Our usual pro-tip for folks looking to get the performance of an SSD with the storage capacity of a platter, is to simply run them both. By using a smaller SSD to store only your OS and most hard drive intensive software, while throwing everything else on your larger (and cheaper) hard drive, it really gives the best of both worlds. As long as larger SSDs cost more than hard drives, this will be the way that people have their cake and eat it too for quite some time. Especially with our ravenous consumption of storage space. That's exactly the feedback that WD has gotten from users. And that's why today, they've announced the WD Black2 Dual Drive (WD1001X06XDTL).
In a nutshell, the the WD Black2 Dual Drive is, as its namesake alludes to, is two drives in one. On one part of the drive is a full speed 20nm MLC NAND flash 120GB SSD, while on the other side, is a 1TB hard drive running at 5400 RPM, all in a 2.5 inch casing measuring 9.5mm in height. When setup via the standard SATA3 (6Gbps) connector, the drive shows up as two separate partitions, allowing you full control over what you want on the SSD and what you want to store away on the HDD. There's no caching or algorithms getting in the way of what is important to you and what isn't, making this a drive targeted specifically towards DIY enthusiasts and even gamers that want control of where the speed goes. This is different than what Solid State Hybrid Drives (SSHD) have been doing because you control where to put stuff. This may be perfect for notebooks where there is only one single drive bay or if you're looking to build an extremely compact system gaming system.
As far as I can see, the only downsides seem to be, potentially, the use of the 5400RPM spindle as WD Black 2.5 inch drives typically get the benefit from the responsiveness of 7200RPM spindles. We also noticed that the read/write performance (350MBs/140MBs) on the SSD side wasn't quite as blazing as others. This might be a symptom of the sharing of a single SATA channel internally, but the performance is still well above what Solid State Hybrid Drives have been offering. Something's gotta give when you're sandwiching two drives into one obviously.
Innovative 2.5-inch Drive Pairs 120 GB SSD with 1 TB Hard Drive to Deliver Maximum Performance, Data Control in Ultimate Upgrade for Notebook, AIO, Single-Drive Bay Systems
IRVINE, Calif. – Nov. 25, 2013 – WD®, a Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) company and storage industry leader, today announced the release of the WD Black2™ dual drive, a unique storage innovation that fuses a 2.5-inch 120 GB solid state drive (SSD) with a 1 TB hard disk drive (HDD) to offer a powerful dual drive solution. Perfect for consumers and service providers looking to upgrade notebooks, small form factor desktops, and single-slot and all-in-one (AIO) systems with both SSD level performance and HDD capacity, the WD Black2 dual drive connects through a single cable and fits into a conventional 9.5 mm slot.
“Our customers told us they like our Solid State Hybrid Drive technology, but our tech savvy users asked for more control of where they store their data,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of WD’s Storage Technology business unit. “The WD Black2 dual drives empower our customers to enjoy SSD performance and access high capacity storage in a no-compromise package. The WD Black2 dual drive is a direct result of our interaction with our customer base through WD Labs initiatives. WD devised its beta labs program to provide an exclusive testing arena for key customers and technology influencers of existing and emerging WD storage products."
Designed for enthusiasts, creative professionals, gamers and PC builders, the WD Black2 dual drive provides improved overall drive capacity, performance, and reliability, while offering the flexibility to choose how and where their data is stored. Utilizing the benefits of both flash and magnetic disks, WD Black2 dual drives offload data usage from the SSD to the HDD, which increases endurance and life of the SSD. Users maintain greater data control, which can eliminate the need and expense of cloud based storage.
WD Black2 is free of caching algorithms and benefits from SATA 6 Gb/second interface speed. It is neatly packaged in a standard 9.5 mm, 2.5-inch form factor with legacy SATA connector, making the WD Black2 dual drive compatible with popular PC operating systems ranging from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.
Price and Availability
Available at wdstore.com and through etailers such as Newegg.com, WD Black2 dual drives are covered by a five-year limited warranty. MSRP for the 2.5-inch 120 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD WD Black2 dual drive, model #: (WD1001X06XDTL) is $299.00 USD. Additional information about WD Black2 dual drives and limited warranty terms may be found on the company website at http://products.wd.com/wdblack2.