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Wester Digital External Drives


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#1 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 03:31 PM

I am never buying another Western Digital external drive again.  I've had such a negative experience with one that I bought at Best Buy during a sale they had on Black Friday 2009.  After several phone calls with their "tech" support, I finally got the original one replaced 2 months ago with a recertified model.Problems I've had with the drive were
  • Extremely long write times.  Using Robocopy, it takes hours to move 20 GB from my internal SATA drive.
  • Refreshing the list of contents take several seconds.  Even 10-20 seconds I could understand.  But it sometimes takes over a minute.
  • Light on the front cover scroll for no apparent reason indicating activity -- even when not in use.
  • A firmware flash update was available on their website.  It improved nothing for me.
With the replacement drive the problem with the long write times still exist.  To say that I'm disappointed with the performance of this drive would be a major understatement.  WD and Seagates are the only 2 brands I trust for hard drives.   If I'm ever in the market again for an external drive, I will probably go with Seagate exclusively.  You guys won't ever have to worry about running into this particular model in retail stores.  WD discontinued it shortly after I bought it.I hope their newer models have better firmware.... cuz this one is horrible!

Edited by Tushman, 29 December 2010 - 03:38 PM.


#2 ONLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:55 PM

Poop happens. I have the same negative opinion of Seagate drives due to my one really bad experience with one a few years back. I'm softening on Seagate, though. I might give 'em a chance again one day... if the price be right. :hysterical:

#3 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 11:51 AM

External USB drives are frequently hobbled by the interface chip located on the board in the enclosure. In an effort to keep prices down, less powerful chips are used. As a result, most USB drives are slow. What you are describing is unacceptable. I get those kinds of delays on the network, but I am running over a 100mbit router, and power management is turned on.Adam
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#4 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 01:03 PM

Indeed, it all does boil down to price.  They know once the bait is set - the fish will come.  Nothing could be more true of hardware components and hard drives in particular where capacity keeps growing and prices are relatively "cheap".My decision to purchase this particular Western Digital drive was in part based on my experience with 2 of their external drives that I bought in the past.  (Both of them good drives with performance that I've been pleased with).  Not only that I have had really good luck with their internal drives (IDE & SATA) over the years as well.  But the real eye catcher was the sale price - I think it was $115.00 (1.5 TB).  The fact that it came with USB 2.0/Firewire/eSATA interface was a real bonus for me.  I wanted firewire.With all the issues I've had with this drive and the cost incurred for the RMA shipping, that so called 'Black Friday' bargain wasn't so *hot* after all.  Whatever.... once I fill up the drive, hopefully I won't have to worry about write times again.  A couple of times I have thought ripping the hard drive out of the enclosure and buying a Vantec 360UFS enclosure --  I do have an IDE hard drive enclosure (also a Vantec model) that I have been pleased wiith.  But the cost is prohibitive for me.  I am unemployed and even if I was working, I'm not sure I want to spend $53 for an enclosure that may or may not be any better than this WD junk.

Edited by Tushman, 30 December 2010 - 01:05 PM.


#5 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 08:39 PM

My last "external" drive was also a Western Digital. It had USB, Firewire 400, and eSATA too. Now that drive lives in my Drobo FS.My major bottleneck now is the network, so i need to get gigabit and wireless N as soon as possible to start seeing any kind of speed from the Drobo.Adam
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#6 OFFLINE   patio

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 11:02 AM

Probably won't help byour HDD issue but for copy/move functions of large gobs of data i've found TeraCopy to be a fine product....

#7 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 05:34 PM

View Postpatio, on Dec 31 2010, 09:02 AM, said:

Probably won't help byour HDD issue but for copy/move functions of large gobs of data i've found TeraCopy to be a fine product....
I haven't tried TeraCopy... but I have used Ycopy which I really like.  (very fast). Unfortunately, there is no 64-bit version available.  The 32-bit which I have been using for a few years will probably work... but I don't want to risk the hassle of losing any files.  So since my operating system upgrade, I went back to using my trusty old Robocopy.  It's very reliable and there's a lot of switches to customize it the way you need.I'll have a look at TeraCopy and see what features would be of use to me.

Edited by Tushman, 31 December 2010 - 05:35 PM.


#8 OFFLINE   Frank Golden

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 05:37 PM

View Postpatio, on Dec 31 2010, 07:02 AM, said:

Probably won't help byour HDD issue but for copy/move functions of large gobs of data i've found TeraCopy to be a fine product....
It probably won't if the interface itself slow.Those transfer rates are absurd.The drive is probably a 4200 rpm model as well.I own 2 older Maxtor (before Seagate bought them) factory made external drives that work great.One came with a stripped down version of Dantz (now EMC) Retrospect that allows you to create incrementalbackups with the push of a button located on the front of the device.I was so impressed with Retrospect that I bought a license for the paid version.I hardly never use them anymore, preferring to backup everything to a 1 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 in aStardock docking station.No convenient button here but I created a shortcut that will launch Retrospect 7.0 and automatically performincremental backups of all the stuff on my two data partitions.I've been thinking of buying a USB 3.0 enclosure for a spare laptop drive.I found a USB 3.0 Express Card Adapter for my notebook that will give me up to 5 Gbit transfer speeds.Total cost to me about $40.00.I have one old enclosure for my SATA notebook drives that I got when SATA was a new item.My Acer was one of the first notebooks to use SATA in 2006.It was the only SATA enclosure I could find at the time.Nowdays most are SATA including several with USB 3.0 interface.
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#9 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 05:55 PM

View PostFrank Golden, on Dec 31 2010, 03:37 PM, said:

It probably won't if the interface itself slow.Those transfer rates are absurd.The drive is probably a 4200 rpm model as well.
4200 rpm?  Really?  How can an external drive that is less than 5 yrs old with eSATA/Firewire/USB 2.0 interface have an spindle rate that slow?  I find that incredibly hard to believe.  If what you say is true, they would have never bothered putting all 3 types of interface available on this model.

#10 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 10:07 PM

Was it a 2.5" drive pr 3.5", Tushman?Adam
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#11 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 10:43 PM

I have a WD Caviar Black 1TB drive in an Astone external case attached by eSATA. Copying is verrry fast using drag'n'drop in Dolphin. I've tried using a couple of dedicated copy apps, but speed is similar.
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#12 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 03:03 AM

View Postross549, on Dec 31 2010, 08:07 PM, said:

Was it a 2.5" drive pr 3.5", Tushman?Adam
Well it's sort of hard to find a 1.5 TB 2.5". :yes:  It's definitely 3.5".

#13 OFFLINE   Frank Golden

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 03:05 AM

View PostTushman, on Dec 31 2010, 01:55 PM, said:

4200 rpm?  Really?  How can an external drive that is less than 5 yrs old with eSATA/Firewire/USB 2.0 interface have an spindle rate that slow?  I find that incredibly hard to believe.  If what you say is true, they would have never bothered putting all 3 types of interface available on this model.
Just an idle thought to try to explain poor performance.More than likely it's the interface chip.Anything to save cost.BTW, have you opened the case and looked to see what drive is used?

Edited by Frank Golden, 01 January 2011 - 03:07 AM.

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#14 OFFLINE   Frank Golden

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 03:13 AM

View PostTushman, on Dec 31 2010, 11:03 PM, said:

Well it's sort of hard to find a 1.5 TB 2.5". :yes:  It's definitely 3.5".
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#15 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 06:23 AM

View PostFrank Golden, on Jan 1 2011, 01:13 AM, said:

Well sure they make them.  Back when I bought this a year ago, it was hard to find them for $115.  Of course they make large capacity drives,  the point is that the drive's firmware is the cause of the problems I've been having. Not the spindle rate.Do they even make hard drives these days with a 4200 rpm?  Sort of dumb to make an external hard drive with eSATA connection and have such slow spindle rates.  Especially 1.5 TB.  What purpose would that serve?  Even laptop hard drives spin upto 5400 rpm.I really don't need to take apart the HDD case to find out what's inside.  Nor is it easy to do so.  The product specifications listed on WD's website clearly state it is a 7200 rpm drive.

Edited by Tushman, 01 January 2011 - 06:28 AM.


#16 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 07:50 AM

Just a thought. What interface are you using on the computer to plug the external drive into? Is it USB? If so are you sure it's USB2? If it's a USB1 interface it would be very slow to move gigabytes of data. If it's Firewire, eSATA or USB2 it should be almost as fast as the drive itself.I mention this because I noticed a similar problem on my EeePC. Two of the USB ports are 1.1 and slow as wet weeks, whereas the other one is USB2 and way faster.
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#17 OFFLINE   Frank Golden

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 01:50 PM

View PostTushman, on Jan 1 2011, 02:23 AM, said:

Well sure they make them.  Back when I bought this a year ago, it was hard to find them for $115.  Of course they make large capacity drives,  the point is that the drive's firmware is the cause of the problems I've been having. Not the spindle rate.Do they even make hard drives these days with a 4200 rpm?  Sort of dumb to make an external hard drive with eSATA connection and have such slow spindle rates.  Especially 1.5 TB.  What purpose would that serve?  Even laptop hard drives spin upto 5400 rpm.I really don't need to take apart the HDD case to find out what's inside.  Nor is it easy to do so.  The product specifications listed on WD's website clearly state it is a 7200 rpm drive.
I know you have a fast drive Tushman. My comment was just an idle comment, a stab in the dark so to speak.Just trying to touch all bases.You never know what corners manufacturers make these days to save a buck.WD obviously made some concessions to create this product though not in the spindle speed.As to whether "they" make a 4200 rpm drive today the answer is yes.Neweg lists two notebook drives that have 4200 RPM spindle rates, they are obscenely expensive (compared to a much larger 7200 rpm model) and are probably indicated where heat might be an issue.

Edited by Frank Golden, 01 January 2011 - 02:05 PM.

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#18 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 04:21 PM

View PostFrank Golden, on Jan 1 2011, 11:50 AM, said:

I know you have a fast drive Tushman. My comment was just an idle comment, a stab in the dark so to speak.Just trying to touch all bases.You never know what corners manufacturers make these days to save a buck.
As I have tried to explain in this thread, it is anything but a fast drive.  I know you were just guessing.  But this time your guess was so far off the mark it wasn't even in the realm of possibilities.  Why in the world would a hard drive manufacturer like Western Digital make a hard drive with eSATA/Firewire/ USB connections and then only have 4200 rpm?  It would be borderline stupidity for their "management" staff to cut corners that way.  As for New Egg selling 4200 rpm drives - that's good for them.  But you'd be hard pressed to find 4200 rpm drives at a retail store like Best Best!  NOT a very common thing.Sun Rat:  I've been using the firewire connection since the day I bought it.

Edited by Tushman, 01 January 2011 - 04:22 PM.


#19 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 04:34 PM

Tushman,I think Frank was trying to say that Western Digital may have skimped on the interface board that connects the SATA connection to the eSATA, Firewire, or USB.It is very unlikely that the drive is 4200rpm. Most 3.5 inch drives are 5400rpm and up all the way to 15,000rpm. To cut costs, however, Western Digital probably put a 5400rpm drive in the enclosure to save money. It is unlikely that putting a 7200rpm drive in the same enclosure with the same cheap interface board would do any good. The interface board is going to be your "weakest link" in the chain of data to the computer. Since that cheap board (custom boards are expensive to design, and profit margins are razor thin) is in the drive enclosure, even a 4200rpm drive would still be fast enough to stay ahead of the interface board when transferring data.I have never seen an external USB/firewire drive come anywhere near the speeds the disk drive itself would achieve when installed directly to SATA. Your best bet to figure out if the issue is the drive would be to hook it up to eSATA. Using the eSATA bypasses the interface board directly and should show you the optimum speed from the disk drive in the enclosure.Adam
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#20 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 04:53 PM

View Postross549, on Jan 1 2011, 02:34 PM, said:

Tushman,I think Frank was trying to say that Western Digital may have skimped on the interface board that connects the SATA connection to the eSATA, Firewire, or USB.It is very unlikely that the drive is 4200rpm. Most 3.5 inch drives are 5400rpm and up all the way to 15,000rpm. To cut costs, however, Western Digital probably put a 5400rpm drive in the enclosure to save money. It is unlikely that putting a 7200rpm drive in the same enclosure with the same cheap interface board would do any good. The interface board is going to be your "weakest link" in the chain of data to the computer. Since that cheap board (custom boards are expensive to design, and profit margins are razor thin) is in the drive enclosure, even a 4200rpm drive would still be fast enough to stay ahead of the interface board when transferring data.I have never seen an external USB/firewire drive come anywhere near the speeds the disk drive itself would achieve when installed directly to SATA. Your best bet to figure out if the issue is the drive would be to hook it up to eSATA. Using the eSATA bypasses the interface board directly and should show you the optimum speed from the disk drive in the enclosure.Adam
The drive is 7200 rpm.  I'll find the URL again where I saw it.Edit:  I cannot find the link.  I saw it the other night but it was listed on a merchants website - not WD.  I've e-mailed WD asking them to verify this information as it is nowhere to be found on knowledge base or support section.  I can find everything including operating temperature and size - but nothing about spindle rate.  Lame.As for your suggestion about the eSATA - can I use any SATA cable?  I've got plenty lying around here in my mountain of clutter.My inclination is that the problem is with the firmware itself (rather than the board) is buggy.  Like I said in my original post - there was an firmware update available which did nothing for me.  But it raises a suspicion in my eyes about the quality of the vendor they used for the firmware.

Edited by Tushman, 01 January 2011 - 05:19 PM.


#21 OFFLINE   Frank Golden

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 05:54 PM

View PostTushman, on Jan 1 2011, 12:21 PM, said:

As I have tried to explain in this thread, it is anything but a fast drive.  I know you were just guessing.  But this time your guess was so far off the mark it wasn't even in the realm of possibilities.  Why in the world would a hard drive manufacturer like Western Digital make a hard drive with eSATA/Firewire/ USB connections and then only have 4200 rpm?  It would be borderline stupidity for their "management" staff to cut corners that way.  As for New Egg selling 4200 rpm drives - that's good for them.  But you'd be hard pressed to find 4200 rpm drives at a retail store like Best Best!  NOT a very common thing.Sun Rat:  I've been using the firewire connection since the day I bought it.
Alright, enough, I'm not stupid.I know that the product you got is slow.It is an enclosure that contains a hard drive.The drive itself is fast.The circuitry that connects it via USB is slow or the firmware is buggy.It is a POS product and you are stuck with it.Am I right here?All I've tried to do here is offer some ideas and help.Maybe I don't have your vast technical knowledge, I don't know.As for the link to the 4200 RPM drives, you asked if anybody made them anymore.

Edited by Frank Golden, 03 March 2011 - 06:16 PM.

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#22 OFFLINE   ross549

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 06:11 PM

View PostTushman, on Jan 1 2011, 03:53 PM, said:

As for your suggestion about the eSATA - can I use any SATA cable?  I've got plenty lying around here in my mountain of clutter.My inclination is that the problem is with the firmware itself (rather than the board) is buggy.  Like I said in my original post - there was an firmware update available which did nothing for me.  But it raises a suspicion in my eyes about the quality of the vendor they used for the firmware.
I am note sure. If the cable fits, I'd think it would.I would go a step further than you on the firmware. I bet that firmware was for the interface board. Is there any possibility that the drive could be replaced?Adam
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#23 OFFLINE   Tushman

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 07:31 PM

View Postross549, on Jan 1 2011, 04:11 PM, said:

I am note sure. If the cable fits, I'd think it would.I would go a step further than you on the firmware. I bet that firmware was for the interface board. Is there any possibility that the drive could be replaced?Adam
Replaced by me?  Or are you saying is it replaceable in general?I had to take out the HDD on these types of external enclosures before and it is a big PITA.  Unless you have a special type of "key" for it, it's hard to pry open the casing without causing some damage to the casing itself.In terms of dealing with WD - I've already had this drive RMA'd once - I'm not going back & forth with these guys - I've already spent enough time & money with them.  If I'm going to spend another $11 for shipping, I would rather put it towards a new enclosure.

#24 OFFLINE   ChipDoc

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 12:34 AM

View Postsunrat, on Jan 1 2011, 06:50 AM, said:

Is it USB? If so are you sure it's USB2? If it's a USB1 interface it would be very slow to move gigabytes of data.
If it was aUSB1, it'd be slow even to move megabytes of data.  Each of the images from my Canon would take eight or ten seconds to transfer - approximately one second per meg.
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#25 OFFLINE   b2cm

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 03:24 PM

Try reformatting the drive with a 64k cluster size.




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