Caviar Black is Western Digital's new high-end brand, and the company clearly believes its new 1TB 3.5in hard disk is a killer drive. With three 334GB platters and a large 32MB cache, it promises a full terabyte of storage and super-fast data transfer.
Regular readers may be experiencing a certain sensation of déją vu
, because the Samsung Spinpoint F DT
, already sitting pretty on our A List, offers precisely the same specifications. So if you're in the market for a drive like this, the question boils down to what the Western Digital offers that the Samsung
Our tests revealed that the answer isn't speed. That's not to say the WD is a slouch: its peak read speed of 115MB/sec at the outer edge of the platter is among the fastest we've seen. But the Samsung still nudges ahead, with a maximum rate of 124MB/sec.
It's the same story with burst speed: against most drives, the WD's 225MB/sec would make it a winner. But the Samsung once again pips it to the post, managing 236MB/sec.
In terms of power, there was nothing to choose between the drives - both added a pleasingly low average of 7W to our system's total power consumption when idle.
And acoustically we're bound to say we preferred the Samsung. The Western Digital may have been no louder when idle, but while the Samsung's seek noise was almost imperceptible, the Western Digital made an audible metallic clicking, like a spider scuttling across the platter.
There is one area where the Caviar Black convincingly bests the Spinpoint: it comes with a five-year warranty, as opposed to the three-year deal offered by Samsung. If you're looking for maximum reliability, that could be a reason to pick the Western Digital.
But that lone advantage doesn't come cheaply. While the Spinpoint can be had online for £76 exc VAT, right now the Caviar Black will set you back at least £100.