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  Western Digital Caviar 100GB 8/10. Date Posted 07/08/2002.

Western Digital have a good reputation for building hard drives. I have had owned many computers in the past, yet I could not remember ever owning a WD drive. So it was time for a change! I used a pair of Western Digital Caviar 100GB drives in a RAID array. At the time they seemed like good value, costing around 160 pounds each, cheaper than any SCSI drives of a similar size. Using DVExpert, which reads and writes a 100GB file, I found that the RAID array could transfer nearly 70MB/s. Unfortunately one of the WD drives failed, after about six months, and thus so did the RAID array. Up until that point I had been very impressed by these WD drives. They rotated at 7200rpm, yet were not noisy, only ticking slightly when data was fetched. One drive still worked and I tested it out using an ordinary Ultra 100 interface on my motherboard. The drive transfer was lower (since I was no longer using RAID) but was still a perfectly respectable 30MB/s write and 25MB/s read.

The drive failure did give me a chance to try out Western Digital customer services. It was quite easy, simply go there website and download a diagnostic program. This will confirm whether you need to change the drive. In my case it advised me to send to the European service department. I sent it along with an RMA and specially packed (it gives you guidance on how to pack the disk). A week later the drive came back refurbished and ready to use. Quite efficient I have to say! However, I have to point out that I have not yet tried out the refurbished drive in my computer. All WD drives come with a 3 year guarentee.

There are no newer models of this drive, boasting higher capacities, and also larger caches (particularly important for servers and workstations, which need to fetch a lot of data quickly). It has to be noted though, that the new Serial ATA interface is being released soon, to supercede the Ultra ATA interface. It might be an idea to wait for these new Serial ATA drives. Also by then large capacity Ultra ATA drives are likely to be phased out, and you could get a bargain on a drive like this. If you need a quick large capacity drive in the near future, I can recommend this drive, and certainly from reading about on the internet it does not seem to have had many problems like similar IBM drives.