Western Digital announces Green terabyte hard drives

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Lake Forest (CA) – Hard drives are among the most power hungry components in your PC. We have see several new ideas to cut power consumption of the devices with new technologies such as hybrid hard drives, but Western Digital claims that it has found a way to make its upcoming 1 TB hard drive use 40% less power than competing products.

Reducing power consumption is one of the most significant trends to be hitting virtually every part of our lives, not just microprocessors for the sake of keeping the directly related heat dissipation within acceptable levels. For computers, hard drives are only the latest devices to be seeing some progress in making these products more power efficient than what we typically buy today.

According to Western Digital (WD), the power savings in fact can be quite impressive. Granted, the 3.5” "GreenPower" models are using the most power-demanding hard drive foundation that never had a focus on power efficiency. But a 40% reduction in power consumption is dramatic, no matter how you look at it.

WD claims that the 4-disk 1 TB Green drive shaves more than 5 watts off the consumption of other 1 TB drives, which, according to the company, typically consume about 13.5 watts. A quick look at competing devices reveals that WD uses the high-end for its comparison, as Hitachi GST’s 5-disk 1 TB drive is rated at an average power consumption (during read/write processes) of 13.6 watts, while Seagate’s upcoming 1 TB 4-disk drive is promised to consume only 12.0 watts in a comparable scenario. Samsung will soon release a 3-disk 1 TB drive, which is expected to run at less than 11.0 watts.

Still, WD says that its 1 TB drive will come in at a range of 8 - 8.5 watts, which translates into surprising economical and ecological savings. In terms of money, that improvement can save you $10 per hard drive in electricity per year – not much for a single desktop, but substantial for a server farm with 10,000 and more drives. According to WD, the power savings on these 10,000 drives (comparing 8.5 watt to 13.5 watt drives) reduce the involved CO2 emissions by about 600 metric tons per year - which translates into 400 less cars on the road per year.

On a single drive, WD estimates that the CO2 reduction adds up to about 60 kg per year, which compares to taking your car off the road for 14 days.

The Energy Star 4.0-compliant WD Caviar GP 1 TB hard drive will first ship in July in the My Book range of storage appliances, with 1 TB desktop channel shipments following in August. GreenPower versions of WD RE enterprise drives and WD AV consumer electronics drives will ship in volume within calendar Q3, the manufacturer said.

Pricing of the drives has not been announced.