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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
2727 comments| 392 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 4, 2013
I know we don't want to admit that different HDD's are for different things so we buy the cheapest one then complain when it doesn't do what we want. This reason is the largest reason drives get low scores. The other two reasons being DOA's (it happens) and user error.

Green's are meant for data storage. A place to put information -like movies, so it can be accessed from time to time. It's not meant as an OS drive/boot drive. If you try and play games from it speed will suffer. It is an energy efficient, cost efficient, cheap storage device. The Black's and raptors are meant for your OS and gaming (or better an SSD). The Reds for your redundancy systems (raids, NAS, etc).

Order the right HDD! Once you have the right one, resist the urge to copy your entire collection of all 30,000 Simpson episodes over until after you have done a full and thorough scan of the drive.
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on December 19, 2012
I bought it because it was inexpensive, but it seems like a really slow drive. Don't buy this as a main drive. It is OK as a data storage or backup drive though. Otherewise, it seems to work OK and was easy to install and setup.
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on November 28, 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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on August 9, 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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VINE VOICEon August 26, 2012
I've been happy with Western Digital drives for many years, but this is the first time I've had a drive arrive close to DOA. I purchased this drive for use in by backups using Acronis True Image. The day I received the drive I plugged it in and it worked fine. Booted up to Windows 7 and formatted the drive. I did a full system backup and everything still seemed OK. The next day I restarted my computer and the computer would not boot past the BIOS screen. My first bit of troubleshooting was to unplug this HDD, and what do you know, computer booted right up. So over the next while, I tried plugging this HDD into each of my 4 SATA drives on my motherboard, but no matter which one I used, it prevents my computer from booting up, but if the drive is not connected, everything boots just fine. My final bit of troubleshooting was to attempt to boot into the Acronis recovery boot disk, but again, once my computer hits the BIOS screen it just stops. If the drive had not worked just fine for 1 day, I might think there was something wrong with my computer, but the fact that everything worked fine and then it didn't makes me pretty sure it's the drive's failure and nothing else.

I would return to Amazon for an exchange/refund, but this drive has an image of my entire computer on it. Passwords, financial data, personal files, all imaged onto the drive and I have no way to access it and wipe it clean before I return it. So I'm basically stuck with an expensive paper weight.

I guess it's onto another manufacturer for my 2 TB backup drive solution.
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on February 21, 2013
I have 2 computers backed up by a 2nd generation 1TB Time Capsule, and there was hardly enough room for all the backups. After doing much forum reading regarding changing out drives, I settled on this 2TB WD model (after first ordering and returning a Seagate, which some have found has firmware incompatibility problems affecting the fan). Apple uses Western Digital drives: indeed, this one was shipped from Apple, which was a good sign it would work without effecting either the fan on/off or other firmware dependent issues. (I replaced the original, still good 1TB Western Digital for the larger 2TB, and now use the original WD 1TB mounted in an OWC external case as a spare backup.)

A problem with many, especially, 1st and 2nd generation Time Capsules has been internal power supply over-heating caused by bad placement of the fan and the lack of sufficient ventilation holes covered by the gray rubber on the unit's bottom. Indeed, both top and bottom of the TC's case, particularly, at the back where the cable plugs are, Could be almost too hot to touch. Most Time Capsule fail because of 3 burned out capacitors in the power supply. While these can be changed, the repair is tedious because of all the plastic 'goop' slathered over the solder connections and capacitors. Moreover, without fan replacement or, best, moving the power supply outside the case, another heat-caused failure will likely occur within 2 years. But the replacement WD Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, SATA III, 64 MB Cache - WD20EARX runs cooler than the original did.

Still, my next step will be to replace the internal power supply with an external supply, such as a 5v,12v, 2-3 amp 'power brick' supply used on many hard drives (e.g., LaCie Power Supply). And, perhaps a fan placement mod, though with an external power supply, I may just eliminate the fan. Meanwhile, after installing the new WD 2TB drive, I have left the gray rubber bottom cover off and, to enhance heat transfer away from the TC's interior, placed the unit on a 3/4" tall finned aluminum heat sink I bought from ebay, finned side down, the flat side in total contact with the TC's aluminum bottom. One could use heat transfer silicone for better contact. It definitely runs significantly cooler now.

The best source of information for fixing Time Capsules - power supply and fan mod - can be found on-line by searching: 'LaPastenague', a free, step-by-step source of information regarding fixing Time Capsules with numerous links to other technicians (I am not connected in any way to these sites). With a good fan mod or removing power supply to outside, the Time Capsule will run at about 36 degrees C rather than the usual 43 degrees C. The nice thing about Amazon is that I managed to source almost all materials I needed for this project, and at the best prices!
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on September 29, 2011
This is a reliable, quite, cool running, LARGE SATA III HD. I used this drive for WMC (Windows Media Center) PVR. I needed a lot of hard drive space but needed it to stay really cool and quite in a small case. If you want speed (like I did) put a small SSD drive in your system for the operating system, then use the WD Green drive for storage space.

Something to consider: The 2.5 ad 3TB WD Green drives use a little bit more wattage (heat) and have a little faster transfer rate. Download the spec sheet from Western Digital for more information on this.

Just in case you're trying to do the same thing, I have listed my recently built media center parts list.

My system build (works great)(Photo's included)
-- SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX HTPC Computer Case GD05B (Black)
-- Gigabyte AMD GA-A75M-UD2H (rev 1.0) Mother board
-- AMD A8-3850 APU with AMD Radeon 6550 HD Graphics 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core
-- Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB (2x4 GB Modules) 1600 MHz DDR3 Dual Channel Kit (PC3 12800)
-- OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD2-2AGTE60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive
-- Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB SATA III Hard Drive - WD20EARX
-- Pioneer Internal 12x Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD Writer BDR-206DBK
-- AmuletDevices remote control and IR Receiver
-- Antec (Neo HE650)(NeoPower 650) 650 Watt Power Supply
-- IOGEAR Multimedia Keyboard with Laser Trackball
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VINE VOICEon July 4, 2012
A very short review:

This drive is a good choice for upgrading or replacing your Tivo drive. I've also used the WD20EARS, which is the older version. This HD offers no advantage over the older drive for use in a Tivo.

Use JMFS to transfer the data from your old Tivo drive. I used the Expand/Supersize options and I have over 300 hours of HD capacity. Also, remember to turn off the idle timeout (using wdidle3) or set it to 300 seconds, and you'll have no problem. Yes, it does work great in a Tivo.

Highly recommended.
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on December 8, 2011
I bought the 2.5 terabyte drive and installed it in a 64bit windows 7 box as a data only drive. After booting windows I used the windows disk manager to initialize the drive as a GPT partition. It did so but only reported 280GB. I check the bios and the drive was showing up as a 301GB drive. I wrote WD tech support for help on this and got no reply. So after a couple of days of waiting for a resolution, I tried using GPARTED to create the partitions. GPARTED could see the full 2.5 terabytes, but it would not let me create any new partitions, so I deleted the existing partition windows 7 had created and used GPARTED to re-initialize the drive as a GPT drive. I was then able to create a single NTFS partition using the full drive size.

I can't give any opinion on the longevity of this drive, but it does run quite and my transfer speeds were good. The price was great. I only gave this drive 4 stars because the tech support seems non-existent. I hope documenting my experience may help someone else with a similar problem installing these drives as a non-booting data drive.

Reducing this to 2 stars. I bought two of these to use as backup drives and the both failed within a year. I would stay away from their green drives.
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