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WD launches "world’s first" SSD+HDD dual drive

by Mark Tyson on 25 November 2013, 13:05

Tags: PC

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Today Western Digital has launched the WD Black2 dual drive. WD calls the new drive “a unique storage innovation that fuses a 2.5-inch 120GB solid state drive (SSD) with a 1TB hard disk drive (HDD)”. It’s interesting the firm uses the term ‘fuses’ in that sentence as it sounds a lot like the Apple Fusion drive introduced in the Mac Mini in 2012. Nevertheless it’s good to see this kind of drive available on PC, offering a good combination of capacity and SSD storage in a single small package.

“Our customers told us they like our Solid State Hybrid Drive technology, but our tech savvy users asked for more control of where they store their data,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of WD’s Storage Technology business unit. “The WD Black2 dual drives empower our customers to enjoy SSD performance and access high capacity storage in a no-compromise package. The WD Black2 dual drive is a direct result of our interaction with our customer base through WD Labs initiatives. WD devised its beta labs program to provide an exclusive testing arena for key customers and technology influencers of existing and emerging WD storage products.”

The WD Black2 dual drive, as mentioned above, fits its hybrid storage solution into the 2.5-inch form factor. The height of the drive is 9.5mm which is compatible with a good proportion of laptop PCs, All-in-Ones, SFF PCs and can easily be accommodated in a common-or-garden desktop case by a variety of means. We are told that the drive has a SATA 6Gb/s interface and connects via a single cable.

USB Key to unlock the HDD capacity

You can drop the drive into a standard 2.5-inch, 9.5mm deep drive slot on your PC and it will work with Windows OSes ranging from Windows XP to Windows 8.1. However there are some limitations which must be noted, should you be interested in this drive. According to PC World France, when the drive is first installed your system will see just the SSD portion. A user then inserts the supplied USB key and that will prompt the installation of WD’s driver which allows your system to work with the whole drive transparently. See the table below for other limitations.

We are told the WD Black2 dual drive will be available to buy from wdstore.co.uk and through e-tailers such as amazon.co.uk shortly. The MSRP for the 2.5-inch 120 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD WD Black2 dual drive, model #: (WD1001X06XDTL) is £249.99. However with dedicated 500GB SSDs available for around the same price, like the 7mm deep Samsung 840 EVO 500GB (reviewed here), the extra capacity offered by the WD Black2 dual drive had better be useful to you.

HEXUS Forums :: 25 Comments

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£250 why would anyone get it over a 120gb ssd for like £70 and a HDD for £50 which is less then half the price I could only see it being useful for laptops but even the a 1tb momentus drive is only around £80 sure it only has a 8gb ssd cache but for a third of the price it asks the question are you willing to spend 3x the price for a bigger cache? I personally would not bother.
Well that was interesting right up until I saw the lack of Linux support and then the price.

Couldn't they have just emulated a SATA port multiplier and present as two standard drives? Not compatible with everything, but then neither is this apparently.
Well that was interesting right up until I saw the lack of Linux support and then the price.
My thoughts too - Windows only driver and £250 - no way. Just had a quick look and an 120GB EVO and a 1TB Travelstar (7200rpm) comes to £140. So WD are looking for £100 just for the convenience of having a single bay solution. Driver support also means no chance to use this in NAS/media-server type devices.

Shame because when I saw the headline I thought - “ooh, SSHD with 120GB of SSD cache - that'll fly”, so disappointed when it turns out to just be a dumb bay saving idea.

Also took a very quick clicky trip and the 750GB EVO is “only” £150 more expensive. And that doesn't need any special driver, has very low power requirements (so better than the Black2 for laptops) and is silent (so better than the Black2 for HTPC applications). And by all reports the larger EVO's are faster than the smaller ones.

Didn't mention the 1TB EVO above because that's just under twice the cost of the Black2 - at the moment. That caveat was added because I'm very sure that it'll be significantly cheaper by this time next year. In which case if I was in the market for a Black2, I'll wait for the price of the EVO to fall. Failing that, a 1TB Seagate SSHD is less than £90 - c'mon Seagate let's have a SSHD with 32GB or 64GB flash!
Its for single drive laptops guys, not for desktops or dual-HDD laptops
It's at least £50 too pricey, it'd be better for me if it presented as 2 separate drives - that I could see a use for at the right price, but a poorly compatible fiddly cache solution just rings alarm bells for me. I'd sooner buy a 500GB SSD, I don't think many people need more than that as local storage in a laptop, and if they do then there are umpteen external solutions.