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Western Digital 100 GB Caviar Hard Drive

Western Digital 100 GB Caviar Hard Drive

Western Digital 100 GB Caviar Hard Drive Special Edition
Price: £121 inc VAT @ time of writing
Site: www.wdc.com
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Uses: Provides storage for your programs and files

Western Digital LogoWestern Digital Caviar Hard Drive

Main features:

  • 7200 RPM Rotational Speed
  • Ultra ATA/100 Interface
  • 8 MB Buffer
  • 8.9 ms Average Seek Time

Western Digital are very repected when it comes to storage media, us hear at the site have been 2yr old 20 & 30gb models without any fuss and prefer them over the maxtor / quantum mix as they seem more solid and coller to the touch, of course this is just our opinions but in our experience W.Digital are definatly producing the goods and have allowed reliable performance. We also had a while back a email prasing the support someone recieved when contacting W.Digital.

Got an X-Box? if you have then there is a good chance that inside is a W.Digital drive, they were the first maker to supply X-Box hard drives the second was Seagate.

Hard Drive Inside An X Box

As we understand it the 'special edition' range came about by 'accident' a while back in memory land memory prices were going up and down more than usual, as with most other hard drives 2mb buffer was used, WD decided to use 8mb buffers on the higher end drives and label them 'special editions' Then due to demand WD kept with the format and introduced a range of 'special edition drives'

You can tell if the drive is a caviar special edition as it will have ' JB ' on the label after the model number.

Drive Label

As mentioned above the main differnece between this and close comparisons is the buffer...... An extra 6mb so what!!!! Well it can make a difference. It works in a similar way to the buffer on your CDRW with a increased buffer it allows you to run serveral tasks at the same time without affectign the read or write of the data.

Western Digital 100GB Hard Drive

A hard drives works the same most drives ship with 2 MB as standard this will work perfectly for the most part and users will not notice much performance difference. Because there is a reduction in the number of physical accesses to the disk, this can allow data to stream from the disk uninterrupted by mechanical operations.

What you get in the Box:

  • Drive
  • IDE Cable
  • Data Lifeguard Tools (Floppy Disc)
  • VERY comprehensive manual
  • Mounting screws
  • Also step by step guide

Drive Incase In Packaging

Other drive makes tend to use card board packaging similar to egg boxes, WD instead uses durable plastic mouldings to keep the drive secure in transit.

If you are unsure about anything once you have bought this unit, READ THE MANUAL it wont take you long and is well written and of course could stop you from damaging your investment. If in doubt about cable selections or jumpers consult the manual or WD's site which offers vast support and data sheets of this drive.


Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM
Buffer Size 8 MB
Buffer To Disk 525.0 Mbits/s
Read Seek Time 8.9 ms
Write Seek Time 10.9 ms
Track-To-Track Seek Time 2.0 ms
Full Stroke Seek Time 2.0 ms
Average Latency 4.2 ms
Mode 5 Ultra ATA 100.0 MB/s
Mode 4 Ultra ATA 66.6 MB/s
Mode 2 Ultra ATA 33.3 MB/s
Mode 4 PIO 16.6 MB/s
Mode 2 multi-word DMA 16.6 MB/s


If you have installed drives before this will be nothnig new to you open > insert > connect > config > then go - If not then either take your time and read literature till you are ready or ask a proven person who can assit you. We will asume you are comfortable with handiling components and static etc is dealt with correctly, first open your system up locate where the drive will be going or remove exsisting drive if you intend on removing it from your setup.

Jumper Diagram

Check if your system needs to have any jumpers changed on the drive or if you can use Cable Select Setting, this setting makes it quicker and easier to install as you dont need to set drives as masters,slaves etc. You should get in the box 4 mounting screws to save you hunting around, secure the drive to the desired 3.5" bay, if wanting to use a 5.25" drive bay you will need to buy a 5.25" mounting kit avalaible from most stores, (they cost normally up to £4)

It is worth remebering that just because it is a 100 GB hard drive you wont necessarily get 100 GB you are more likely to get 95/96 GB because of the Windows file system etc It is also worth reading the online or manula documentation if you have never gone this big in hard drive capacity for basic reasons that Windows 98 cant 'see' drives larger than 64 GB Win 2k etc isnt effected but the main thing is to not worry as you get Data Lifeguard tools with this drive which aloows you to:

  • Partition easily and formats the new hard drive

  • Can overcome both BIOS & operating system limitations
  • Can quickly and safely copy the contents of the existing drive onto the new drive
  • Test for ATA compatibility
  • Fix any minor drive problems or conflicts

To run you boot from the supplied floppy then from the menu options you can partition and format.

Once again if you havent had a large drive before be warned that formatting isnt quick, it normally takes 30 - 45 mins for the format to complete before you can proceed with installing the OS.

Test System:

I decided to use a 'lower spec' machine so that potential users could relate to the specs better.

Duron 650 > MSI K7T Pro > ATA 100> 384 MB Ram > Installed Windows 2000.

I then waited for the drive to format then installed Windows 2k and used the system as i normally would for a few days to see if i noticed anything.

A slight hum with the case cover off, but nothing noticable or annoying, with the cover you cant hear it, heat isnt anything to worry about faster drives normally are slightly warmer but this was only slightly warmer than the 30GB drive from the same series.

My usual drive in this system was a 30 GB W Digital Caviar drive same range, about 18 months old cost around £65, although in the same range the bigger brother has noticeable advantages, but most likely only to me as i can be picky and look for slight differences.

The drive performs very well the benifits you might notice over your previous drive is when you are doing video editing, playing large files and such like. I also used database and web site coding etc this also did seem quicker or better in some way i also spent a bit of time backing up data to cd this also was effotless the buffer on the drives seemed to make the cd writer have to work less.

I ran a few benchmarks and here are some screen shots:

Sandra Benchmark
Sandra Benchmark

Sandra 2002
IDE Drive 1.17

I also copied a dvd to the hard drive out of intrest to see how quick it would to it, the time seemed to of been around 10minutes quicker when compared to the previous WD drive. In my mind there is NO doubt the extra buffer does help with my useage of the system, some light users oviously would not notice, but this is a brilliant drive it works as you would expect.

If you are used to PC's and drives you might be awaiting a delay whilst the drive responds but with this drive it was perfect all the time. Yes i know it could be as there isnt much data on the drive and it hasnt been in everyday use but this drive can certainly take on its rivals. Compare the prices for a 120 GB and look to see how much buffer it has, if this special edition is avaliable see how much extra it is and seriously consider paying that little bit more.

Great performer, large capacity quick and worth every penny.