by eugene

Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB


Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB Capacities
Model Number Capacity
WD1200JB 120 GB
Lowest Real-Time Price:


Introduction

A few months ago Western Digital made quite a splash with the introduction of its Caviar WD1000 Special Edition, the first drive to feature an 8-megabyte buffer. Preparing a press release on the product, WD contacted us requesting an expedited review on the product. Never one to turn down a scoop, we agreed and put the WD1000BB-SE (retroactively christened the WD1000JB) to the test. Testbed2 was on its final legs in those days- at that time, we had to rely on WinBench 99 to report desktop performance. Unsurprisingly, in such circumstances, the BB-SE performed exceptionally well, giving even 15k RPM drives a run for their money.

Top of the driveThe BB-SE's most interesting performance was yet to come, however, under our recently-deployed Testbed3, a much more contemporary, relevant, and reliable way to assess drive performance. The drive's score of 397 I/Os per second in the StorageReview.com Office DriveMark 2002 was far and away the best for an ATA drive. Indeed, while it didn't quite measure up to 15k RPM offerings, the BB-SE nonetheless bested most 10k units.

Company officials went out of the way to point out that the WD1000BB-SE was "special edition" in every sense of the word and that they were "by no means overproducing these units." They did, however, say that they would carefully monitor sales and decide whether to proceed with more 8 MB products. Though enthusiasts around the world are used to plopping hundreds of megs of RAM into their machines at bargain rates, the fact is that going from 2 to 8 megabytes of buffer is not a trivial expense for a drive company. In addition to the cost of the memory itself, board layout, inventory issues, and most importantly firmware optimizations add a bit to the cost. Pennies here and pennies there are significant for firms in an industry that has to scratch and claw its way to profitability. The recent upswing in memory prices likely doesn't help.

Nonetheless, the community as a whole was pleased to receive reports of "standard" 120 GB WD1200BB drives equipped with 8-megabyte buffers even as WD continued to insist to us that there was no such beast. Yet finally, early this month, the company relented and officially announced the Caviar WD1200JB.

Like its brother, the WD1200BB, the JB features a 7200 RPM spindle speed coupled with three 40 GB platters. Claimed average seek time is 8.9 milliseconds, a plateau that WD's drives have rested on for some time now. The JB's key feature, of course, is its 8-meg buffer, four times that of competing drives. An ATA-standard 3-year warranty backs the drive.

Back of the driveAs was the WD1000BB-SE, the 1200JB targets a market of power-user enthusiasts who seek desktop performance that rival's today's top SCSI drives. It also aims for the entry-level server market though we're skeptical whether an increased buffer size can really impact the heavy random, non-localized patterns that arise.

Does the WD1200JB live up to its predecessor? Let's move on and take a look!





Low-Level Results

For diagnostic purposes only, StorageReview measures the following low-level parameters:

Average Read Access Time- An average of 25,000 random accesses of a single sector each conducted through IPEAK SPT's AnalyzeDisk suite. The high sample size permits a much more accurate reading than most typical benchmarks deliver and provides an excellent figure with which one may contrast the claimed access time (claimed seek time + the drive spindle speed's average rotational latency) provided by manufacturers.

WB99 Disk/Read Transfer Rate - Begin- The sequential transfer rate attained by the outermost zones in the hard disk. The figure typically represents the highest sustained transfer rate a drive delivers.

WB99 Disk/Read Transfer Rate - End- The sequential transfer rate attained by the innermost zones in the hard disk. The figure typically represents the lowest sustained transfer rate a drive delivers.

For more information, please click here.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Service Time Graphs (in milliseconds)
Average Read Service Time
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 7.8|
|
Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 8.5|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 12.3|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 12.3|
|
Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 13.4|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 13.5|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 13.6|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 13.7|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 13.9|
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Average Write Service Time
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 8.8|
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Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 9.2|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 12.7|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 14.1|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 14.3|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 14.3|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 14.4|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 14.5|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 14.5|
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WD1200JB Average Read Service Time
WD1200JB Average Write Service Time

At 13.5 milliseconds, the JB's access times weigh in virtually identical to that of its brother. That is to say, while not horrendous, they don't quite measure up to category leaders such as Maxtor's DiamondMax D740X or IBM's Deskstar 60GXP. Subtracting 4.2 milliseconds to account for the rotational latency of the JB's 7200 RPM spindle speed yields a net measured seek time of 9.3 milliseconds, a bit off WD's 8.9 ms claim.

Average write access times come in at 14.3 milliseconds, again virtually the same as the 1200BB's. They're again a bit higher than the DiamondMax D740X's svelte 12.7 ms.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Transfer Rate Graphs (in megabytes per second)
Transfer Rate - Begin
Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 54.6|
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Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 53.9|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 49.0|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 48.8|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 43.8|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 43.7|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 42.2|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 41.7|
|
IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 39.0|
|
Transfer Rate - End
Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 43.0|
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Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 31.7|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 29.2|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 29.1|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 27.9|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 27.8|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 27.2|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 25.4|
|
IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 21.3|
|
WD1200JB Transfer Rate

WinBench 99 pegs the JB's outer-zone transfer rates at 48.8 MB/sec and the inner zone at 29.2 MB/sec. As a result, it shares, along with the 1200BB, the highest transfer rates yet turned in by an ATA drive to date.





Single-User Performance

StorageReview uses the following tests to assess non-server use:

StorageReview.com Office DriveMark 2002- A capture of 30 minutes of actual computer productivity use that exactingly recreates a typical office-style multitasking environment. The applications include: Outlook XP, Word XP, Excel XP, PowerPoint XP, Calypso (a freeware e-mail client), SecureCRT v3.3 (a telnet/SSH client), CuteFTP Pro v1.0 (an FTP/SSH client), ICQ 2000b), Palm Hotsync 4.0, Gravity 2.3 (a Usenet/newsgroups client), PaintShop Pro v7.0, Media Player v8 for the occasional MP3, and Internet Explorer 6.0.

StorageReview.com High-End DriveMark 2002- A capture of VeriTest's Content Creation Winstone 2001 suite. Applications include Adobe Photoshop v5.5, Adobe Premiere v5.1, Macromedia Director v8.0, Macromedia Dreamweaver v3.0, Netscape Navigator v4.73, and Sonic Foundry Sound Forge v4.5. Unlike typical productivity applications, high-end audio- and video- editing programs are run in a more serial and less multitasked manner. The High-End DriveMark includes significantly more sequential transfers and write (as opposed to read) operations.

StorageReview.com Bootup DriveMark 2002- A capture of the rather unusual Windows XP bootup process. Windows XP's boot procedure involves significantly different access patterns and queue depths than those found in other disk accesses. This test recreates Windows XP's bootup from the initial bootstrap load all the way to initialization and loading of the following memory-resident utilities: Dimension4 (a time synchronizer), Norton Antivirus 2002 AutoProtect, Palm Hotsync v4.0, and ICQ 2000b.

StorageReview.com Gaming DriveMark 2002- A weighted average of the disk accesses featured in five popular PC games: Lionhead's Black & White v1.1, Valve's Half-Life: Counterstrike v1.3, Blizzard's Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction v1.09b, Maxis's The Sims: House Party v1.0, and Epic's Unreal Tournament v4.36. Games, of course, are not multitasked- all five titles were run in a serial fashion featuring approximately half an hour of play time per game.

For more information, please click here.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Desktop Performance Graphs (in I/Os per second)
SR Office DriveMark 2002
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 455|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 413|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 397|
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Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 373|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 337|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 318|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 303|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 301|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 296|
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SR High-End DriveMark 2002
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 397|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 392|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 376|
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Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 341|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 321|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 304|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 272|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 268|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 252|
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SR Bootup DriveMark 2002
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 357|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 357|
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Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 344|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 344|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 312|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 284|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 260|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 233|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 221|
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SR Gaming DriveMark 2002
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 589|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 505|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 487|
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Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 453|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 421|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 399|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 378|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 378|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 372|
|

At an impressive 413 IOs/sec, the WD1200JB is the first ATA drive to break the 400 mark, easily the fastest ATA drive we've yet put to the test. It improves upon the standard WD1200BB (no slouch in its own right) by an amazing 22% as well as besting the previous IDE champ, Western Digital's own WD1000BB-SE, by 4%. To put this into perspective, consider this: the JB is a staggering 36% faster than the next closest non-WD competitor (IBM's Deskstar 60GXP)! Such margins are incredible in the hard drive world.

The JB performs equally well in the High-End DriveMark 2002. Here it again the JB improves upon the already stellar WD1000BB-SE and comes within striking distance (less than 2%) of Maxtor's leading 10,000 RPM SCSI drive, the Atlas 10k III.

Western Digital's drive doesn't relent in the Bootup and Gaming DriveMarks. As illustrated above, its margins over the competition remain excellent.





Multi-User Performance

StorageReview uses the following tests to assess server performance:

StorageReview.com File Server DriveMark 2002- A mix of synthetically-created reads and writes through IOMeter that attempts to model the heavily random access that a dedicated file server experiences. Individual tests are run under loads with 1 I/O, 4 I/Os, 16 I/Os, and 64 I/Os outstanding. The Server DriveMark is a convenient at-a-glance figure derived from the weighted average of results obtained from the four different loads.

StorageReview.com Web Server DriveMark 2002- A mix of synthetically-created reads through IOMeter that attempts to model the heavily random access that a dedicated web server experiences. Individual tests are run under loads with 1 I/O, 4 I/Os, 16 I/Os, and 64 I/Os outstanding. The Server DriveMark is a convenient at-a-glance figure derived from the weighted average of results obtained from the four different loads.

For more information click here.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Server Performance Graphs (in I/Os per second)
SR File Server DriveMark 2002
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 245|
|
Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 220|
|
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 136|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 132|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 130|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 129|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 128|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 125|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 119|
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SR Web Server DriveMark 2002
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 239|
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Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 220|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 140|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 129|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 129|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 129|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 128|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 128|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 122|
|

Increased buffer size when it comes to server performance is often of dubious value. Any slight increase offered by cache hits is often offset by the increased latency of searching a larger buffer. In the WD1200JB's case, server performance weighs in virtually the same as the 2-meg WD1200BB. It's the cream of the crop (along with many other units) for an ATA unit but lags well behind a good SCSI drive.





Legacy Performance

eTesting Lab's WinBench 99 Disk WinMark tests are benchmarks that attempt to measure desktop performance through a rather dated recording of high-level applications. Despite their age, the Disk WinMarks are somewhat of an industry standard. The following results serve only as a reference; SR does not factor them into final judgments and recommends that readers do the same.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Legacy Performance Graphs (in megabytes per second)
ZD Business Disk WinMark 99
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 12.0|
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Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 10.5|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 10.1|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 9.8|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 8.9|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 8.8|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 8.5|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 8.5|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 8.0|
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ZD High-End Disk WinMark 99
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 36.0|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 34.9|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 33.4|
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Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 30.2|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 29.9|
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IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 29.1|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 28.0|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 27.5|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 26.7|
|





Heat and Noise

Idle Noise- The sound pressure emitted from a drive measured at a distance of 18 millimeters. The close-field measurement allows for increased resolution between drive sound pressures and eliminates interactions from outside environmental noise. Note that while the measurement is an A-weighted decibel score that weighs frequencies in proportion to human ear sensitivity, a low score does not necessarily predict whether or not a drive will exhibit a high-pitch whine that some may find intrusive. Conversely, a high score does not necessarily indicate that the drive exhibits an intrusive noise envelope.

Net Drive Temperature- The highest temperature recorded from a 16-point sample of a drive's top plate after it has been under heavy load for 80 minutes. The figures provided are net temperatures representing the difference between the measured drive temperature and ambient temperature.

For more information, please click here.

Note: Scores on top are better.
Heat and Noise
Idle Noise (in dB/A @ 18mm)
Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 41.3|
|
Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 44.6|
|
IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 45.9|
|
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 46.3|
|
Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 47.1|
|
Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 47.1|
|
Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 47.3|
|
Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 47.4|
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Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 50.1|
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Net Drive Temperature (in degrees celsius)
Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB (120 GB ATA-100) - 17.1|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB (100 GB ATA-100) - 18.9|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1000BB-SE (100 GB ATA-100) - 19.0|
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Seagate Barracuda ATA IV (80 GB ATA-100) - 19.3|
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Western Digital Caviar WD1200BB (120 GB ATA-100) - 20.0|
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Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X (80 GB ATA-133) - 20.5|
|
IBM Deskstar 60GXP (60.0 GB ATA-100) - 21.8|
|
Seagate Cheetah 36ES (36 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 25.0|
|
Maxtor Atlas 10k III (73 GB Ultra160/m SCSI) - 29.0|
|

As expected, the WD1200JB's objective noise measurements fall right in line with that of its mechanically-identical brother. Subjective listening confirms the fact: like the WD1200BB, the JB's noise profile is unassuming and drowned out by other system noise.

Interestingly, at 17.1 degrees Celsius, the JB's net operating temperature is measurably lower than that of the WD1200BB... indeed lower than that of all other 7200 RPM drives. The JB may work well in systems where other 7200 RPM drives may push the heat envelope.





Conclusion

With desktop performance and capacity vastly superior to the competition as well as a surprisingly low operating temperature, the Caviar WD1200JB reaffirms Western Digital's preeminence in the IDE desktop performance segment. In fact, for desktop usage, the JB bests all 10k RPM drives save only Maxtor's Atlas 10k III.

Once again we're obligated to point out an interesting fact. The hardware enthusiast market, comprising a significant portion of StorageReview.com's readership, has always pledged it would respond enthusiastically to the world's first 10,000 RPM drive. These folks want the performance of a 10k RPM SCSI drive without the SCSI premium. The WD1200JB, like the WD1000BB-SE, delivers the desktop performance of a good 10k RPM drive according to tests constructed from real-world, high-level applications. If you want SCSI's performance without its price or capacity limits, the WD1200JB is the drive for you.

That said, IBM's Deskstar 120GXP competes with the JB at least on a capacity level. Many folks have high hopes for Big Blue's latest. Though we also wish the best for the newest GXP, it's difficult to imagine the drive approaching the JB's performance levels. We'll hopefully be able to apply our stringent methodologies against the 120GXP and deliver readers an answer one way or another.

  Review Discussion