Overview Hard Disk Western Digital Se with a larger buffer: the fight for a place in the NAS

Overview Hard Disk Western Digital Se with a larger buffer: the fight for a place in the NAS


    Today we will test the corporate hard drive Western Digital WD1002F9YZ 1TB, which feature is capacious 128MB cache. And at the same time compare it in the first place, with the same drive Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5, and secondly, with a twin brother WD Se, cache size which is the usual 64MB.

    Not so long ago we tested the hard drive Enterprise Capacity 3.5 v3 (ST1000NM0033) from Seagate, the distinguishing feature of which is the cache size of 128 MB. Direct competitor, Western Digital, more than a year had the model number of similar decisions, but not so long line drives WD Se supplemented terabyte hard drive WD1002F9YZ, equipped with a 128-MB buffer.

    Announcement of the drive is notable for several reasons. Firstly, the hard drive Western Digital WD1002F9YZ with 128-MB buffer came very late – in fact hard drives Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 more than a year is the only solution with a capacious cache.

    Secondly, Western Digital Se did not change his code name, that is, the code WD1002F9YZ available and the “old” version of the buffer to 64 MB, and the new, more capacious buffer. And since the stock in warehouses “oldies” very large, it is necessary to specify the capacity of the cache when ordering.

    Third, Western Digital has equipped 128-MB buffer only the youngest – terabyte – a model in the line of Se, designed for NAS, and it suggests that the equipment cache hard drives larger volume is experimental – and on what to test, it does not on the junior model?

    As an indirect confirmation of this hypothesis is the presence of only one modification of the hard disk WD1002F9YZ, which involves interface SATA, no encryption and volume in 1 TB – while competitor terabyte model Enterprise Capacity 3.5 v3 is available in five versions (by the way, recently Seagate updated this line to v4).

    Check out this assumption about the experimental release of firmware and dampness can empirically. If the drive is not experimental and not raw, its performance should not be lower than the line drives with WD Se 64-MB buffer. That’s what we find out in the framework of testing.

    Line WD Se

    WD Se line is designed for networked storage and scale-out architectures, and is represented by four hard drives with SATA 3.0 interface and a capacity of 1, 2, 3, and 4 TB.

    Manufacturer WD
    Series WD Se
    Model number WD1002F9YZ WD2000F9YZ WD3000F9YZ WD4000F9YZ
    Form Factor 3.5
    Interface SATA 6Gb / s
    Capacity, TB
    1 2 3 4
    Rotational speed, r / min 7200
    Recording density of data GB/plate ND ND ND 800
    Number plates/heads ND ND ND 5.10
    Buffer Size, MB 64/128 64 64 64
    Sector size, bytes 4096
    Max.sustained sequential read speed, MB / s 187 164 168 171
    Max.sustained sequential write speed, MB / s
    Rotational latency, ms ND ND ND ND
    MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures), h 800000 1000000
    AFR (annualized failure rate),% ND
    Number of cycles head parking 300000
    Physical characteristics
    Power consumption idle / work, W 4.6 / 6.2 5.9 / 7.2 8.1 / 9.5
    Typical noise: idle / work, dBA 30/34 31/34
    Shock resistance, G: drive on / drive is disabled 30-65 (2ms) / 300 (2ms)
    Overall dimensions LxHxD mm 147×101,6×26,1
    Weight, g 450 700 750
    Warranty, years 5
    Estimated price $ 94
    $ 133 $ 185
    $ 241
    Cost per gigabyte $ 0.09
    $ 0.07
    $ 0.06
    $ 0.06

    In general, the most effective solution in the lineup is almost a top WD3000F9YZ drive with a capacity of 3 TB – it shows the best ratio “price – volume”, and today’s hero is the most unprofitable, showing the highest cost per gigabyte. But do not forget about double the cache, for which we are all gathered.


    Hard Drive, like most other drives shipped in an antistatic bag. Externally – disk as nothing unusual.

    Western Digital WD1002F9YZ: general view

    Western Digital WD1002F9YZ: top view

    PCB in WD Se, in contrast to the drive Seagate, very compact, and between it and the body – in contrast to competitor – no foam pads.

    Western Digital WD1002F9YZ: printed circuit board

    Interface Panel HDD is quite standard.

    Western Digital WD1002F9YZ: interfaces

    Technology and Features

    Dual processor (“two processors”)

    To ensure high performance hard drive uses two processors.

    Dynamic fly height technology (“dynamic fly height heads’)

    In order to achieve maximum reliability altitude of each of the read-write head is adjusted in real time.

    RAFF (protection from vibration)

    New generation RAFF technology includes the use of sophisticated electronic circuitry to monitor the operation of the drive and the simultaneous adjustment of both linear and rotational vibration in real time.

    Dual actuator technology (“dual-head positioning system”)

    The positioning system with two actuators heads, wherein increased precision placement head assembly over the track on the disc.

    Stable Trac

    The motor shaft is secured at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilize platters for accurate tracking of the head assembly during read and write operations.

    Multi-axis shock sensor (“multi-axis shock sensor”)

    Automatically detects the subtlest shock events and compensates to protect the data.

    TLER (“technology-limited error recovery time to work in RAID-arrays”)

    This technology prevents drive fallout for RAID-arrays, caused by the extended error-recovery processes.

    NoTouch ramp load technology (“technology park”)

    The recording head under any circumstances, do not touch the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit.

    Advanced Format

    Hard Drives with Advanced Format have a physical sector size of 4 Kbytes, whereas the traditional size is 512 bytes. The use of large sectors allows you to raise the capacity of hard disk due to increased efficiency formatting.

    Thermal extended burn-in test (“long-term trials to failure at different temperatures”)

    In order to ensure reliable operation of each drive is put through extended testing to failure at different temperatures.

    WD Se (1002F9YZ) vs Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 (ST1000NM0033)

    The main competitor of WD Se 1002F9YZ not assume Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 ST1000NM0033 as the closest to performance and the positioning of the hard drive: the volume of the same drives – 1TB; cache memory – 128 MB; positioning both drives – for NAS and horizontally scalable architectures; Spindle speed – 7200 rpm; Finally, the cost of both solutions is also about the same.

    It would seem to us the same hard drives, but it is not – there are differences: for example, Western Digital uses Advanced Format, ie the size of the physical sector it is 4 Kbytes, while Seagate – 512 bytes.

    Manufacturer Western Digital Seagate
    Series WD Se Enterprise Capacity 3.5
    Model number WD1002F9YZ ST1000NM0033
    Form Factor 3.5
    Interface SATA 6Gb / s
    Capacity, TB 1
    Rotational speed, r / min 7200
    Recording density of data GB / plate 800
    Number plates / heads ND 2.3
    Buffer Size, MB 128
    Sector size, bytes 4096 512
    Max.sustained sequential read speed, MB / s 187 175
    Max.sustained sequential write speed, MB / s
    Rotational latency, ms ND 4.16
    MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures), h 800000 1 400 000
    AFR (annualized failure rate),% ND 0.63
    Number of cycles head parking 300000 ND
    Physical characteristics
    Power consumption in idle / work, W 4.6 / 6.2 4.45 / 8.08
    Typical noise: idle / work, white 30/34 ND
    Shock: drive on / drive is disabled 30-65 (2ms) / 300 (2ms) 40-70 (2ms) / 300 (2ms)
    Overall dimensions LxHxD mm 147×101,6×26,1 147×101,85×26,1
    Weight, g 450 605
    Warranty, years 5
    Estimated price $ 94
    $ 89
    Cost per gigabyte $ 0.09
    $ 0.09

    In the process of studying the table we can see that in the product specifications of Seagate looks more impressive – and are almost twice as much resource time to failure, and lower cost per gigabyte, and a wider range of modifications – SATA / SAS-interface encryption , FIPS-encryption.

    Also worth noting is that the Seagate hard drives with 128 MB buffer present on the market for over a year, that is, firmware debugged, while Western Digital drive has only recently and therefore may not reveal their full potential due to dampness firmware. But that’s all, so to speak, on paper – well, we’ll check in practice, who will take the lead, showing the greatest performance.

    Test Procedure

    Iometer 1.1.0 RC1

    Sequential read / write data blocks of 512 bytes to 2 MB, and queue depth 4 (a typical depth for desktop tasks). Purity test blocks each size lasts for 30 seconds. The result is a plot of the data rate of the block size. Test blocks of each size lasts for one minute, so the results are valid only for data access in the “beginning” of the disc.

    Random read / write data in the entire volume disk blocks of 512 bytes to 2 MB, and queue depth 4 Sample test blocks of each size lasts for 30 seconds. Block boundaries are aligned with respect to the line with increments of 4 KB.

    Response time. Performed random read / write data to the entire volume of the disk blocks of 512 bytes, and queue depth 4 Since the test is for 10 minutes, disk buffer fills up, which makes it possible to assess the well-established response time of the drive. Data blocks are aligned with the 4-kilobyte markup.

    Multi-threaded load. With the drive at the same time work from one to four copies of the utility-generating load (workers, in the terminology of Iometer). Each worker performs a sequential read / write blocks of 64K with a queue depth of 1 Worker’y queries have access to disjoint address spaces with a volume of 100 GB, which are located in the bulk of the disk close to each other, starting from the zero sector. Measured aggregate performance of all worker’ov.

    PCMark 7

    Synthetic test that simulates real-world applications load and different patterns of use of computer resources. The benchmark is set on the main drive of the stand. On the test drive, create a single partition in the NTFS file system on all the available and PCMark 7, a test SecondaryStorage. As the results of the test is recorded as the final score, and the speed of the individual subtests.

    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64

    The benchmark is set on the main drive of the stand. On the test drive, create a single partition in the NTFS file system on all the available volume. Run all the tests three times: Seq, 512K, 4K, 4KQD32. Testing is carried out with different amounts of tasks: 50, 100, and 500 MB.


    As a test platform using a computer motherboard SuperMicro X10SAE, processor Intel Xeon E3-1245v3 and 32 GB of RAM DDR3 ECC 1600MHz. The test drive is connected to the controller built into the motherboard chipset, and operates in AHCI. Operating system – Windows 7 SP1 Maximum x64.

    Test participants

    • Western Digital Se 1TB (WD1002F9YZ)
    • Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 1TB (ST1000NM0033)
    • Western Digital Se 4 TB (WD4000F9YZ)
    • Seagate NAS 4TB (ST4000VN000)
    • Western Digital RE 4TB (WD4000FYYZ)
    • HGST Deskstar 7K4000 4TB (HDS724040ALE640)
    • Western Digital Velociraptor 1TB (WD1000DHTZ)

    Performance, Iometer

    Sequential read and write

    Sequential read speed test demonstrates the pros and cons of Advanced Format: reading small blocks (up to 4KB) hard drive Seagate ST1000NM0033 vastly superior competitor, and more than 4 KB blocks the situation is diametrically changed – Western Digital WD1002F9YZ shows 6% better performance.

    It is worth noting that the drive with WD Se buffer capacity of 128 MB (WD1002F9YZ) shows a 9% higher speed than fellow WD Se with 64MB cache (WD4000F9YZ).

    Sequential read, the overall situation is not changing – in small blocks drive Seagate ST1000NM0033 is the undisputed leader, and at large WD hard drive not only ahead of the competition, but also on the heels of “Velociraptor” with a spindle speed of 10,000 rpm. If we compare between a series of hard drives WD Se, a 128-megabyte buffer positive impact on performance WD1002F9YZ, giving him 9 th% speedup.

    Established response time

    In this sub-test the new hard drive WD1002F9YZ made much worse competitor: if the drive ST1000NM0033 demonstrated record low latency, the drive WD1002F9YZ showed record high latency when recording – almost 39 ms. If you look at a classmate – WD Se 4 TB – and roughly equal delays in reading, one can only say that the great response time for recording, probably associated with the raw firmware.

    Random read

    Random read confrontation drives with 128MB cache is victorious Seagate – depending on the size of blocks ST1000NM0033 ahead of competitors by 5-15%. Increasing the buffer twice practically does not affect the performance of line drives WD Se – both drives show similar performance.

    Unlike Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5, WD Se drive does not show an impressive figure IOPS and behind the competitor by 15% – is also worth noting that it lags behind even from WD Re. As for the buffer size, it allows you to raise the bar increase productivity by an average of 4%.

    Random write

    Speed ‚Äč‚Äčtest random write prefers drive Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5, which is ahead of the competition by an average of 10% more than 4KB blocks – in small blocks, as expected, Advanced Format times reduces the performance of WD Se.

    It should be noted that the blocks of 2 MB cause difficulties for WD Se c 128-megabyte cache, which can not be said about the 64-megabyte version that does not have a failure rate. Crude firmware?

    If the results of a performance test I / O drive Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 pleasing to the eye, showing the best performance of drives with a spindle speed of 7200 revolutions per minute, the results WD1002F9YZ opposite – in small blocks (up to 4KB) drive shows the lowest results of all then, with the size of the blocks, it bypasses “deskstar” and Seagate NAS, but a direct competitor to catch up does not work. It is worth noting that fellow WD Se 64-MB buffer shows great speed, which indirectly again speaks of dampness firmware WD1002F9YZ.

    Multithreaded reading

    Multithreaded reading subtest surprises – Drive WD Se 1TB shows the best performance among classmates, and it’s worth noting that it is similar to the behavior of Velociraptor, the spindle speed which is 10 000 revolutions per minute – no slump in performance with increasing flows of up to two.

    Obviously, capacious cache allows caching queries correctly – because WD Se 64-MB buffer behaves like all the other discs, showing the failure of the transition to the two threads. In this subtest uniquely victory for WD.

    Multithreaded record

    In subtests multithreaded recording drive WD1002F9YZ not show these signs when reading, – behind the competitor average of about 5-8%. It is worth noting that the behavior of a series of drives WD Se with different cache size varies: the single thread speed up a drive with a 64-MB buffer, and in multi-threaded load – with 128MB of cache.

    PCMark 7

    In the overall drive WD1002F9YZ showed 5% less performance than a direct competitor – ST1000NM0033, it is worth to note that the model with a 64-MB buffer showed a further 5% less performance than the hero of this test.

    Analyzing in detail the results of testing, we can identify those disciplines in which each of the drives wins over the other. WD1002F9YZ drive from Western Digital took the lead only subtests Adding Music and Windows Defender, in other tasks he loses direct competitor, ST1000NM0033.


    As is the case with the drive Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5, HDD 1TB WD Se demonstrates the high efficiency of caching with sequential read, and when reading blocks of 512 KB, provided that the volume of tasks much less buffer capacity – 50 MB vs. 128.

    Increased task up to 100 MB did not reduce speed and sequential read in blocks of 512 KB – rightly so, because the scope of the problem is still less than the capacity of cache.

    Increased task to 500 MB twice reduces sequential read speed and five times – in blocks of 512 bytes. Size of the problem is much greater than the capacity of the cache – almost four times, and here’s the result.


    In general, the drive WD1002F9YZ turned out very productive: it shows comparable with the results of a competitor, Seagate ST1000NM0033, speed, even if it loses in most tests: the strength of the drive WD Se relative to competitor is sequential read and write large blocks, as well as multi-threaded reading; weak – random read and write multi-threaded entry, as well as Advanced Format, due to which any operations with small blocks (up to 4KB) have an extremely low rate.

    If we talk about the quality of the firmware, it should be noted an extremely high response time to record the model with 128-MB buffer, which can not be said about the model with half the cache. It should also be noted failures in performance relative to a model with a 64-MB buffer at an arbitrary recording. In general, there is a problem in the firmware, and it is necessary to build upon. This would explain the appearance of a capacious buffer only for a younger model.

    As for the comparison drives WD Se with different buffer size, then the 128MB cache allows you to increase productivity in a number of tests, and, for example, in a multi-threaded test reading – get rid of the strongly pronounced performance drops with increasing number of threads.

    To summarize: the confrontation with the buffer storage 128 MB failed – Drives show comparable performance and, possibly, drive WD1002F9YZ will also tighten its results after the firmware upgrade. But in the corporate sector is important not only drive performance, but also its reliability – in this perspective, Seagate looks more attractive: here and almost twice as many hours MTBF, and a lower cost per gigabyte, and a wide range of modifications that allow to pick a SATA interface / SAS, and the presence / absence of encryption or no encryption standard FIPS 140-2.

    Thus, according to all the parameters of the corporate decision Seagate look more attractive – as a result, in the struggle for the corporate market of hard disks with a capacity of 128 MB buffer designed for NAS, the winner goes Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5.

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