Western Digital Caviar SE16 (WD5000AAKS)
- Excellent performance, cool and quiet operation
- Nothing of note
At 500GB, the Western Digital Caviar SE16 (WD5000AAKS) is great value for any type of computer system. Its performance makes it suitable for a high-performance PC, while its cool and quiet running makes it an ideal choice for a media centre or silent PC. We recommend it.
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
Western Digital's Caviar SE16 range of internal hard drives is built with performance in mind. We received the Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS and found it to be a great performer that also runs quite cool, and very quietly.
The specifications of the drive are impressive: it has a 500GB capacity (465GB formatted capacity), 16MB buffer, 7200rpm spin speed and a 300MBps SATA interface. It's suited to almost any type of desktop computer and, in particular, would be a fantastic choice for a media centre PC, due to its low noise, low temperature and large capacity.
During our tests, the drive was almost silent, even during vigorous seek operations. Also, after three hours of continual data transfers, and without any cooling aids, the surface temperature of the drive reached a very cool 35 degrees, which is an excellent result. A media centre PC case equipped only with modest cooling features (say, one extraction fan) should benefit greatly from this drive.
Our tests also showed this drive's performance to be stellar. In our tests, we transfer both a large number of files (of various sizes) and a small number of files (of larger size). Across both tests the transfers were performed very quickly which we found to be rather impressive. Using an ASUS P5B Premium motherboard, an Intel Core 2 Quad E6700 CPU and 1GB of DDR2 RAM we installed the drive in a single-drive configuration under the Windows Vista Ultimate operating system.
In our data transfer tests, we copy data from one location on the drive to another. Using over 17,000 files in a 13.2GB folder, the WD5000AAKS attained a transfer rate of 23.7MBps (megabytes per second). This rate was consistent over multiple tests and is actually slightly faster than what a 150GB Western Digital Raptor achieved (23.23MBps) on the same test system. This is despite the fact that the Raptor has a faster spin speed (10,000rpm).
Transferring a handful of large files in a 1.12GB folder, the WD5000AAKS attained a rate of 30MBps, which is an excellent result. The Raptor attained a rate of 23.33MBps in this test. In our WinZip test, where an archive is created and extracted, the WD5000AAKS completed the task in 259sec, while the Raptor took 289sec. These results justify Western Digital's claims that this drive is suitable for high performance multimedia systems and business machines. As mentioned previously, we also think it's a great drive for a media centre PC.
As for the WD5000AAKS' technology, Western Digital has used longitudinal recording technology (meaning it does not use perpendicular recording), which means that data is stored on the drive in a horizontal orientation (parallel to the disk), rather than vertically (as is the case in perpendicular recording). In any case, this drive improves on the company's previous 500GB models by using fewer disk platters to store its data (three as opposed to four). Having fewer platters in a disk means it runs cooler, as there is more air space inside the drive.
The WD5000AAKS also has Ramp Load technology, which protects the drive from shock-related damage by parking the disk heads away from the platters when the drive is switched off and also during spin up/spin down operations. Of course, this doesn't mean that the drive can survive harsh handling; it's merely a safeguard against accidental bumps that may be sustained during transportation, while the drive is off.
As for the drive's cost per gigabyte, we think it's great value. At time of publication, the recommended retail price is $229. At this price, the cost per gigabyte is just 49 cents (calculated on 465GB formatted capacity). If you shop around, you may even be able to pick it up for a little less.
Overall, if you've got aspirations of building a silent PC or a media centre, this drive should be at the top of your shopping list. Likewise, if you want excellent performance at a decent price for a gaming or video-oriented machine, this is an excellent choice.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 BlackBerry Priv review: When old habits die hard
- 4 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 5 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Hitachi Data Systems introduces HFS A series family
- Toshiba to cut 6800 jobs, focus on storage and energy
- WD ships world's first 10TB helium-filled hard drive
- Consumer SSDs and hard drive prices are nearing parity
- Lexar adds 128GB 2000x SDXC UHS-II card to Professional range
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTDigital Marketing Specialist | Media BuyerNSW
- CCContracts ManagerNSW
- CCITIL Release Manager - CBD SYDNEYNSW
- CCOpen_5pm 5th February_Program ArchitectACT
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Life InsuranceVIC
- CCProject Manager & Coordination OfficerACT
- CCContract System Analyst (Network & System Mgt.) 160205/SA/561Asia
- CCPortfolio-Program SchedulerNSW
- FTSenior Systems/SAN EngineerNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/Oracle/UNIX) 160203/AP/381Asia
- CCDBA (Oracle/SQL)NSW
- CCJava Developer - IOSNSW
- CCBusiness Project Manager - Transformation ProgramNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager - SecurityNSW
- FTBusiness Intelligence AnalystVIC
- FTTechnical WriterNSW
- FTVB6 DeveloperNSW
- CCOracle Applications Projects Functional ConsultantSA
- FTSystems Administrator/Engineer | $60-90K package | Northern BeachesNSW
- FTHelpdesk support - Level 1VIC
- CCLevel 2 Helpdesk, Service Support- Remedy or SAP backgroundNSW
- CCOracle CC&B Technical AnalystVIC
- CCContract Junior Programmer (JAVA/Mobile App) 160115/JP/vhaAsia
- CCAutomation QAVIC
- CCSenior Agile Business AnalystVIC