WD 640 GB Caviar Blue vs 640 GB Caviar Black

I’ve been running the Western Digital 640 GB AAKS (SE16 series) drive in my main system for quite some time now. I was happy with it until I noticed Western Digital had begun showcasing their new Caviar Black series hard drives as the ‘fastest 3.5-inch 7200 RPM drive on the market’. The Caviar Black series sport dual processors, 32 MB cache and a five year warranty (vs 16 MB and three years for the Caviar Blue).

Does the WD Caviar Black really live up to the hype? I hate to say this, but no. It actually performed slower than my older WD 640 GB AAKS with a single processor and 16 MB cache!

Don’t believe me? Take a look below!

Test configuration: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3 GHz, 4 GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800, Gigabyte P35-DS3L (F8b), Seasonic S12 600W power supply and of course, APC RS 1200VA regulated power. Operating system: Windows XP Professional w/ SP3. Both drives were imaged using Ghost 2003 and defragmented using PerfectDisk 2008 Professional. Software: HD Tune 2.55. Hard drive 1: WDC WD6400AAKS-00A7B and hard drive 2: WDC WD6401AALS-00L3B. AAM was confirmed as disabled on both drives using Hitachi’s Drive Fitness Test.

Each benchmark was run four times. Time for the benchmarks:

As you can see, the Caviar Black 640 GB doesn’t perform all that better than the Caviar Blue (SE16) 640 GB.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 vs E6400

I finally managed to get my hands on the highly sought Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU.

I’ve been waiting weeks for my reseller to receive stock on the CPU. I kicked myself for not purchasing it earlier from another reseller, as it fell to a low of $199, and recently the price surged to $260 due to a shortage of the CPU’s. I managed to acquire it for $222, which was a price I was willing to pay.

The Core 2 Duo E8400 is one of Intel’s first 45 nm CPU’s. Intel’s 45 nm CPU’s consume less power and run cooler than their 65 nm (Conroe) counterparts. They are also very overclockable. The CPU (stock) is currently running at 24C, which is significantly cooler than my E6400 at 40C.

I ran wPrime v1.61 to compare the computing power of both CPU’s. wPrime is a multithreaded benchmark that calculates the square-roots of large amounts of numbers — 32 million in this case. For this benchmark, I used Gigabyte’s P35-DS3L v2.0 motherboard (BIOS revision: F8b).

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3.00 GHz): 32M test completed in 26.952 seconds.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (2.13 GHz): 32M test completed in 41.297 seconds.

I realize it’s not a fair clock-for-clock comparison, but it shows the sheer computing power of each CPU. Simple math shows us that the E8400 should be approximately 29% faster than the E6400. The E8400 beat the E6400 by a significant margin (as expected), 34.7%, using a combination of higher clock speed, a faster FSB (1333 MHz vs 1066 MHz) and more L2 cache (6 MB vs 2 MB).

Given the price point of the new Intel 45 nm CPU’s (T8xxx/T9xxx), I recommend waiting out and purchasing them over the current Conroe / 65 nm CPU’s (T5xxx/T7xxx).