Solid State Drives Guide

Western Digital Black2 (SSD + HDD) review

Western Digital Black2 Dual Drive - Don't Call It a Hybrid (Updated with SSHD Performance!)

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Launch SRP S$459
Latest Price From S$389 (Check Latest Prices)

Overall rating 8/10
Performance:
7.5
Features:
8.5
Value:
7.5
THE GOOD
Innovative two drives in one design
1TB of storage
Easy to setup
THE BAD
Lackluster SSD performance
9.5mm thickness won't fit all notebooks
Windows only
Very pricey
More Awards:
Most Innovative Product


Test Setup + Timing Tests

Test Setup

The WD Black2 dual drive will be tested on our recently revamped storage testbed. The main changes are the faster Core i5-2500K processor and an accompanying Z77 motherboard which has native Thunderbolt connectivity.

  • Intel Core i5-2500K (3.3GHz)
  • ASUS P8Z77 Pro Thunderbolt (Intel Z77 chipset)
  • 2 x 2GB DDR3-1600 memory
  • MSI GeForce 8600 GTS
  • Windows 7

To evaluate the WD Black2, we will be testing its SSD and hard disk drive performance and comparing it against recently tested SSDs and hard disk drives.

SSDs tested:

  • WD Black2
  • Crucial M500
  • OCZ Vector 150
  • Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
  • Samsung SSD 840 Pro
  • Seagate 600

HDDs tested:

  • WD Black2
  • Seagate Laptop SSHD (1TB)
  • Seagate Ultrathin Laptop HDD
  • WD UltraSlim

Judging from the specifications that Western Digital quoted, we do not expect the WD Black2 to be able to match the other SSDs on the list. Furthermore, the WD Black2 has 128GB of flash storage whereas the rest of the drives are 240/256GB variants. However, it will be interesting to see just how competitive it is against the current crop of popular SSDs. The mainstream Crucial M500 should be its closest competitor.

Since the hard disk drive portion of the WD Black2 is essentially a WD Blue drive, it should be competitive against the recently reviewed Seagate Ultrathin Laptop HDD and WD UltraSlim, two of the newer 5mm thick drives that were just announced at Computex 2013. However, the WD Black2's key competitor in this segment is arguably the hybrid hard disk drive, which contains a small amount of onboard NAND that acts as a cache. In light of this, we have included Seagate's Laptop SSHD in our testing, which has 8GB of onboard NAND. We will be omitting Iometer from the hard disk drive testing since users who use the WD Black2 will mainly use the hard disk drive for non-performance sensitive applications or simply as a drive to store files such as music, photos and videos.

The list of benchmarks used are as follows:

  • AS-SSD benchmark 1.7.4739
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1
  • PCMark 7 (Storage suite)
  • Iometer (version 2006.07.27)
  • Timing Tests (Cold start, Reboot, Apps Launching)
     

 

Timing Tests

We begin with our timing tests and as you can see, the WD Black2 took a little longer than the other SSDs. However, the difference between it and the fastest drives was actually not that great, and the largest margin of difference was actually just 2.3 seconds or around 8% slower when rebooting.

Update: We also found the WD Black2 to be considerably faster than the hybrid hard disk drive. However, to put these numbers into perspective, know that while the hybrid hard disk drive took over 87 seconds to launch the entire suite of Adobe CS6 applications, a regular 7200rpm hard disk drive would take over five whole minutes to do the same.