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Western Digital Slim (WD10SPCX) 1TB HDD Review

WD strikes back with the Slim, becoming the first to offer a full terabyte of storage in the Slim 7mm Z-Height.

@TylerBernath
Published Tue, Jul 30 2013 9:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:00 PM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction and Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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The Western Digital Slim is the latest from WD's commitment to slim computing. With just a 7mm Z-Height, the Slim allows for massive storage capacity in a very thin footprint. Capacities range from 320GB to 1TB all featuring a 5400-RPM spindle speed.

In previous 2.5-inch drives from WD, they had to pack in three platters to reach the 1TB mark (WD10JPVX). Now that technology has progressed slightly and WD has reached the 500GB per platter density in the 2.5" form factor the capacity war has begun, and it all starts with the 1TB WD Slim we have in house today.

With the transition over to 500GB platter density, Western Digital can now focus on slimming down its entire lineup of hard drives. Nowhere is this more evident than with the release of the WD Ultra Slim, a drive we will be looking at in another review in the upcoming weeks.

When slimming down an entire lineup of drives, companies like WD have to take into account drive shock and vibration in the slim form factor. To stabilize the platters, WD has implemented what they call StableTrac technology, which has the motor shaft being secured at both ends, while WD ShockGuard enables higher shock tolerance.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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Specifications for the WD Slim has the drive utilizing the SATA 6Gb/s interface, with 16MB of cache complimenting the drive. Further, the drive uses a 5400RPM spindle speed with a maximum transfer rate of 140MB/s. Load/Unload Cycles match the Seagate Ultrathin at 600,000.

Power Consumption of the WD Slim uses just 1.7w during read/write operations and 0.18w during sleep. Western Digital warranties the Slim for a period of two years. Pricing of the WD Slim in the 1TB capacity is set at $119.99 at the time of writing.

Western Digital Slim (WD10SPCX) 1TB HDD

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Our review sample of the WD Slim was delivered in bare drive form. The top side of the drive reminding me of a solid state drive rather than a spinner.

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The bottom of the drive houses the capacity, listed at 1TB along with the date of manufacture, which for our sample was May 21st 2013.

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The SATA power and data connections are placed in position for wide compatibility.

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The WD Slim uses just a sliver of a PCB when compared to previous drives. Above you can see the very small tabs that connect the PCB to the motor, along with the clip for the head.

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Here we have the front facing portion of the PCB, the motor controller made by WD and Winbond supplying the 16MB cache.

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The backside of the PCB houses the Marvell 88i9446 controller.

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Weighing the WD Slim, the drive came in at 3.15 ounces.

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Here we have the WD Slim at its thickest point measuring in at 7.09mm.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

Desktop Test System

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ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

Many disk manufacturers, to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers, use ATTO.

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First, a look at marketing performance through ATTO. The WD Slim managed to achieve 114MB/s read and 115MB/s write.

Benchmarks - Sequential Performance

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has gained popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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HD Tune read results put the WD Slim near the top of our charts with a maximum of 122.5MB/s. Average settled down at 92.MB/s.

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Write performance of the WD Slim followed the direction of our read testing. At its highest point, the WD achieved 118.4MB/s, with an average of 89.3MB/s.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

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Read access times for the Slim were on par with most drives in our charts, with a peak of 20.56ms.

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Write access had the WD peaking at 29.72ms, with an average slightly lower at 22.16ms.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: RC6

So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? First of all, it's a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests, you can run a full test or just the read or the write test or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K DQ16.

Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil on several international forums has been updating the software steadily and is adding new features every couple of months.

The software is used several different ways and to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

Incompressible Data

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0-Fill Compressible Data

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Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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In Random Read IOPS, the WD was on par with most drives and slightly quicker than the HGST 7K1000.

Write IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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Random Write had the WD Slim leading the pack with peak IOPS reaching 310.1 at QD32.

Benchmarks - PCMark 8 Hard Disk Tests

PCMark 8 - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark8

PCMark 8 is the latest version in our popular series of PC benchmarking tools. Improving on previous releases, PCMark 8 includes battery life measurement tools and new tests using popular applications from Adobe and Microsoft. Whether you are looking for long battery life, or maximum power, PCMark 8 helps you find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for your needs.

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Overall storage score put the WD Slim near the top and just trailing the Seagate SSHD.

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In WoW we found the Slim with a very respectable time of 132.6 seconds.

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Battlefield 3 had the WD Slim coming in at 336.5, another chart topping performance figure.

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Utilizing Photoshop under light use, the Slim allowed 219.4 seconds, a full 10 seconds faster than the previous generation Blue, and a full 20 seconds quicker than the competing Momentus Thin.

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A heavy use scenario allowed the WD Slim 495.9 seconds, again 10 seconds quicker than the WD Blue, and nearly 35 seconds quicker than the Momentus Thin.

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The Excel application trace has the drive at 25.4 seconds, again very close to the WD Blue and recently released Laptop Ultrathin from Seagate.

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The PowerPoint trace had all of drives bunched in within seconds of each other, alas the WD Slim was first next to the SSHD at 26.4 seconds.

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Lastly, the Microsoft Word application trace had the WD Slim drive at 49.7 seconds, very close to the Blue once again.

Benchmarks - BootRacer and Resume from S4 Hibernation

BootRacer - System Boot Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.0

Developer Homepage: Greatis

Product Homepage: BootRacer

Download here: http://www.greatis.com/bootracer/download.htm

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Time to desktop came in at 65 seconds, and as with most WD drives we have in our charts, at the higher-end of the scale.

Resume from S4 Hibernation

Hibernation or S4 is part of the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface specification. In our custom "Resume from S4" testing, we allow the drive to enter hibernation for a period of ten minutes; from there we use our trusted stopwatch and time how long it takes for the drive to resume to a working desktop environment.

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In our custom resume from S4 testing, the WD Slim came in at 7.723 seconds. This gives the Slim the honor of being the quickest WD drive we have tested as of late and it actually puts a little pressure on competing products from Seagate.

Final Thoughts

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While Seagate is still working on thinning down its drive lineup, we do know that they too have reached the 500GB per platter density, with options like the Laptop Ultrathin at 500GB capacity. The problem here is that while Seagate has yet to offer anything over 500GB in the 7mm Z-Height, WD is cranking out 1TB drives and drop dead gorgeous drives at that.

While a hard drive is still just that, a mechanical glass spinning magnetic wonder, Western Digital has put new clothes on its WD Slim line-up, and the same can be said for the thinner Ultra Slim, as well. This gives a cleaner, elegant look to the drives, and as I said in the beginning dresses them up like a solid state drive and of course, when we see a solid state drive we think one thing. Speed.

The performance of this one terabyte monster was quite exceptional, and next to the SSHD from Seagate, one of the quickest we have tested. HDTune and Anvils both show the WD Slim as the drive to beat, and after removing the Laptop Thin SSHD from PCMark8, the Slim would be at the top in applications testing as well.

This all leads me to one thing. If you want the ultimate in HDD capacity, without sacrificing anything in terms of performance in the hard disk drive segment, the WD Slim is a must have.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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