Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Per the norm for the Green Series the Western Digital WD30EARS 3TB hard drive uses 5,400 RPM rotating platters. The Caviar Green Series is best known for low power consumption and the new 2.5 and 3TB drives follow the same formula with a spin up of just 10.75, a draw that is close to others seek power consumption. Seek power is just 6.25 and idle goes down to 5.5 watts.
Not shown on the specs, but definitely worth noting is the massive 64MB buffer that gives the 5,400 RPM drive the ability to perform more like a 7,200 RPM unit. This is Western Digital's fifth generation Caviar Green and all of the bells and whistles have been applied making this one of the most advanced platter based drives to hit the market.
New for most users will be the Advanced Format 4kb arrangement. Eventually all new drives will use Advanced Format over the old 512b system that has been the standard for many years now. The new 2.5 and 3TB drives handle sectors internally with a 4kb block size; this makes for more efficient ECC handling and also allows us to get over the greater than 2.19TB limit.
Western Digital has a large retail and e-tail network, so finding their products is as simple as driving to the store or hitting your favorite e-tailer URL. The MSRP of the Caviar Green 3TB unit is 239 USD and the 2.5TB unit is 189 USD. These price points are quite a bit lower than what I expected to find since Western Digital has a track record of launching 300+ Dollar MSRP units and letting e-tailers drop the price rapidly. With 2TB units being offered at just over 100 USD, you will find yourself paying a premium, but if history tells us anything then we should see 3TB drives being sold for less than 200 USD before Christmas.
Western Digital's new Green Series includes a three year warranty and a Highpoint HBA that will allow for easy integration in your current system.
Most users will quickly learn that drivers for the 4k format are not available at this time for most chipsets, mainly Intel and NVIDIA. This is a tune we've sang before with SATA 6Gbps and in both occasions Marvell has been there to supply new hymns to keep the technology party going. Highpoint provided Western Digital with the HBA needed to get the party started with their Rocket 620 product that uses a Marvell HBA to address the Advanced Format structure.
A large number of enthusiast motherboards have already shipped with Marvell controllers, but most are enthusiast class systems. My GIGABYTE X58A-UD7 didn't have any issue picking up the Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB with the motherboards onboard Marvell HBA.