The Bottom Line
- Very Fast Performance
- Extremely Low Noise Operation
- Three Year Warranty Rather than Five Years
- 640GB (596GB Formatted) Storage Capacity
- 3.5-inch Internal Desktop From Factor
- 7,200rpm Rotational Speed
- 16MB Cache
- Serial ATA 3.0 GB/s Interface
- 8.9ms Average Read Seek Time
- 10.9ms Average Write Seek Time
- 25dBA/29dBA Idle/Seek Accoustics
- Three-Year Warranty
Guide Review - Western Digital Cavier SE16 640GB SATA Hard Drive
5/15/08 - The Western Digital Caviar SE16 lineup of hard drives offers some great performance to consumers at very reasonable prices. The original drives in the series were based upon 250GB capacity platters which were not the highest in the market. The new 640GB model utilizes new 320GB capacity platters to provide a good moderate storage capacity drive with very few platters.
The switch to the higher density platter has had a number of positive effects on the performance of the Caviar SE16 drive. Access times remain roughly the same as the previous drives, but the data transfer rates have been improved. It gains roughly a 25% improvement in data transfers over the already strong performance from the 750GB version of the drive. This is in line with the roughly 28% increase in the data density on the platters.
The operating noise on the Caviar SE16 drives was already very good, but the 640GB drive has improved on it. Noise levels at idle dropped from 28dBA to 25dBA while seek noise dropped from 33dBA to 29dBA. This makes the 640GB Caviar SE16 essentially imperceptible over the other noise from within the desktop case. With such low noise levels, the drive is an excellent choice for those looking to put together a home theater setup or other low noise PC.
The biggest drawback to the Caviar SE16 drives continues to be the warranty. Companies such as Seagate have been extending their warranties out to 5 years but Western Digital continues to offer just three years.
With its price, performance and acoustics, the 640GB Caviar SE16 is an exceptional middle capacity drive. Those looking for extra capacity can be better served by two of these in a RAID 0 array over a larger terabyte drive.