB gap.

Pros:

  • THREE TERABYTES!
  • Low power draw (for an HDD)
  • Affordable
Cons:
  • Support for XP is iffy
  • Requires a few extra hoops


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