back to article Flash stash on toppa platta: WD's tasty Black² 1TB combo for LAPTOPS

WD hopes to whet the appetites of laptop owners and serious gamers who have the need for speed AND capacity: it has launched a 1TB Black spinning disk drive with a 120GB SSD stuffed inside its case. The Black2 has a notebook 2.5-inch disk drive form factor, with a 9.5mm z-height and will bring joy and delight to Windows notebook …

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You had my curiosity. But now you have my Attention.

I like the idea of the Split drives in one platter more than the Hybrid drive: It seems a a long list of caveats, but that's to be expected for a Ver. 1 product. Nice one, WD.

Kinda sad from a nostalgia point of view if they're going to kill the (veloci)raptor drives - they were amazing, back in the day. They should re-brand the Black2 to carry on the name as it carries on it's spirit: The perfect halfway house between consumer and enterprise product.

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Linux

Windows yes, OSX no...

Linux support?

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Re: Windows yes, OSX no...

Various articles on the Interblag suggest not.

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Shame it's not supported on Apple kit

This would be a great upgrade for my 2010 Mac mini. I know Apple's equivalent is their "fusion drive", but I can't seem to find this as a standalone purchase - and no doubt it wouldn't be cheap.

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Re: Shame it's not supported on Apple kit

>I know Apple's equivalent is their "fusion drive", but I can't seem to find this as a standalone purchase

You can't find the Fusion Drive for sale because it is not a physical product- it's actually a Logical Volume Manager baked into OSX's CoreStorage.

You can build your own Fusion Drive if have a suitable Mac*:

http://blog.macsales.com/17624-os-x-10-8-3-provides-fusion-drive-setup-option-for-non-fusion-drive-equipped-macs

*if you have one of the following:

A Mac that you can install both a Solid State Drive and a Hard Disk Drive into. So that’s the iMac (2009 or newer), MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer) with Data Doubler, or MacBook Pro (Late 2008 or newer) again with Data Doubler, Mac mini (Early / Late 2009, Mid 2010 Server, and Mid 2011 or newer) with Data Doubler Kit or Data Doubler where applicable, or Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer).

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Anonymous Coward

HTPC

Nice idea for a compact home theatre PC but the price is all wrong as you can buy a 120gb 2.5 SSD and a 1tb 2.5 HD together for £120.

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Re: HTPC

My thought too, interesting idea, but at what price!! Seems to be 100%+ mark-up!

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Anonymous Coward

Storage Review don't rate it too highly

Storage Review have already reviewed this drive and the performance of the SSD part is sub-par when compared to standalone SSD's. Granted that this could be down to the shared SATA connection, but for those that want performance it isn't really going to cut the mustard when you can now buy a true high performance SSD of 1TB for under double the price (going to get more than double the performance across the board as well). Power savings going from a platter based drive to this one were negligible and the drive drew the same power regardless of SSD or platter based section tested. Essentially this is just a more expensive SSHD hybrid with a larger "cache" that can be used as a separate partition.

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Re: Storage Review don't rate it too highly

But its faster than spinning rust.

I myself have a synapse cache and love the benefits, of course you will be aware it doesnt come anywhere near pure ssd performance but its faster than spinning rust.

When that comes into a price this will be something I will look at because as far as I am concerned its convenient and doesnt give me any more FPS for any of my games and pfft a few seconds more loading time I'll get over it.

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I don't really get it

So this is basically two separate drives in one physical space and behaves exactly like a 2 drive system?

Surely what people really want is a 1TB SSD and so hybrids pretend to be that, but this seems like a backward (and expensive) step. I can'e see any advantage except the two drives into one slot for a small form factor. If so, I don't care about (or for) it.

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About time

I had been wondering just how long it would take for a product like this to appear. I had even been wondering if it was technically possible to even present two devices down a single SATA connection.

Perfect for my purposes as it roughly echoes how my desktop is configured.

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Re: About time

" I had even been wondering if it was technically possible to even present two devices down a single SATA connection."

The technical term you are seeking is "sata port multiplier"

Theyr'e irritating bits of shite, as are WD drives

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Basically, they were lazy

This needs caching algorithms in hardware and appear is a single 1TB drive. Have, say, 16GB partitioned off as write cache, so all writes hit this first, flushing to the platter internally when platter requests are low. Other than that, fill up ssd first, over time, kick out infrequently read data and pull more frequently used data from the platter.

What they've done is lazy and a bit silly. You're not getting the most out of the ssd.

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Anonymous Coward

This sounded brilliant..

..until you got past the headlines.

I was thinking of a huge mutant version of the Seagate Momentus, a hybrid device that works wonderfully with any OS.

This seems not to, and be very similar to what I get from my little Crucial SSD cache/Dataplex setup on my second drive (spinning rusty glass for big stuff, boot drive is a Samsung SSD).

I really don't see why I'd want this.

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Re: This sounded brilliant..

Agreed. It's a hack job, with a terribly slow SSD from the specs.

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You missed the point

For everyone who is saying it's worse and more expensive than getting two separate drives, you missed the part where the article says it is aimed as an "upgrade option for notebooks, [and] small form-factor PCs with a single drive slot".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You missed the point

" it is aimed as an "upgrade option for notebooks, [and] small form-factor PCs with a single drive slot"."

But I can already do that with a hybrid drive, can't I?

And with that approach, the software "just works", regardless of OS.

What advantage does this give me?

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Re: You missed the point

No you can't. At least not in my experience. I've already put a hybrid drive in my laptop which uses SSD as a cache (a Momentus XT), and it performs nothing like my desktop, where I have a separate SSD for the system disk and use 2TB HDDs for data. Yes, it's better than a normal laptop drive, but it still struggles with things like system updates. Admittedly, the hybrid drives have nothing like 128GB of flash, but I, personally, would like to manage what is placed where. Cache algorithms are all very well, but they tend to fail where there are periods of intensive activity (such as system updates or software installs) which are relatively infrequent, yet cripplingly slow when they occur.

Also, if you assign all that 128GB in a "traditional" cache arrangement (as the hybrid drives do), then you lose that much space. If you go for a more sophisticated approach to avoid that loss of space (which effectively migrates data seamlessly between slow and fast store), then you have to put up with the overhead and the unpredictability.

Of course separating your data and OS is an essential of this approach, but frankly it's good practice to do so, In fact, when I get a new machine, my first approach is always to re-partition to get functional separation. That makes it much, much easier to run robust backup and restore regimes. That separation is good practice, whether you are running a massive server or a laptop.

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Tested on PS4

A similar drive was tested on a PS4. Yes it is slower than a true SSD but it is a lot faster than a bog standard HDD. It is also a lot bigger and cheaper than any SSD. It dynamically moves stuff to and from the SSD part so at first it is slow to load but on the next attempt it is faster. I can't see what is not to like.

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Re: Tested on PS4

But it does NOT (on its own) move stuff "to and from the SSD" does it? It's presented as two drives, and you have to decide which "stuff" goes on SSD and what goes to HDD. Not that that's *too* difficult, and it is useful, particularly for a bay with only one SATA connection. But for a gamer, 120GB starts to get quite small, and you can't tell a game installer to put the main files on the SSD and all the cut scene videos on the HDD. It would be possible, but the installer and game/application have to be written to handle that.

Why do they not specify the RPMs of the HDD? They say "N/A" ...

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at £250 you could very nearly get a 500GB SSD

price seems a bit high, for now much more you could get a 500GB SSD and if I had to choose I'd rather have the SSD

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This sounds like a mess

As the title says, this sounds like a bit of a mess and a bit of a bodge job. IMO any storage device aimed at the laptop market that needs proprietary drivers to get it to work is something that in all honesty needs to be avoided.

This article is vague in terms of how the drive actually presents itself to the system - I'm not interested in user land. Does it present itself as two separate drives, or is it simply not visible until WD's proprietary drivers are installed? If it's the former then it should be useable in Linux and Mac OS environments, and theoretically it would be possible to roll your own fusion drive with it on a mac if that's the case. If on the other hand the drive is simply a dead duck without the specific drivers then it's a pretty bad investment - who knows if the next windows service pack will break it.

Nice idea but it seems somewhat screwed up at the moment.

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Re: This sounds like a mess

From the info on WD's site (in the product FAQ):

Software is required to unlock the 1 TB portion of the dual drive. The SSD portion is available to install/clone the OS to it.

It's not clear whether it's only an OS driver, or if something is also modified in the drive's firmware (implied by "software is required to unlock the 1TB portion"). It appears that (but is not clear, to me at least) the SSD firmware is the access point to the HDD, and special software/driver is required to talk to the SSD.

Right now it sounds a bit half-baked, and not an option for me since it does not support Linux.

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Another Christmas with "Sorry, we don't do 1Tb SSD's, yet... here, have a bone"?

Saved myself some precious money on my own "present" then.

Seriously until you can put all your storage onto SSD transparently, it's just not worth the faffing about.

Have a laptop with 2 1Tb drives in it. They are filling fast. If you're not quick, next Christmas I'll be expecting 2Tb SSD's to be in this price range.

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samsung 840 pro

There is no other. Ive tried just about every other manufacturer and the failure rate on them is 30% or so. Crucial ocz sandusk corsair all fail. I build a lot of pcs in my shop. Samsung is rock solid and blazingly fast. Havent had a single drive fail out of 50 plus drives yet. Christ...buy a 1tb external and duct tape it to the lid if you need that much space for shit. Or you know, just put it in the laptop bag.

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Why Windows only?

The idea that a hard drive is Windows only just seems ludicrous to me. Heaven forbid anybody else uses the drives!

Reminds me of the era of winprinters, where manufacturers were lazy and/or cheap and cut as many corners as possible. This certainly doesn't fill me with confidence regarding the quality of their product.

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Nearly an alternative to my current setup

Like the idea.

I've got a 250 GB Samsung 830 as main drive in my laptop and a 1 TB HDD where the DVD r/w once was. I'd consider getting it and plugging the optical drive back in, or leaving the second slot as is giving me ~2 TB which I may end up needing further down the line. I like to have all my data with me since I never seem to know upfront what I'll need.

Without Linux support I'm afraid it's not a sale though.

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Re: Nearly an alternative to my current setup

"a 1 TB HDD where the DVD r/w once was."

thats a really interesting idea - did you jerry rig it yourself or is there a commercial product for doing that?

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Re: Nearly an alternative to my current setup

I'm using a Thinkpad T410 with this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Drive-Caddy-Lenovo-Thinkpad-Ultrabay/dp/B005XCQJGO

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