Western Digital is attempting to redefine the phrase “RPM”.

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Final week the nice Redditors from / r / DataHoarder have been as soon as once more upset about Western Digital – this time due to incorrectly displaying the velocity of their WD Pink Community Hooked up Storage laborious drives. (Though the linked put up turns issues the wrong way up, members of the German-language discussion board hardwareluxx.de started investigating the issue greater than a 12 months in the past.)

We discovered this controversy, which is harking back to earlier complaints that Western Digital has not correctly disclosed the usage of Shingled Magnetic Recording expertise of their NAS drives. The brand new grievance, nonetheless, is that Western Digital is labeling 7200 RPM drives because the “5400 RPM class” – and its proprietary firmware report 5400 RPM over the SMART interface.

Just lately, redditor / u / Amaroko got down to show or disprove the outcomes of earlier web customers. For every of the a number of drive fashions, Amoroko positioned a pattern of this drive on an empty cardboard field with a blue Yeti microphone above it, and switched the drive on. The spectrum evaluation of the recorded audio with Adobe Audition resulted in a base frequency of 120 Hz for 2 fashions of the WD Eight TB drive “5400 RPM class”.

120 cycles / s multiplied by 60 s / min end in 7,200 cycles / min. In different phrases, these 5400 RPM drives have been actually spinning at 7,200 RPM.

Who does not desire a quicker velocity?

Enlarge /. After we examine datasheets between an Eight TB 5400 RPM Barracuda and an Eight TB “5400 RPM Class” Pink, we see an enormous distinction in energy consumption.

Jim Salter

At first look this does not appear to be an issue – who would not favor a drive with a quicker spindle velocity? Sadly, quicker spindles not solely imply doubtlessly decrease search latency, but in addition result in a pointy improve in each noise and energy consumption.

This improve in noise and efficiency has put many customers on the path of Western Digital’s pretend spindle velocity of 5,400 RPM within the first place – these customers purchased drives that they anticipated to roll slowly and slowly, however they’ve extra Noise, warmth and energy consumption than anticipated.

When evaluating the info sheets between a Seagate Barracuda with 5,400 rpm and a Western Digital Pink of the “5400 rpm” class, which in accordance with the audio spectrum evaluation really rotates at 7,200 rpm, we will see a transparent distinction in energy consumption. The Eight TB Pink consumes 8.Eight W for the Barracuda’s 5.three W when it’s energetic and 800 mW for the Barracuda’s 250 mW when it’s in standby mode. The distinction right here, for probably the most half, is not in model – when spinning on the identical precise speeds, Western Digital and Seagate drives devour roughly the identical quantity of energy.

To be truthful to Western Digital, you may’t purchase an Eight TB NAS drive that spins at 5,400 rpm in any respect. Each the Pink and Ironwolf entry-level NAS ranges from WD Pink and Seagate use 7,200 RPM spindles. To swimsuit the consuming public, “RPM” has a really particular that means, and there is not even a footnote within the WD Pink datasheet to clarify what – if something – “5400 RPM Efficiency Class” really means.

Response from Western Digital

After we reached out to Western Digital in the midst of researching this story, a consultant confirmed the conclusions of assorted discussion board guests and Redditors – that’s, “5400 RPM class” doesn’t imply a drive is spinning at 5,400 RPM.

For a few years, Western Digital has printed the velocity for chosen merchandise inside a “class” or “efficiency class” as an alternative of publishing particular spindle speeds. We additionally optimize chosen laborious drive platforms and their related laborious drive properties to create totally different variations of such platforms to fulfill totally different market or utility wants. On this approach we will use our economies of scale and move these financial savings on to our clients. As with all Western Digital product, our product particulars, together with efficiency, acoustics, and efficiency (information fee), are examined to fulfill the specs acknowledged on the product information sheet and advertising and marketing supplies.

In our editorial opinion, this reply, nonetheless polished, isn’t useful – neither is the as-yet undefined “RPM class” itself not useful. A client studying this information sheet turns into Extra confused by the advertising and marketing fluff, no much less. And the “typical shoppers” Western Digital could also be attempting to guard themselves from data they do not perceive are unlikely to even learn laborious drive datasheets.

Should you pardon an car analogy, we do not discover it as a lot as a window sticker on a V6 sedan declaring it “four-cylinder class” with out specifying what is definitely beneath the hood.

Itemizing picture by Brian Wong / Flickr


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