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Customer Review

233 of 265 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast but coffee pot loud!, July 15, 2010
This review is from: WD Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Internal Desktop 3.5" Hard Drive (WD1002FAEX ) (Old Model) (Personal Computers)
I've been using Western Digital hard drives since getting into computers in 1998. In fact I've never owned anything but WD hard drives (from 4.3gig to 1TB). In all my years of using them I've only had 2 go bad, though they never "completely" failed. This speaks of Western Digital's consistency in reliability.

With that said I love the Caviar Blacks and have 3 of them in my system - 500, 750, and now the new 1TB SATA 3 (64Meg cache).

While there is a noticeable speed gain over my previous 1TB Caviar Black (32Meg), the previous version was/is extremely quiet! This new SATA 3 drive is LOUD! It sounds like a percolating coffee pot at its highest boiling point, especially during boot-up or accessing files. Very annoying, especially if it's the noisiest part of your system!

I just put an i7 system in a Cooler Master HAF X case which has 4 fans - 1 Front bottom 230mm 700RPM 19dBA (Red LED), 1 Top 200mm 7000RPM 19dBA, 1 Rear 140mm 1200RPM 19dBA. My Noctua CPU cooler fan tops out at 1200RPM load at 19dBA as well. At idle my ATI 4890 video card fan runs around 27 percent, making it in-audible above the other fans.

My point.... My case is extremely quiet.... Save for WD's new Caviar Black SATA 3 HD!!! Because of this I'm seriously considering going back to my previous 1TB 32meg cache Caviar Black HD.

BTW this is a replacement drive as I thought the first drive was faulty due to the same noise. With that I called Western Digital about this issue.... and to make a long story short, they say this is normal and that drive wasn't designed with noise in mind, that if you want a "quieter" drive, get the Caviar Blue.

Make of that what you will....

All I know is that the older 32mge cache Caviar Black drives ARE quieter than their 64meg cache cousins.

Those looking for quieter WD drives might consider looking elsewhere (Blue or Green series) if noise is a factor over speed.

4 stars.

Edit. Went back to my previous drive because of the noise. If you want a caviar black that's quiet, go with the 1FALS (32meg) vs the 2FAEX (64meg)

Edit 2 - Jan 9, 2015 - Please remember folks, this review was on the 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black (WD1002FAEX) which was done nearly 4 and a half years ago! I'm quite sure the new iterations have changed.

And for the record, I still use WD Caviar blacks, bought a 2TB about 2 years ago and love it. You can still hear it thrashing a little when in use, but that's normal of all mechanical drives as opposed to SSD drives which are virtually silent. That said, my 2TB WD Black is not as bad as the model I reviewed here. On the other hand I'm not using it as a main drive like I was with the model reviewed before moving to an SSD drive. Today my system is composed of a 512gig Samsung 850 Pro SSD drive as my main drive and the WD Caviar Black as my data / backup drive.

Anyway bear in mind this is a 4.5 year old review with a different model, in a different role, before posting your comments.

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Showing 1-10 of 47 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 13, 2011, 9:16:07 AM PDT
W. Banker says:
You are absolutely right. This drive is like a step back into the past regarding noise levels. I don't remember having owned a drive which has the aptly termed coffee pot percolating noise for at least 8 years. I had presumed that manufacturers had overcome this factor. I'm not sure whether the purported increased speed is worth the thrashing sound now constantly coming from my previously quiet machine.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2011, 1:33:51 PM PDT
A.D. Minton says:
Since moving to an SSD drive I only that drive as backup swap drive. I'll still use WD hard drives when needed, I'll just make sure I don't run into one of those. Anyway my other two Caviar Blacks in the system are quiet as church mice, but again, they are the older caviar blacks.

I love Western Digital but they need to address the noise issues in these drives - especially seeing how SSD drives are coming down in price, and people want quieter systems. Given those two scenarios WD may well lose customers pushing noisey "performance" drives out.

Get an SSD drive, an "older" caviar black for storage, and you're good to go.

My two cents

Posted on May 17, 2011, 6:03:04 AM PDT
I agree with others - I would not recommend this drive because it is REALLY loud! It makes a droning buzzing sound that grinds about every 7 seconds. I can hear from outside my office with the door closed! I plan to get rid of it and perhaps get a 2TB green.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2011, 7:28:04 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 21, 2011, 7:31:36 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2011, 7:32:32 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 21, 2011, 7:32:45 PM PDT]

Posted on Oct 24, 2011, 5:01:20 AM PDT
JDO says:
agree... its to loud. constantly!

Posted on Jan 18, 2012, 9:10:13 PM PST
why i didnt read this before i dont like that sound i thought it was defective =(

Posted on Jan 25, 2012, 6:08:14 PM PST
R. Wilson says:
GREAT review. Very interesting on the noise, and I'll take the suggestion on the Caviar Blue. One question though.. out of curiosity, what was your Windows Exp. Index with this drive?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2012, 9:07:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 25, 2012, 9:12:15 PM PST
A.D. Minton says:
Thanks. You want get a WEI score higher than 5.9 on a mechanical drive, "maybe" 6.0. Anyone telling you you get more than that are lying, tweaked WEI to give higher scores, or are running some sort of fancy RAID setup, and even than I've not seen (heard) anything higher than "maybe" 6.1

As to my WEI score I got 5.9, which is basically what you'd get with any high quality hard drive, even the WD Blue should produce this score.

Now if you go with an SSD, look you can expect an avarage of 7.0 or higher. I get 7.7 with OCZ 120gig Vertex 2 drive.

Good luck.

Posted on Feb 25, 2012, 10:43:49 PM PST
Mark Lahren says:
Been using the WD black 2TB drive for over a year now with zero problems, except for the noise. "Percolating coffee pot" is a perfect descriptor, as the noise is identical, though not nearly as loud as a coffeepot. I never knew how to describe it when explaining it to someone, until now. Although really, for me it isn't all that bad, as it only makes the noise when accessing files, and even then it doesn't make the noise all the time. For my primary use, gaming, it doesn't make the noise often at all, and after over a year of use, I seldom even notice it anymore. It's definitely there, but it isn't horribly loud.
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