Western Digital (WD) Black Hard Drive Review

Desktop hard drives are still very popular and most computer users still go for them when they need to upgrade their primary storage device. We have been always recommending using a solid state drive (SSD) in a combination with a traditional hard disk drive, where the SSD becomes the primary storage subsystem that handles the operating system and most-frequently-used applications, and the hard drive is the secondary drive used mainly for storage and backup, but many users though cannot go wrong if they just obtained a cutting-edge hard drive like the one we are reviewing here, that offers a very good speed with large capacity up to 4TB, or even better: Western Digital VelociRaptor, if your main concern is SPEED. You can read more about having an SSD with an HDD in one system by viewing this article.

Back to our review..

At 7,200rpm, Western Digital’s Black hard drive line sits midway between the low-power, efficiency-oriented Western Digital Green drives, at 5,400rpm, and the high-end VelociRaptor series at 10,000rpm. WD Black products use drive shafts secured at both ends to minimize vibration, have two onboard processors to handle the data load, and carry five-year warranties, which forms a great deal for many users.

The Model Tested

The model’s name of this drive under review is: WD4003FZEX which comes with 4TB capacity.

The WD Black 4TB desktop hard drive is the latest high-capacity, high-performance drive from WD. The 4TB Black isn’t entirely new of course, WD has been shipping a drive in this configuration for over a year. The prior 4TB model, WD4001FAEX, was a big step up at the time as it doubled the capacity of the 2TB Caviar Black and topped throughput by 12%. This time around, the WD4003FZEX doesn’t get WD any higher capacity, but it does boast some aggressive performance claims. WD figures performance gains of anywhere between 26%-48% depending on the capacity thanks to an improved dual-core processor and other controller and firmware improvements.

The WD Black 4TB has a SATA 6 Gb/s interface, 64MB cache, and is spread across five 800GB platters. In addition to the controller update, WD drives improved performance thanks to their Dynamic Cache Technology, which increases the HDD’s performance by improving caching algorithms in real time as well as optimizing the cache allocation between reads and writes. As a result, the drive automatically allocates more cache for read data, which reduces data congestion and increases overall performance.

The updated WD Black family comes in capacities of 1TB, 2TB, 3TB and 4TB and ships with a class-leading five-year warranty. The 4GB model goes for a street price of $279.99. We included this model in our best internal hard drive for 2015 list.


PC Magazine has well tested this drive, and their results were as follows:

In AS-SSD, the Western Digital Black 4TB hit 123MBps sequential read and 141MBps sequential write. That’s 23% and 51% faster than the Caviar Black 1TB, at 100MBps and 93MBps, respectively. The VelociRaptor was faster on both counts, at 201MBps read, and 187MBps write. The read speed difference is particularly interesting given that the VelociRaptor’s rotational velocity is only 38% faster than the Black 4TB’s 7,200rpm.

In PCMark 7, the Caviar Black 1TB scored a 2,056 points, the Western Digital Black 4TB scored a 2,282, and the Western Digital VelociRaptor hit 2,691. In this particular case, the WD Black 4TB drive is roughly 11% faster than the Caviar Black 1TB, while the VelociRaptor remains 18% faster than the 4TB Black.

An almost 10% performance difference between the 1TB and 4TB drives may not seem like much, but that’s actually a much wider gap. The real-world file copy tests point to much larger differences; the Black 4TB drive was 43% to 100% faster than the Caviar Black 1TB in those benchmark tests.

The WD Black 4TB WD4003FZEX is therefore picked to be in our fastest internal hard drive for 2015 list.


In a sense, the Western Digital Black 4TB has no equals. There are only two consumer-grade drives on the market with the same capacity and 7,200-RPM spindle speed, and this is the only one with five-year warranty coverage. You’d expect to pay a premium to be part of such an exclusive club, but the Black isn’t too pricey. It’s selling for $300 online, which works out to just seven cents per gigabyte.

The asking price is similar to the going rate for Hitachi’s Ultrastar 7K4000, which has the same capacity, spindle speed and warranty. On the other hand, Seagate released few months ago a new drive with model number ST6000NM0024. It’s the largest hard drive with 6TB capacity and runs at 7200RPM spindle speed. It offers a great performance but is somewhat pricey. At the time of writing, it costs $416.50.

The new WD Black ships in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB capacities and is the company’s updated offering in their high-performance, high-capacity line. The WD Black provides users with a reasonable power consumption option, as quoted power figures hit the 8W in typical idle operation and around 9W for an overall average. Beyond that, the drive features blistering speeds of 171MB/s of sustained throughput with great average latency response times. The new WD Caviar Black is by in large one of the fastest 3.5″ HDDs on the market today with its target users generally being those looking for the most explosive performance available in an HDD, without giving up capacity. Along with its top-in-class performance, the new WD drive also features Vibration Control Technology, or VCT, which allows the platters to adapt to any mounting problems or vibration conditions. As a result, this increases reliability, accuracy, and performance over time.


Western Digital Black 4TB got a few awards from some of the most prominent IT professionals. Below we list those awards earned by WD Black Hard Drive 4TB.

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