Western Digital Caught Misrepresenting HDD RPM Speeds, Too

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Impression credit: Christaan Colen/Flickr

Before this calendar year, Western Digital received caught lying by omission when it came to disclosing that certain drives applied shingled magnetic recording (SMR) alternatively of conventional magnetic recording (CMR). Now, the enterprise has been caught misrepresenting how speedy certain tough drives spin — and making an attempt to weasel out of it with reference to a internet marketing declare that doesn’t imply what it applied to.

Evidently, enthusiasts have been making an attempt to prove Western Digital tough drives spin at the incorrect velocity for additional than a calendar year. Though WD Crimson drives are mentioned as “5400 RPM class” in Western Digital’s literature, the drives basically spin faster than that, at 7200 RPM. This may possibly appear like a non-difficulty, supplied that shoppers specifically reward from owning a 7200 RPM drive. But a 5400 RPM drive and a 7200 RPM drive are not mechanically fungible: 7200 RPM drives attract additional electricity and dissipate additional heat than a 5400 RPM drive. 7200 RPM drives are also noisier than 5400 RPM products.

How do you convey to if a drive is spinning at 7200 RPM? You evaluate its acoustic signature. Redditor DataHoarder writes:

The immediate way to measure rotational velocity is via the acoustic frequency profile. If you have a disk spinning at 7200 RPM (7200/moment = 120/2nd = 120Hz) then resulting vibrations will be at this base frequency or integer multiples (overtones) of it (120Hz, 240Hz, 360Hz, …). For 5400 RPM this would be multiples of 90Hz alternatively (180Hz, 270Hz, 360Hz, …).

This has been done and the final results affirm that these WD Crimson drives are spinning at 7200 RPM, not 5400 RPM.

This acoustic plot is from a WD80EMAZ-00WJTA0 drive within a WD Aspects 8TB SSD. The caption from Imgur states: “This drive is promoted as 5400 rpm and even studies as this kind of via Sensible, but the frequencies right here evidently show 7200 rpm!”

Ars Technica contacted WD and asked them about these discrepancies. Here’s the company’s response:

For choose products, Western Digital has posted RPM velocity in a “class” or “performance class” for various yrs instead than publishing certain spindle speeds. We also high-quality-tune choose tough drive platforms and the linked HDD qualities to build a number of unique variants of this kind of platforms to satisfy unique marketplace or application requires. By accomplishing so, we are able to leverage our economies of scale and move along those cost savings to our shoppers. As with every single Western Digital product or service, our product or service particulars, which contain electricity, acoustics and functionality (knowledge transfer price), are tested to satisfy the technical specs offered on the product’s knowledge sheet and internet marketing collateral.

This is disingenuous. I remember when WD began introducing “performance class” drives. It was not a way to secretly ship 7200 RPM drives without telling any individual. These drives basically spun a bit below 5400 RPM if I remember appropriately, in the title of conserving electricity. The WD Green might basically have been the drive to introduce this feature/nomenclature, and it was not something WD applied to secretly strengthen functionality. If a drive promoted at 5400 RPM basically spins at 7200 RPM, what is the distinction in between 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM drives? I’m reasonably certain WD isn’t transport 10K tough drives in 7200 RPM packaging.

Telling shoppers you’re advertising them a 5400 RPM drive when it’s basically a 7200 RPM drive could result in challenges if the hardware that drive is meant for just cannot dissipate the more heat or present more than enough electricity. Though this might not be a concern for a bulk of consumers, it’s also not the very first time we have found dishonest behavior from Western Digital. This is the 2nd time in a calendar year that the enterprise has misrepresented the hardware that it’s transport to shoppers. Real, in this scenario, the condition arguably breaks in the customer’s favor — but that doesn’t make it a very good thought for businesses to perform speedy and unfastened with technical specs. The phrase “performance class” applied to imply something distinctly unique than it apparently does now, and Western Digital under no circumstances bothered to convey to anyone it was shifting the meaning of the phrase.

The significant distinction in between this condition and the SMR incident is that in this scenario, everybody outdoors the little team of persons who may possibly have hardware challenges from working a 7200 RPM drive in a 5400 RPM enclosure/chassis is arguably being assisted. No matter, Western Digital’s situation in this matter is everything but exemplary. The tradition of breaking the tough drive marketplace up by spindle velocity is basically a long time previous, and Western Digital aids no one when it performs online games like this. Just simply because something isn’t actively harming shoppers at the second doesn’t make it a good thought, and being dishonest on deal labeling isn’t supporting, possibly. There are additional particulars on the subject matter at the Reddit thread previously mentioned, together with a certain record of impacted versions (all 8TB or higher).

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