WD “world first” dual-drive hybrid: SA price comparison

Western Digital Endeavor Black dual HDD

Western Digital announces that it has a world-first for storage devices – a 120GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive that fits into a diminutive 2.5-inch chassis for laptops, desktops and other mobile devices. The drive is called the Western Digital Endeavor Black, and is technically known as a dual-drive hybrid.

It’s not your standard hybrid hard drive either. Western Digital has taken a 2.5-inch hard drive and crammed SSD chips into the same chassis, having them share the same SATA 6.0 Gb/s port. Once connected, the drive assigns itself two drive letters – one for the SSD and one for the HDD.

The price is a killer – at R5,499 recommended retail price, it’s not a cheap addition to any system and easily falls into the same price range as some 480GB solid state drives.

Western Digital said that the drive was created because customers asked them to support devices that had space for a 2.5-inch form factor hard drive, but did not accommodate for an mSATA or PCI-E SSD.

The company says that the market for smaller and quieter systems in the desktop and notebook market leaves out any space for extra storage when manufacturers slim down their devices.

A quick glance of prices for SSD’s in the same price range on Rebeltech and Wootware appears to show that the Endeavor, should it launch with the current pricing, will have some tough competition with some very fast SSD’s.

Note as well that because it’s a hard drive and an SSD in the same enclosure, the read and write speeds for accessing the hard drive, or even the hard drive and the SSD at the same time will be considerably lower than any single SSD at the same price range.

SSD WD Endeavor Black
Samsung 840 Evo  Seagate 600 SSD Kingston KC300S  Adata XPG SX900 Crucial M500
Price  R5499  R4430  R5219  R5462  R4734  R4699
Storage capacity (unformatted)  120GB + 1TB  500GB  480GB  480GB  512GB  480GB
Read speeds  350MB/s  540MB/s  550MB/s  540MB/s  490MB/s  500MB/s
Write speeds  140MB/s  520MB/s  450MB/s  500MB/s  240MB/s  400MB/s
Warranty  5 year  3 year  3 year  3 year  3 year  3 year
Form factor  2.5-inch  2.5-inch  2.5-inch  2.5-inch  2.5-inch  2.5-inch
Drive height  9.5mm  7.11mm  7.11mm  7.11mm  9.5mm  7.11mm

The price may be deal breaker. In fact, for a typical desktop chassis, it would be cheaper to buy two 120GB SSDs and put them in a RAID 1 array and have a 3TB hard drive for your data needs.

But that’s not the real allure of the Endeavor Black. Its for people who own devices like netbooks or laptops, who would prefer to have an SSD but not a hybrid drive with a caching solution. Another scenario is someone who’s building up a rig in something as tiny as the Intel NUC, where you’re normally not able to use a hard drive and SSD in the same chassis.

Yet another scenario in which this would be tremendously useful is using it as a cached hard drive. Most Hybrid SSDs top out at 8GB, where the OS will cache data and writes to the SSD before sending that data to the hard drive. In typical workloads a 32GB cache drive is needed to keep performance mostly the same. A 120GB cache drive would be a tremendous improvement over current market options.

The only issue here is that the drive is only compatible with Windows operating systems. Mac OS X and Linux operating systems are not yet compatible with the drive, but Western Digital will be working with Apple and the Linux community to solve this issue.

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WD “world first” dual-drive hybrid: SA price comparison

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