Western Digital WD740ADFD: Bottled Lightning

by Gary Key on 2/7/2007 3:30 AM EST
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  • AnnonymousCoward - Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - link

    Good review. I don't think I'll ever buy one of these. For as expensive as they are, the storage size is small and the performance diff is minuscule. Sims2 loading: 30s vs 31s! MP4 conversion: 3:04 vs 3:14! Amazing!

    Then the thermals and acoustics are really bad.
    Reply
  • Lakeshow - Friday, February 09, 2007 - link

    I think 74GB is plenty for an OS drive (hell even 36GB should suffice). Sure a 500 gig is cheaper, but I would never use that as my OS drive: simply too much stuff to back up when doing a reformat. Yeah I can do partitions, but then file transfer between partitions is much slower than between two drives, which is why I have my 74GB Raptor as OS drive, 500 giger as D:/storage drive, and then a 36GB Raptor as E: drive for torrent downloads.
    Reply
  • JonathanYoung - Thursday, February 08, 2007 - link

    I think the graphs look great, but in the ones with minutes and seconds, I would suggest using a colon (e.g. 3:05) to denote minutes:seconds instead of a decimal, which makes me think 3.05 minutes (3 minutes 3 seconds). Thanks. Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, February 08, 2007 - link

    We have an updated graphing engine coming on-line in the next few weeks that hopefully will fix that issue. It bugs me to no end to use the decimal point in that way. ;) Reply
  • TheBeagle - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    Gary, as usual, you did a helluva job on a first-class review on these new generation Raptor drives. However, you especially captured my attention when you wrote "Although TLER is disabled by default, a utility is available from Western Digital to enable TLER." The existence of such a "utility" was a revelation to me. I have a couple of these same 74 GB and 150GB drives, each running in pairs in a RAID 1 environment, and I didn't have any knowledge of such an enabling/disabling "utility." Can you share the source for such a little delight and how we mere mortals get our hands in such a thing? Thanks again for a stellar report, and now we can just hope that WD adopts perpendicular recording (ala 7200.10) and SATA II specs for a world-beater drive. TheBeagle Reply
  • TheBeagle - Saturday, February 17, 2007 - link

    I got WD to send me a copy of the TLER "utility." To my surprise, when you run it on new generation Raptor or "YS" series drives, it shows you some very interesting information. First of all there are two (2) separate TLER setting for these drives, namely a read setting and a write setting. On Raptor drives, BOTH ARE DISABLED from the factory! That's right, even though WD advertises this feature as being built into the Raptor drives, it's NOT OPERATIONAL unless you get your hands on the "secret" utility and activate it. On the YS drives, ONLY THE READ feature is activated, and the write feature is disabled. BTW, although WD says that the TLER feature on YS series drives cannot be disabled, the utility has a command that will do just that, disable both the read and write (if you have activated it) feature on those drives. I think WD has some serious explaining to do about all of this, since they (WD) have been creating a false impression to the buying public about these TLER features in these drives! Reply
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    he is right it all comes down to your usages pattern, in general home users don't need Raid O. However, if u happen to say be running a webserver from home, or doing alot of Disk intensive stuff its a good investment, but the original Comment still stands.

    I would never go raid 0 in a gaming rig, a 75/150 Raptor + Storage drive is a far more optimal solution.
    Reply
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    hey is right it all comes down to your usages pattern, in general home users don't need Raid O. However, if u happen to say be running a webserver from home, or doing alot of Disk intensive stuff its a good investment, but the original Comment still stands.

    I would never go raid 0 in a gaming rig, a 75/150 Raptor + Storage drive is a far more optimal solution.
    Reply
  • Brassbullet - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    So does the fact that I have a WD740ADFD-00NLR as my Windows XP boot drive and a Seagate 7200.10 750 GB as my "My Documents" location mean I'm living the I/O dream? I've had this setup for months and didn't really think much of it, man was this article a PC ego booster!! Reply
  • littlebitstrouds - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    This makes me feel good about the $109 I just paid for my new 150gig at BB because I Vista too. Reply
  • Genx87 - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    Once you have one you cant go back :D
    They are wonderful drives. The capacity issue isnt a big deal unless you are opting for the 36GB version. I havent had a need for excessive amounts of capacity since I built my sever a couple of years ago.

    I built a server with a pair of the 36GBs with a 500GB array behind it for storage. It is a very nice step up from the pair of 80GB 7200 rpm drives in there before.
    Reply
  • aka1nas - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    They definately make great OS/Applications drives if you back them up with a bigger drive for bulk storage. Reply
  • Genx87 - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    oops forgot to mention my machine at home has the newest 74GB raptor in it. Which is an upgrade from the 1st run 74GB raptor in my old machine.

    Blazing fast, as usual.
    Reply
  • Muzzy - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    "Of course, if you are into benchmarking or run a lot of disk intensive applications, then a pair of Raptors in RAID 0 will be even better."

    Um, aren't you guys contradicting yourself here? In July 1st, 2004 article about Raptor drives in RAID-0, you stated "If you haven't gotten the hint by now, we'll spell it out for you: there is no place, and no need for a RAID-0 array on a desktop computer." I love my 150GB Raptor despite the noise, don't get me wrong. Really do wish though that other company would give WD some competition in this category. $190 for 150GB??
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    Most people don't really care about running benchmarks for bragging rights, and most desktop users do not "run a lot of disk intensive applications". We don't think RAID 0 is even remotely necessary for 99% of people, but there are still benchmarks where it is obviously faster. If you have BitTorrent running in the background with other networked computers streaming data off of the same drive and you start to run games that load off of the same drive, yes, RAID 0 will clearly outperform a single drive. That's more of a server/workstation workload, which is why we say that RAID 0 on a desktop computer isn't needed. Reply
  • Axbattler - Thursday, February 08, 2007 - link

    *Ponders*

    Where RAID-0 excels is in STR performance. Loading of applications that benefit from STR (e.g. XP), copying a large massive file, working with a large massive file (video editing) etc. are applications where you will see a significant gain with RAID-0.

    RAID-0 may well be faster than a single drive identical drive in most applications (you do pay slightly in access time, but the gain from STR can probably offset it more often than not).. But how about a well two individual drives in a reasonably configured system? I am not convinced that in the scenario that you've described (which, I do not believe reflects the nature of the workload in a server in the first place), that you are necessarily better off with RAID-0 than two individual drives. I would rather have one drive running the game, and the other doing the streaming/torrenting. Game loading time is not exactly where I've seen RAID-0 shine the most (and once the game is running, you'll pretty much get no gain from RAID-0).
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, February 08, 2007 - link

    Then carry it a bit further. Basically, I'm saying that if you generate enough concurrent HDD accesses, RAID 0 will outperform single drives. You might get better performance from two drives without RAID 0, but then you need to worry about having separate volumes and what happens if most of the accesses start to target a single drive. Basically, RAID 0 can be faster than an individual drive, but this mostly occurs in unrealistic situations, as you point out. RAID 0 mostly seems to be for bragging rights, and I certainly don't recommend it. Reply
  • lemonadesoda - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    Most Raptorers (the people who love and install them) typically choose a dual drive RAID setup for ultimate HDD performance.

    However, seeing the (very close) performance of Seagate 7200.10, I would be very interested to see Raptors in RAID vs 7200.10 in RAID.

    Would the performance gap INCREASE or DECREASE in such a configuration?
    Reply
  • Le Québécois - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    It's nice to see my WD1500ADFD is still the top gaming drive on the market. Still something has been bothering me for some time now.

    I've always found intriguing that my Raptor temperature is about 40% lower (idle and under load) than the one you post on every HDD articles. I have a 80mm Antec front fan but still the temperature is 40% lower, not 25%.

    What's the room temperature? You always post the base dB of the room but I don't remember ever seeing the temperature.
    Reply
  • jabber - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    Indeed, I bought one of these 74Gb Raptors a few weeks ago and it never gets more than slightly warm. Certainly doesnt warrant an 80mm fan blasting on it.

    I do recommend the WD Secure SATA cable though. Great bit of kit. How the standard SATA cable connection setup got approved I'll never know.

    The niggle I have is that 74Gb is too small? I have a full XP install, several apps and games (BF2/Total War etc. etc. and its still got plenty of space. Why would you bother cluttering up your main system HD with non-essential stuff like media files? Just get a cheap 400Gb+ for that sort of thing where performance isnt an issue.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    That article certainly changed my perspective on Raptor performance. It's clear that the older 74 gig Raptor just can't hang with the big boys. I had heard that the new 74 gigger was the fastest, but your results seem to refute that entirely. The 150 gigger wins out more often than not. Reply
  • the Chase - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    Yeah I'm glad AT did this review as haven't seen much on the new 74GIG model. Now what I'd LOVE to see is how the new 36GIG models do in all of this and how 2 of them in RAID would compare to the bigger drives.

    Any chance of slipping in the new 36GIG model sometime Gary?

    Thanks for the review.:)

    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, February 08, 2007 - link

    Hi,

    We will have numbers on the 36GB ADFD in the next roundup. Also, we will be updating our RAID article from 2004 to see if the landscape has changed in regards to RAID 0 performance on the desktop but more importantly taking a serious look at RAID 1, 0+1, 10, and 5 on today's motherboard chipsets. We plan on this in March but the next HD article to go up will include the new 500GB drives from all suppliers.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    I find it surprising that the older model 74GB Raptor beats the new 74GB model in nearly every test. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    heehee Never mind. I got the model numbers mixed up. :-)
    Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - link

    I find it even more interesting that a 320 GB 7200.10 beat out a 750 GB 7200.10 in a number of benchmarks.

    I also appreciate the mention of the Dell OEM Raptors with myself being a proud owner of a 160 GB Raptor :). (Which I got for a mere $160)
    Reply

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