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391 of 428 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2012
BACKGROUND:

Here's a little background on my WD drive experience, to provide context for the review. For my particular usage and review of this specific product, hop further down.

My previous experience with other WD drives have been anywhere between 100 and 500gb drives, typically the WD Caviar Black or Caviar Blue series which are stout (Black being preferred). To date I still use a 250gb Black model which is almost 10 years old and has been in very harsh conditions, ranging from 0*-130* Fahrenheit sustained ambient temperatures, and has been submitted to multiple shocks and shaking around while in use. Needless to say, it's a proven performer and a very solid platform.

Enter the Green drive era.

The WD Green drives boast lower operating temperatures and of being quieter, which they accomplish by on-the-fly adjustment of the RPM of the spindles, which uses less power and produces less heat or noise in the process. Essentially these perform no faster than 5400rpm (some have suggested 5900), rather than 7200rpm, and they will cycle off or go into a low power state at various times.

Some might wonder why such a large drive with "environmental" features, can be so inexpensive compared to the Blue or Black series drives of the same (or less) size. Basically it boils down to reliability. Do your research on the WD Green drives on a lot of tech sites and you'll find that the first generation units had lots of issues because of their "green" features. For example, my experience below

This is my 4th WD Green drive of large capacity, the previous three being 1TB units and first generation. Two of the previous three are also dead, I might add. These 3 previous drives were purchased back in 2010. The first one to die, did so within about a week of use.

It started having issues with it not wanting to come out of its powered-down mode, and shortly thereafter I started hearing the deadly "click.... click..." noise, indicating a head crash. The drive was unusable, and I later verified that the heads did in fact have a physical failure. I took the drive apart and found that when going into a low-power cycle the heads parked themselves too harshly or somehow went too far past the head park zone, so several of them got caught on the plastic locking lane. As soon as the arm tried landing on the platters, it ripped several of the heads off and scratched the platters.

The other drive, it's replacement and same exact model, died within about a month. Not a head crash, but was having intermittent spindle issues with not wanting to properly spin.

The third drive I've had ever since, and haven't had any major issues with it, but on a couple of occasions in the past year it has randomly powered down of its own accord (hard power down), and I lost some data.

HDD RPM SPEED 5400 or 7200:

If you're wondering which is better: 5400 or 7200, here's a little tidbit of info: The 5400 models spin slower, have a higher latency (seeking around the drive), but transfer more data overall. The 7200 models spin faster, have lower latency (can bounce around the drive faster), but provide less data per transfer.

What this means is, if you need a drive as your primary "program" drive, which will be doing frequent drive access and bouncing all over the place, doing work with many smaller files, then you'll want a drive with lower latency such as the 7200. On the other hand, if you just need a large storage drive for storing many large files, for example movies or other huge files, then a 5400 drive would be perfect.

Look at it this way, say you have a lot of small piles of leaves in your yard, and you need them bagged. If your bagger was a 7200, it could go from one pile to the next much faster than a 5400 could, but its performance benefits will be best with smaller piles. A 5400 would work best with fewer much larger piles.

SPEED SUGGESTION:

If you're concerned about overall speed and want this drive, once you have the majority of your files in place, run a good defrag tool every now and then to help keep all the files in sequence. This prevents the drive from having to bounce around so much. Also, WD provides a file alignment tool which you can use. They suggest using it once you have everything setup the way you want it. The link for this tool is on their website, and on the label of the drive.

MY USAGE OF THIS DRIVE:

The WD20EARX has so far, (a week into things), been very good to me. If you're curious about model designations, here's a couple of examples to help you while you search for your drive:

EARX - The SATA 6gb/sec (600MB/sec) interface (backwards compatible with slower SATA slots)
EARS - The SATA 1.5gb/sec (150MB/sec) interface

I'm using this as both a boot drive and a data drive, something I don't usually do but for my use I want only one drive in the system. It's going to store about 1.5tb of data, mostly in only a few files which are mostly 8-10gb in size each. Latency wasn't a concern for me, so the slower Green drive didn't bother me. Boot times and program loading has actually been surprisingly fast, faster than my other Green drive.

System: Shuttle XPC
Motherboard: SN95G5 - 2.6ghz Athlon64 - 2gb ddr2 ram
Interface: SATA 1.5gb (150MB/sec)
OS: Windows XP Pro SP3
Boot Speed: ~10 seconds (Once POST ends until I have a working desktop)

From the time the bootloader engages until the time I'm at a working desktop, it's about 10 seconds. Shockingly good performance for a green drive. Your experience may vary.

PROS:

* Large capacity, low price thanks to Amazon Prime

* Western Digital has a good reputation and warranty

* This newer generation green drive seems to be much better than the previous, including a redesigned PCB and power traces

* Full backwards compatibility with older SATA interfaces

* Includes a jumper spot in case you need to manually set SATA speed or go into technicians mode

* Lower power consumption, temperatures and sound signature, if that matters to you

CONS:

* Still worried about how the last few Green drives went

OTHER THOUGHTS:

* My past experience makes me uncomfortable with the Green drive movement, but I'm hoping they've worked out the kinks in this new redesign and will post any updates..

* Be aware that Windows XP will not be able to use a single partition larger than 2tb. Windows Vista or 7 will handle larger than 2tb at a time
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
I have 12 or 13 of these drives, bought when the prices were very low just before the Thai floods. If you buy one of these make sure you download and run the WDIDE3.exe from Western Digital to disable the 8 second default for head parking. The wear and tear this causes on the drive mercilessly shortens the life of the drive. Google it and you will find plenty of stories on this. Surprised no class action suit yet for this bad engineering decision. I suspect someone in marketing got their way over the engineers just to make the drives power consumption look better. At least the engineers were good enough to provide an official tool so those in the know (meaning you now you have read this) can fix a very bad design decision.

All modern OS's spin down the drives and it is better to allow BSD, Ubuntu, Windows or what ever else you are using to power down the drives in line with the OS's requirements rather than let the hardware do it, incessantly in this case. It's more than just a theoretical issue. I lost a ZFS RAID when one of four of these drives failed and system logs showed the redundant data had not been written correctly across the drives and pointed to the head parking issue timing it out. I had NO DATA LOSS as I understand a RAID is not back up, so I always have a set of back ups of all my data, however if you are using these drives in a small RAID NAS box in your home please take heed and always have a back up somewhere and do not rely on your NAS being sufficient. Please be paranoid when you deal with your data.

Anyway, my replacement drive for the above RAID was DOA. Another 4 weeks and I got a working one. Applied WDIDE3 to disable the 8 second shut down and have had no issues since.

The 5400rpm speed of the drive is not an issue and keeps it cooler than a 7200 drive so no issues there either.

RATING: Would give it a 5 star review but lost a star for the 8 second head park design decision, and knocked off another star because even though production has been restored to pre-flood levels the price has been kept inflated when it could be dropped down to the pre-flood rate easy enough now.
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53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Unlike most of the positive reviews, I have owned a few of these drives for around 2 years now. For most of them, they seemed fine during the first few months. So in my mind any review where the drive is less than 3+ months old is not really valid.
I have not had any of the green drives I own survive more than about a year or a year and half at most. Out of the 7 I now own, I have replaced all of them once. And I think I have to replace a replacement now as well.

If you're willing to risk the data you put on these drive getting corrupted, then you can save a few dollars but so far I have yet to have one of the green drives not die before the warranty expired.
If you think "hey it's under warranty, so no big deal" then you're not thinking it all the way through.
Having to replace a drive means losing files or data as well. It's not like replacing a video card or other component. You lose more than just time when a drive fails.
And there was no advanced warning of a failure on any of the drives. I only found out that a drive was starting to fail when I started seeing problems with files getting corrupted and the OS telling me that I had to do a file system check on the drive.

The replacement drives are not new drives. They are all re-certified drives. Which means they were all sent back as damaged and maybe WD fixed something before shipping it back out.

I originally started out with 4 drives at once to put in to a RAID device. I thought that since it was raid 5, it wouldn't hurt if a drive died. Well what happened was 2 drives started corrupting data at about the same time. Which meant the problem was not recoverable. RAID 5 can survive a single drive failure at a time but not 2. To make the situation worse, the drives didn't start by dying completely. The 2 drives started out by corrupting data in small enough amounts that it was no immediately noticeable. So once I knew there was a real problem around 5-10% of the 3TB of data had scattered amounts of corrupt files. I was able to copy most of the files off the array. Unfortunately because of the corruption I had to trash about 50% of the files because parts of groups of files were corrupted which meant the whole group of files was useless. For example some of the music albums I purchases had a few songs that were bad. So it meant each of those albums was essentially ruined. Most of that was replaceable at least, but for a lot of things there was no other source for the files. And there wasn't a back up because it was a RAID5 array and was not supposed to need a backup because what are the odds of having 2 drives fail at the same time?

Since then I've been running the drives in mirrored pairs and even that has really helped at least when they are relying on win7 drive mirroring. windows doesn't seem keep track of which drive is primary and which is the copy or something so if either drive starts to corrupt data, windows spends days "re-synching" the drives and the net result is that some files end up being corrupted.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
Overall this is a very good drive. Reasonably fast, quiet, and a very good price in terms of $ per gigabyte. My only complaint is something other potential purchasers should be aware of on THIS AND ANY OTHER DRIVE LARGER THAN 2.2TB in size. Unfortunately "MBR" (Master Boot Record), the venerable tried and true method of partitioning hard drives is limited to partitioning drives no larger than 2.2TB in size. Using MBR to partition this or any other drive in excess of 2.2TB will work, but will result in the drive space in excess of the 2.2TB limit becoming unusable. On this particular drive, by the time differing size calculation methods and system reserve space is taking into account, I paid for approximately 250gb of storage space that I could not initially access.

Fortunately Windows (in my case Windows 7) has a built in solution for partitioning drives larger in size than 2.2TB. It is called "GPT" (or GUID Partition Table) and it represents the updated replacement for the "MBR" partitioning method. "GPT" appears as an available partitioning option when using the Windows disk management tool (and I am sure many other 3rd party partitioning tools).

All well and good? Not quite. There is another catch. While the "GPT" partitioning method can be read from and written to by virtually any modern motherboard, you will not be able to use a "GPT" partitioned disk as a BOOT DISK unless the motherboard firmware specifically supports it. At the time of this writing (11/12) the vast majority of motherboards currently in use, plus a large number of "modern" motherboards currently for sale here on Amazon (as well as all other retailers) are still based on some form of PC BIOS (Basic Input Output System) and inherently cannot support a "GPT" partitioned disk as a boot drive. To boot from a GPT partitioned disk the motherboard must be using UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) as it's control firmware. As time progresses UEFI will become the standard for motherboard control firmware, but for the time being... be aware of buying this or any other hard drive that exceeds 2.2TB in size if your intention is to use it as your system boot drive.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2012
Enough said. 2 drives out of three failed within 3 months. One of the drives replaced by WD, another to be replaced by Amazon. 3rd one is still up and running... All drives have been used in Synology NAS.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2012
I bought this hard drive just in February, three months ago. Few days ago it reported many dead blocks when I checked it with Western Digital Disk tools. Then it just failed to the point that it is not even mounting anymore.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2012
Two years ago I bought two of the 2tb green drives (the prior EARS version) thinking it would be good for the environment and I'd except the modest performance reduction. Both drives failed almost exactly one year later and within weeks of each other. Sent them both back to WD for warranty replacement. Now, one year later one of the replacement drives just failed. Until this experience I had been a 100% WD user thinking they were qualitatively above the rest. Not any more. I gave it two stars because the WD warranty replacement process was excellent. But if a drive cannot be relied upon for more than an year it is worse than worthless.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2011
I'm a computer technician who manages numerous client storage arrays. I purchased 6 (six) of the Western Digital WD20EARS drives in April 2011 to fill one array (previous version of the WD20EARX shown here). Two have failed (accumulative bad sectors) thus far. That's a 33% failure rate within a six month period. Luckily I have these setup in mirrored arrays or the data would have been lost. I have RMA'd one of the drives so far back to Western Digital under warranty. The replacement drive failed (Click of Death) in less than a week.

I have a friend who manages a data center in South Fla. When I mentioned my predicament he told me he had experienced the same. It's his company's policy to purchase only Samsung or Seagate due to Western Digital's failure rate.

Buyer beware with Western Digital.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2012
As others have pointed out the earlier WD Green drives have had very poor reliability. I've had two 640GB WD Greens die within a month. Our current set is doing OK so far, but we aware of the IDLE3 timer. In an effort to be "green" these drives park their heads after 8 seconds of non-use. Fine, but if you are using them on a Linux system where the drives sync every 20 seconds, you can guess what happens. 3 head parks (Load Cycle Count for those who speak SMART) per minute. 1440 minutes/day = 4320 cycles/day. Given the rated life of 300K cycles, your MTBF for the drive is a whopping 69 days... There is a firmware tweak to turn the idle timer (IDLE3) to a more sane value, but this is "non-standard". We won't be buying anymore green drives. They may save power, but given that they go to the landfills 50x faster than other drives, they really aren't that green...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2011
Pros - This drive is awesome. Tested for over 24 hours without a hitch before format. Getting file transfer speeds between 130 - 115 mpbs.

Cons - none yet.

Other - Drive requires an advanced format partition. Must use xp jumper to use without proper setup. Advanced Format means the drive needs 4k sectors in order to read/write without errors. The drive partition must be aligned to a sector divisible by 8.

Running - Ubuntu 11.10
GUID partition table
EXT4 partition type
Aligned to 2048
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