Editorial Correction:This review initially stated that the WD Caviar Green 2TB has a variable rotation speed between 5400rpm and 7200rpm. WD has since clarified that Caviar Green drives have steady spindle speeds, but they don't disclose the exact speeds, except that they are somewhere between 5400 and 7200rpm.
Western Digital just upped the capacity ante with a mind-blowing two-terabye internal hard drive. It doesn’t break any land speed records, but the 2TB Caviar Green is unmatched for capacity—at least for now.
The Caviar Green 2TB packs a full 500GB more onto its four platters than our previous capacity champion, Seagate’s 1.5TB 7200.11 Barracuda, which has suffered from firmware-related hitches and freezing. The Barracuda (when it works) marries speedy performance with high capacity, while the Caviar Green, like the rest of Western Digital’s Green line, focuses on quiet performance and lower power consumption. The 2TB Caviar Green has four 500GB platters spinning a rate somewhere between 5,400 and 7,200rpm, with a 32MB cache, and an areal density per platter of 400Gb/square inch.
This isn’t the drive for speed freaks—it can’t match the read or write speeds of this generation’s terabyte drives, much less the 1.5TB Barracuda or the WD Velociraptor, but what it lacks in raw performance it makes up in capacity. The Caviar Green offers sustained read speeds in h2benchw of 76MB/s, around 25% slower than the Barracuda, while its write speeds are more competitive: 76.5MB/s versus the Barracuda’s 85.7MB/s. Real-world, that means writing a 4GB file to the Caviar Green takes about five seconds longer than the Seagate drive—52 seconds to 47. Its burst read speed, though, beats the Barracuda’s, clocking in at 218MB/s to the Seagate’s 209MB/s. The Caviar Green’s PCMark Vantage score is about 15% lower than the Barracuda’s. Random-access read times for both drives are around 12ms, while the Caviar’s random write latency is around 6.7ms, 1.4ms slower than the Barracuda’s.
Western Digital’s 2TB Caviar Green is available now for $300. It still doesn’t beat the 1.5TB Barracuda’s on price or performance. We love its massive capacity and quiet performance, but are less impressed with its midrange speeds and modest power savings. The 2TB Caviar Green could make a great storage drive to complement a speedy SSD or Velociraptor, and right now it's is the only alternative for users who need more than 1TB of storage but are wary of entrusting their data to the Barracuda and its frisky firmware.
Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB
Highest-capacity consumer drive on the market. Low power consumption. Quiet.
Not particularly fast; the extra 500GB costs more than $100.
WD Caviar Green 2TB
Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB
H2benchw Average Sustained Transfer Rate Read (MB/s)
H2benchw Average Sustained Transfer Rate Write(MB/s)
H2benchw Random Access Read (ms)
H2benchw Random Access Write (ms)
HDTach Burst Read (MB/s)
PCMark Vantage Overall
Best scores are bolded. All HD Tach scores use HD Tach 18.104.22.168. All h2benchw scores use h2benchw 3.12.