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Review: Western Digital WD20FYPS 2TB SATA-II Hard Drive

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This review covers the Western Digital RE4-GP drive, also known as the WD20FYPS 2TB SATA model.  Previous reviews:

http://www.thestoragearchitect.com/2009/09/08/review-western-digital-wd20eads-2tb-sata-ii-hard-drive/

THw WD20FYPS is a 2TB SATA drive from Western Digital’s Enterprise Drive range.  It boasts a larger cache and a whole range of features that should boost performance and reliability.  But are these benefits really worth the additional cost?

The Basics

The drive itself is a standard 3.5″ model and like its domestic equivalent the WD20EADS, weighs in at 730g.  It also has 4 platters and 8 heads, but offers an increased cache of 64MB and a constant speed of 7200RPM.  The four platters (or 8 surfaces) translate to a density of approximately 400Gb/in².  Here are the drive basics:

  • wdfEnterprise_RE4_GPModel Name: WD20FYPS
  • Capacity: 2TB (2,000,398MB)
  • Form Factor: 3.5″
  • Platters: 4
  • Areal Density: 400Gb/in²
  • Interface: SATA 3Gb/s
  • Rotational Speed: 7200RPM
  • Max Sustained Throughput: 110MB/s
  • Power (Typical): 6.8W
  • Power (Idle): 3.7W
  • Power (Standby): 0.8W

Advanced Features

The WD RE4 range sports a number of interesting features.  In fact every time a new drive comes out from one of the major manufacturers it seems to include new innovations.  On this range we have:

  • Dual Actuator Technology – improves the accuracy of reads by using both mechanical and electronic positioning.
  • Dual Processors – improved processing power.
  • StableTrac – extra secure motor mountings to reduce vibration.
  • RAFF (Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward) – reduces vibration issues in server & storage environments.
  • Intelliseek – optimising of the seek speed to position the read head efficiently to reduce power and noise.
  • RAID-TLER – Time limited error recovery to reduce the risk of soft RAID failures.

Clearly all these enhancements are intended to eke out more speed and performance from hard drives.  Let’s see how this one compares in the performance tests.

Performance Graphs

TSA - WD20FYPS - Graph 1The first graph shows sequential write performance for the drive, which peaks at around 106MB/s.  Host cache settings have little effect and over the WD20FYPS model (which has less internal cache), performance is improved by around 7%.

As expected the drive performs well when caching is enabled, but throughput is extremely poor with totally random writes and no cache.

WD20FYPS - Chart 2WD20FYPS - Chart 3WD20FYPS - Chart 4

WD20FYPS - Chart 5

Summary

Double internal cache doesn’t provide much of an up-tick on performance and perhaps doesn’t justify the increased cost.  In fact, more performance would be gained using host-based caching or the use of a dedicated RAID or I/O card.

The next review will look at Seagate’s 2TB drive and compare performance to higher performance drives.

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
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