Customer Reviews: WD Blue 500GB Desktop Hard Disk Drive - 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 16MB Cache 3.5 Inch - WD5000AAKX
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VINE VOICEon February 9, 2013
Capacity: 1 TB|Style Name: 7200 RPM|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's a bias, but I love Western Digital drives. I am an IT professional by trade, but I'm not sure that makes me any kind of authority on the subject. I don't do reliability testing or bench-marking for a living. While all the data I've see tends to reinforce my existing bias, it is the nature of biases to be self-affirming. All I can offer, then, is my personal opinion and my professional recommendation, based on my own experiences.

The truth is, that's often all we IT people can provide: opinions, and sometimes shaky ones. We tend to form our opinions based on experiences when the truth about how good or bad a particular drive model or maker is, is really a matter of statistics. We instead reach conclusions based on anecdotal evidence and recommendations from friends or colleague, and it's far too easy for a popular conception, a single run of good luck, or a single bad experience to cloud the statistical realty. We also tend to become brand loyal once we enter a place of comfort with a product line. But I've seen plenty of Western Digital drives die. I've seen plenty of ANY brand of hard drive die: Maxtor, Seagate, Samsung, you name it. I recommend that you take all consumer reviews for hard drives with a grain of salt and look online for professional reviews, benchmarks, and reliability data if you really want to know how a given drive rates. Anandtech, Tom's Hardware, and PC Perspective are some good starting points.

With all that in mind, my biases are not without reasons. I've been very pleased with every Western Digital drive I've owned over the last 13 years of my personal computing life. I originally became a fan because of the large capacities, large cache, and low seek times back when I was picking parts for my first computer that I bought myself--a Dell. Back then, Dell's site had better data on their components available. It was easy to get a table that showed you all the specs of the various options and you could easily see where the best bang for your buck would be. The Western Digital drives were all much better performers than the other options Dell had at that time. Unlike some of my other old loyalties (like the one I had for Linksys products, for example), I've continued to be impressed by Western Digital products. I have a 1 TB Black drive as my main data drive in my current box.

The reasons I like Western Digital are not just due to the hardware itself, though. Their support has been good compared to others I've had to contact in the past. I have also yet to have had a problem getting WD to honor a warranty replacement, unlike some truly awful experiences I've had with other brands (again, bias!). Western Digital also has some pretty good free tools (Data Lifeguard) for diagnostics, data destruction, and data migration. This is important if you ever suspect the drive could be failing and want to vet it. I've been less impressed by the software WD includes with their external backup drives, so when I was looking for a backup drive I thought it would be better and cheaper to just get a bare internal drive and use it in my docking station for backing up.

This particular drive is just what I was looking for. The Black drives are the higher end, higher performing drives, but I'm only using this as a backup disk, so the Blue specs more than meet my needs. That said, this model is the WD10EZEX, which has a 64 MB cache as opposed to the almost WD10EALX 1TB Blue drive, which is almost the same except that it only has 32MB of cache. So, I would definitely go with this one. With the 64 MB cache, the WD10EZEX 1 TB Blue drive specs are almost identical to the WD1002FAEX 1 TB Black drive I already own, which is supposed to be higher end and costs bit more. I have to say, I'm not convinced there's much difference between Blue/Black drives, at least if you get the WD10EZEX with the 64 MB cache. The fact the costs are quite close makes me feel like the two lines have converged and overlapped.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick test using HD Tach and was shocked by the results: the WD10EZEX Blue drive outperformed my WD1002FAEX black drive in some respects! Keep in mind that these are both 1 TB drives and both have 64 MB cache. After running a long bechmark test on both drives I was surprised to find that the average read speed was 148.5 MB/s for the Blue drive, but only 1.06.3 MB/s for my Black drive. At first I was worried something might be wrong with my Black drive, but I compared it to the benchmark I ran when I first got the drive and the results were the same. The Black drive does outperform the Blue drive in Random access times, however (12 ms compared to 19 ms), but the point is that this does make one question if the Black drives are worth the extra money over the WD10EZEX Blue drive.

I also considered the Green drives, but I've read mixed reviews and the price is the same anyway. The Blue drives are like the Goldilocks drive everyone should get unless they have specific reasons to do otherwise. I'm sure I'll get many years of happy use out of this drive. I rated it 5 stars, because I feel it deserves 5 stars, but if you want/meed real hardcore performance you may wish to consider the higher end options from WD, or just go with an SSD if don't also need have a need for a high capacity and if price isn't a big concern.

So, why should you beware of Vine Reviews for this product? I'll tell you.

Vine is a great program. As a Vine participant, Amazon sends me free products that I can choose from a list of available products. In exchange, I write a review for the product on Amazon. I get free stuff, and the product gets faster traction on Amazon by building up a baseline of reviews (unreviewed/unrated products don't sell as well). Of course there is always a potential for bias when reviewing a product you didn't have to pay for, but I feel like most Vine participants recognize the value of being impartial and thorough in their reviews. It certainly brings out the critic in me and I love being able to share my opinions with the rest of the community here on Amazon.

You might, therefore, imagine my surprise when I opened the package and found a letter enclosed from Western Digital addressing Vine members. This was the first and only time I've seen this, so I found it odd. It started out telling me to enjoy the free drive and thanking me for taking the time to review their product. OK, harmless enough. What really upset me, however, is that the letter then went on to tell me about the all the great features and benefits of my new drive and even listed several specific points that I might wish to highlight in my review (!!!!). I might, for example, want to mention it's quiet performance.

This is clearly an attempt by Western Digital to steer Vine reviews to match the talking points of their ad campaign. I don't know that Amazon is aware of this, but I think they should be if they aren't already. I'm also not sure if this violates any kind of policy Amazon might have concerning products for Vine reviews, or if they even have such a policy, but I hope they take the matter seriously. To be fair, it is possible that the intention here is more benign how I am interpreting it. Reviewing a technical product is tricky. You don't want to give away drives just to get a bunch of reviews that say "this is a great drive" but give no details about the features smart shoppers might be wanting to know about. Maybe the intention here was just to help reviewers think of what the criteria of their review should focus on. But, this could have been done much more simply, if that were the case. The letter, which should have come from Amazon in that case, should have at least used neutral language like "please consider the following criteria in your review: operating noise, capacity, etc". But the letter's language was much closer to asking reviewers to mention how awesome WishperDrive technology is. I really do feel this threatens to undermine the integrity of Vine reviews.

I wanted to mention and discuss this for two reasons: 1) to get this out there so Amazon is aware and so they can take action if need be, and 2) to tell potential buyers so they can use judgment when reading through reviews. If you see a vine review that sounds suspiciously similar to the front of the box, you'll know why!
213213 comments| 1,203 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 20, 2011
My use for these drives is to replace a couple of aging five year old 80GB drives in Windows XP and XP Media Center machines. Those drives are still running fine, however, for the price, I had absolutely no reason not to upgrade them at this time.

I came across this drive middle of last week and Amazon was selling it new for $29 - I was scratching my head thinking "what's the deal" and "what's wrong with these drives"? Sure, even though they were above $25, Amazon was still charging for the shipping - so I took two to bring the per drive shipping down slightly. The old 3Gb version of this drive was selling for over $40 - so again, scratching my head about this. Maybe it was a pricing mistake? Whatever - it was a great price.

The drives arrived yesterday, same standard OEM packaging all of my six other WD drives have come in over the past 9 months. I used Clonezilla to clone the old drives on to the new, it went smoothly without any issues. I'm storing the old drives just in case these new ones have any issues I won't have to rebuild the system drives from scratch.

I know that the motherboards in my machines cannot make use of the 6Gb throughput, however, these drives are definitely faster than what they're replacing - older WD drives which indicate they are 7200RPM and 3Gb. Specs on the older drives indicate performance shouldn't be all that different, but it is, and for the better. I won't question it.

The drive indicates you can jumper pins 5 and 6 to limit it to 3Gb, but I didn't understand the benefit of doing it, so I left it unjumpered and it's working well.

To summarize - these drives are fast, quiet, and so far are performing excellently. I'm very happy with them thus far.
1414 comments| 131 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 14, 2012
I will keep it short and to the point... I was skeptical about this drive and was hesitant to purchase it, but now I am a firm believer and will recommend to anyone. Immediately after I installed and performed a fresh install of Mountain Lion, I performed a disk bench test and average read/write speed is 170mb/sec with +/- 5mb/sec - AMAZING fast for a HDD SATA III. Furthermore, the drive is very quiet and I have yet to notice any excessive spinning or noise. Since then, I've purchased another drive for a second system and I will update this post if I experience any problems.
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on February 12, 2013
Within 5 minutes of opening the box my new hard-drive was installed and operating. Mount it in the PC, plug in the Sata cable (not included w/ drive), plug in the power and boot up the PC. Go to Ctrl Panel, Admin Tools, Computer Management, Disk Management, right click on the new drive, have it do a Quick Format, click and assign it a "Drive Letter". 3 seconds later you're done and the drive is ready to use. 5 minutes start to finsih, no kidding. The drive is perfectly quite and seems really fast.
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I had recently purchased an external hard drive case that is usb 3.0 and I used an old Seagate 1TB Barracuda I had laying around to expand my sons hard drive on his xbox one. Unfortunately the old seagate didnt stand a chance...It worked for a few weeks and then I got the dreaded TICK TICK TICK noise...hard drive platter was ruined...Not sure what happened. Anyway, I already had the 3.0 enclosure with fan so I opted to get another bare hard drive to install in there. I have always had Seagates and to be honest this is the first that has failed me. But it is indeed 8 years old. I installed the new WD in the enclosure in less than 2 minutes and plugged it in. I formatted it for xbox one and installed his games there. We played a few games and everything works like a charm. With the 6GB transfer rate I dont think its going to be an issue. Granted this is day one. I write a ton of reviews so I will be back to let you know if there is any changes in the hard drive.
PRICE: For what I have invested in the hard drive and the fan cooled enclosure it is still cheaper than buying an external hard drive. Not by much as they are getting cheaper, but some.
INCLUDED: You should know all you are getting is the hard drive..There is nothing else in the box. No instructions or cables or plugs or whatever you need to use for your project. This can be installed in a desktop PC that takes a 3.5 hard drive or a 3.5 hard drive enclosure. If you are unsure on how to install this please google it..Remember you live in a "video" era and you have unlimited knowledge at your fingertips.
EASE OF USE: Simple PLug and Play ...You will need to format it for the xbox one. Put it in a 3.5" USB 3.0 enclosure and plug it in. Then follow the onscreen prompts. Its as easy as clicking a button.

Like I said before I have always been a Seagate fan because that is the first brand I got 8 years ago and it lasted this long. This is the first WD I have had so I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one. I do hope this review helps someone out there. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. If you found my review helpful, let me know. Lets keep making better buying decisions together. Thank you for reading and as always Be Safe & Happy Shopping!!
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33 comments| 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 1, 2013
This hard drive comes in OEM packaging, which means it comes only with the drive in anti-static packaging. This is typical of most hard drives. You will need a SATA cable and an open SATA port on your motherboard for installation. I used this as a replacement for my ancient 80 GB WD HDD that was going on 9 years old, and reinstalling W7 onto a new drive is nice and simple. Just pop in the W7 installation disc once your drive is in and choose Restore or Repair, make sure you have your backup first, though. However, when you use this method, it only restores the exact partitions and size of the original drive, and I realized that you need to create another partition if you want to use the full drive. This is much easier than it sounds, just research creating a partition, it's simple and Windows 7 makes it a breeze. In case you're wondering, SATA ports and connectors are all compatible with each other. SATA II is not a bottleneck to hard drives, only to SSDs. This drive is pretty quiet, except when installing large programs and moving big files, in which it's only barely audible. It's great for a new build or a replacement. I've had good experiences with WD in the past, all the drives of mine and my relatives I have seen of WD branding haven't had any issues at all. I was even using my old drive for a solid 9 years of heavy use and it had no issues. This new drive has the numbers on its side, too. Mine has ZERO seek errors, zero read errors, no reallocated or otherwise damaged sectors, and keeps a consistently cool temperature of 30C. If anything goes wrong for any reason at all, there is always the 2 year warranty to rely on. However, if you don't mind having a bit of a louder drive and paying just a bit more, you can get the Caviar Black which has a nice amount of extra performance, is more reliable and has a longer 5 year warranty. If you don't want, need, or your budget maxes out on the Caviar Blue, then that's just fine because this is one solid drive.
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on January 31, 2012
I think the title says it all. Performed adequately during its short lifespan. But even with backups, its demise represents at least 20 hours of work getting the system to its pre-crash state. I've bought a ton of WD Drives, but this one was a complete loser.

02/08/2012 -- Follow-up
I used Western Digital automated RMA site to exchange drive for a new one at a shipping cost of $5.50. Although new drive could communicate with controller, it failed basic BIOS S.M.A.R.T. tests. To insure problem wasn't with system/controller, I tried same operations with another drive--worked fine. Tried new/bad drive in another system-failed in same way. Called WD customer service. I asked if there were QA issues with this drive. The agent told me there
was no problem with the drives, but since they used an outside shipper, they had no control over whether the drive was damaged during shipping. I could see where this might be a valid argument for third party transactions, but when WD controls the whole supply chain from factory to door, this makes no sense. If the product is not properly packed by shipper, time for WD to get a new shipper. Then the agent asked me for the serial number of the new drive. When I gave it to him, he said that the serial number did not match the drive they sent out. We went over and over the serial number, and he said it wasn't even close.
While he put me on hold, I went back through email from WD, and found the drive ship notice, which contained the serial number of the new drive--it was identical to the serial number I had been giving the agent! When the agent came back on the phone, he said that since the serial numbers didn't match, someone would call me tomorrow to resolve the issue. I told him about the email I had found. I said I wanted to speak to a supervisor. 20 minutes later, the supervisor came on, and said that the serial number reported by the agent was off one digit from the one I gave him. I said that I had repeatedly given him
the correct serial number. I told supervisor other things agent had told me re. damage during shipping. If it were possible I would change my 1 star to a 0 star rating.

Supervisor offered to upgrade me to Caviar Black 750GB for free, and provide free return shipping for DOA new drive. I agreed, but my confidence in WD products and customer service is shaken. I spent over an hour on the phone on this issue. Hopefully, I'll have better luck with the new drive. I'll write another follow-up when it arrives and I've tested it.
44 comments| 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 16, 2011
This hard drive is the best mid-range hard drives out there. We run a computer repair shop and THIS is the drive that we always use as a replacement in customers computers.

For 500GB, you just can't beat the price. In my 15 years of business I have seen a few hard drive companies come and go, rise and fall. Maxtor was the beast hard drive of all time (until Seagate bought and crushed them). Now, Western Digital holds the best drive, as Maxtor once did.

If you are looking for a great all around basic hard drive, then this is for you. If you are looking for speed and performance such as needed with a "gaming rig" then choose Western Digital BLACK series.
22 comments| 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 26, 2011
We have a Windows XP PC with 250GB hard drive that was getting full with photos and videos. We therefore ordered this inexpensive upgrade to triple the capacity to 750GB total. We ordered the same Western Digital Caviar Blue hard drive as the original since our old drive has been quite reliable over the past 4 years. [Western Digital also makes Green drives that are cooler and quieter, but supposedly not so reliable; and Black drives for gaming performance that we didn't need.] The new 500GB hard drive, as stated, is "bare". That means 2 cables are needed along with it - a data cable, and a power cable. We found this out by contacting Western Digital Tech Support who were quite helpful. We ordered these cables from as well: B0001Y8UI4, and B00009YFTI. The ambition was to do this at home; but realized upon opening the PC box that it wasn't so easy - the connections were not easy to figure out including jumper to lower the speed of the new drive from 6Gb/s to 3Gb/s - that Western Digital had warned us about to be compatible with the older PC. Fortunately, a local computer repair shop agreed to do it for only $50 [the same components purchased from them would have been twice as much as!] as opposed to Best Buy Geek Squad that wanted over $200 for the same labor. Now, the programs are on the old hard drive [C:] and the data is on this new drive [E:]. The hardware is not a problem; it is working fine as it should. The problem is with software handling the transition of the data. The document folders were an easy fix - change designation from C: to E: for each user. But some programs have been a pain: For example, iTunes had to be directed to E: drive and in the process of rebuilding its library, duplicated all files and also lost the playlists. It is now a headache to manually fix 200GB of iTunes library data since, as we all have experienced, there is no support when it comes to software [Help forums haven't responded]. But I believe we are good to go for another few years after this.
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on September 11, 2012
This drive is quiet and the sequential performance is very good, though the seek time is average.

I get about the average advertised 150 MB/s sustained. It is 190 MB/s on the outer part of the platter.

From HDtune the average seek time is 20ms.

Pretty great for a moderately priced 1 TB spinner!
44 comments| 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse