Green if not lean: Western Digital Caviar Green 20EARS review

While every man and his exceedingly rich dog is banging on about SSDs these super-fast drives have one problem: unless you’re working on a Western Australian mine they’re too expensive for general storage duties. With our digital libraries continuing to expand faster than the number of lawsuits against Torrent sites mechanical HDDs are still necessary for general backup duties. Enter the Caviar Green which sports an industry-leading 667GB of storage per platter delivering 2TB of space in one convenient 3.5in package.

This is one of the first drives on the market to include Advanced Format a new formatting structure utilising 4096 byte sectors instead of the 512 byte sectors that have been standard for many years. This allows more of the drive space to be used for the business of storage thanks to fewer lead-ins and inter-sector gaps. This new style of formatting works fine on Vista forwards and OS X but anything older than that requires the use of WD’s Align software which emulates 512 byte sectors.

As one of WD’s “green” eco-friendly drives the Caviar Green uses the lowest energy per TB of any drive in the industry though it won’t stop your soaring energy bills from providing a nasty shock at the end of each quarter. A three-year warranty suggests excellent longevity and the price per GB is a measly seven cents an order of magnitude cheaper than SSDs.

Performance is exactly as expected for a mechanical drive with a budget price tag. HD Tach posted average read speeds of 95MB/sec while our IO meter boot test measured just 6MB/sec – much lower than the 10MB/sec of the Caviar Black.

If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly drive that can store all of your important data in a single place it’s hard to beat this mammoth’s price tag. It may not be the fastest drive on the block but it’s definitely one of the cheapest.

Available from Western Digital retailing for $79 for 1TB $139 for 2TB.
APC rating: 7/10