Review: WD Black² Dual Drive (120GB SSD + 1TB HDD)

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Review: WD Black² Dual Drive (120GB SSD + 1TB HDD)

Dubbed as the world’s first 2.5-inch dual drive, the WD Black² Dual Drive was sent to us recently for review. This one is essentially a 2.5-inch hard drive that combines a 1-terabyte hard disk drive and 120-gigabyte solid-state drive. Having said that though, the WD Black² isn’t really a hybrid drive. This one has two separate drives in a single package, sharing the same SATA interface, unlike most hybrid drives that use SSD as an invisible cache built-in. So what really is the advantage of putting two different drives together into one single package? For starters, most hybrid drves come with around 8GB worth of cache.

The WD Black² Dual Drive comes with a whopping 120GB of SSD storage space. That means you get to decide what data goes on which drive and you get the performance of an SSD at all times. But does the drve stand up to all the hype around it? Let’s find out. The drive comes in at a premium pricing of $249. For the premium pricing, you get a nice looking packaging that includes the Black² Dual Drive, a quick install manual, a USB drive with the installation software, and a USB 3.0 to SATA cable. Out of the box, WD ships the Black² with the SSD portion already partitioned. So you know that your OS and apps are definitely installed on the fastest part of the drive. WD Black Squared - 4 Installing the drive is pretty much the same you would install most hard drives. But, the SSD shows up only once you install the Windows-only Dual Drive driver. Once the software is installed, the HDD will appear as another partition. The utility will work regardless of whether the drive is a primary or secondary drive. However, the HDD portion doesn’t work if connected over USB – so you can only copy the ‘boot data’ over before an upgrade when using a laptop.

In order to test the SSD part of the drive, we brought it to a clean new state, as if just out of factory, by using a free utility called HDDerase. We used a 100GB woth test dump, which included application installation files, movies, music, documents, excel sheets, PSD files and so on, in order to assess the read and write speeds of the drive. We ran the tests for a total of three times, before we took the averages of the scores into consideration for the results. Benchmarks we used for the testing of this drive includes AS-SSD, ATTO, PCMark 7, and CrystalDiskMark. WD Black Squared - 2 After running all the tests, we found out that on the performance front, the WD Black² Dual Drive’s SSD wasn’t the fastest around. In AS-SSD, the drive’s sequential write speed, was reported as 138MB/s. Though this may be OK for laptop users, it trails far behind when compared to SSDs that offer sequential write speeds of over 200MB/s. In CrystalDiskMark, again, the WD Black² Dual Drive delivers only 143MB/s, compared to over 250 MB/s a few SSDs can offer. However, having said that, the WD Black² Dual Drive aces the read speed tests, one of the main reasons why people prefer SSDs over HDDs.

In our AS-SSD tests, the WD Black² Dual Drive offered 405MB/s, while offering 442MB/s in CrystalDiskMark tests. Also, in random read and write speed tests, the SSD of the WD Black² Dual Drive performed quite well. Having said all of that, we are quite amazed with what WD has done with the Black² Dual Drive. It isn’t easy squeezing in a 120GB solid state drive and 1TB hard disk drive, into a single 2.5-inches device. WD has manged to done that with perfection and they indeed earn our kudos for that. While the Black² Dual Drive does offer almost the same responsive, and speedy performance SSD users have some to expect, we feel the expensive price tag could be the only detterence.

Price: $249.

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