Being the thrifty person that I am, when I saw news online of a Western Digital My Book 10Tb external hard drive being sold for just under AU$250 delivered from Amazon, I couldn’t pass up the offer. It was a bit of an impulse, but rarely are such high-capacity drives so cheap.
As usual, none of my precious data hits any drive until it’s passed my commissioning tests which include a number of benchmarks, so I thought I’d post them up and call this a quick review.
It seems that WD has gone all bright and high-contrast with its packaging design, with an almost fluorescent green, white and black colour scheme. The front of the box portrays with drive, with its “ribbed” mid-section being part of the diagonal stripe design. It advertises a 10TB capacity, 3-year warranty with backup and security features.
The rear carries a short blurb of features, contents and compatibility information.
The sides of the box are rather plain, with the underside carrying the regulatory compliance logos, trademark information and the unique information about the unit including serial number. This unit is model WDBBGB01000HBK-NESN with the part number suffixed in -NA, presumably for North American market. The unit is a Product of Thailand.
Opening the box, I was greeted with a surprise – the flap asks us to follow them on social media. That’s new and seemingly rather unnecessary.
The drive and inclusions are packed neatly and safely. Through the ventilation grilles, we can see the two serial numbering labels on the end of the drive – this layout is very much a tradition for Hitachi drives. This is no surprise given that Western Digital bought Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, developers of the Helioseal technology. This implies that the included drive is a helium-based unit, which is perhaps a little surprising given the low price.
Fully unpacked, there is the drive, power adapter, USB cable and a leaflet of sorts.
A close look at the leaflet shows something I’ve not seen on my previous purchases – a binding individual arbitration and class action waiver agreement. This means that you’re basically not going to be taking them to court with a class action lawsuit no matter how rough their product might be … I think the inclusion of this clause is a little disappointing but perhaps that’s just what happens in a society where everyone’s looking out for their own interests.
As usual, a USB 3.0 A to microB cable is included, with the Western Digital specific rounded connector moulding.
The power supply comes from Asian Power Devices, another familiar brand.
Unfortunately, as this product came from the US market, they have included a two vertical prong power adapter. While other brands of hard drives have been shipped with multiple-heads for different regions, this seems to be the exception, but can easily be solved with a plug adapter or creative bending of the prongs (at your own risk).
The finish of the drive is exactly as depicted in the box art. A mix between a ribbed-matte finish and a glossy reflective black plastic, it’s not bad …
The brand is shown up-front with the model name on the rear. Connection ports are provided with a Kensington lock slot. No power button is provided as the drive decides when to run or sleep based on the USB link status.
The underside features two rubber feet and ventilation grilles top and bottom.
The drive is recognised as two devices – the USB Mass Storage Device (VID 1058 PID 25EE) and a WD SES Device for the secure encryption feature.
The drive comes pre-formatted in exFAT, which seems like an interesting although perhaps compatible choice of filesystem (as compared to NTFS). It comes with installer stubs to install Discovery for both Windows and Mac. Windows likes to create a “System Volume Information” folder upon mounting – I suspect this may not have been on the drive as shipped. Free capacity is listed as 10,000,779,968,512 bytes for a total capacity of 10,000,789,405,696 bytes (or 9.09TiB). At larger capacities, the difference between a TB and TiB increases.
Testing was performed with my “new” workstation using the onboard chipset USB 3.0 ports on my AMD Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.80GHz on an Asus PRIME X370-PRO running the latest version of Microsoft Windows 10.
The drive passes SMART data and ATA Identity, which can be read using CrystalDiskInfo. The drive inside is reported to be a WDC WD100EZAZ-11TDBA0 with a rotation rate of 5400RPM. The drive passed all testing and was run for 117 hours without any signs of issues, although the temperature did reach 49 degrees C at its peak.
Sequential read speeds peaked at 206.6MB/s and averaged 164.8MB/s. This is not a bad result, although could be better if the drive had a 7200RPM spindle speed.
The write speed profile is nearly identical, peaking at 206.2MB/s and averaging 164.7MB/s. The drive seems to have a very large number of zones resulting in a very smooth staircase profile.
A full random write and verify was used to ensure the drive capacity was available without any defect. Despite the decent drive speed, the size of the drive meant that a full write and verify took close to 33.5 hours.
Additional tests were also performed, with results much in line with expectations.
Based on an empty drive formatted in NTFS, the CrystalDiskMark results above show 205.3MB/s sequential read and 206.5MB/s sequential write, with 4kB access results being mostly similarly slow at 0.7-0.8MB/s read and 2.9MB/s write.
Repeating the same test in ATTO shows that full performance is achieved with 64kB accesses. Below 4kB, a significant hit is observed as the drive is advanced format with a native 4kiB sector size.
H2testW similarly succeeded with no errors indicating perfect data integrity. When writing to larger drives, it is normal to encounter an error as the filesystem increases in size as the test data files are written, resulting in the expected free space being exhausted faster than usual.
As it turns out, it is true that a 10TB hard drive can be had for under AU$250 delivered, when it’s on sale. This is the first helium drive in my collection and passed all tests flawlessly, although longevity is yet to be proven. As it has a 5400RPM spindle speed, it’s not the fastest hard drive around, but it’s still no slouch. I’d have to say that I probably got more than my money’s worth, as the cheapest 10TB external hard drive is about AU$395, with bare 10TB drives running around AU$465. It’s no wonder these external drives are a target for being “shucked”.