Western Digital Caught Misrepresenting HDD RPM Speeds, Too

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Graphic credit history: Christaan Colen/Flickr

Before this yr, Western Digital obtained caught lying by omission when it came to disclosing that certain drives employed shingled magnetic recording (SMR) rather of typical magnetic recording (CMR). Now, the business has been caught misrepresenting how speedy certain challenging drives spin — and hoping to weasel out of it with reference to a internet marketing claim that doesn’t imply what it employed to.

Evidently, fans have been hoping to verify Western Digital challenging drives spin at the wrong velocity for a lot more than a yr. When WD Pink drives are detailed as “5400 RPM class” in Western Digital’s literature, the drives truly spin faster than that, at 7200 RPM. This might appear like a non-difficulty, offered that consumers instantly benefit from possessing a 7200 RPM drive. But a 5400 RPM drive and a 7200 RPM drive are not mechanically fungible: 7200 RPM drives draw a lot more electrical power and dissipate a lot more warmth than a 5400 RPM drive. 7200 RPM drives are also noisier than 5400 RPM merchandise.

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

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

This has been performed and the benefits confirm that these WD Pink drives are spinning at 7200 RPM, not 5400 RPM.

This acoustic plot is from a WD80EMAZ-00WJTA0 drive inside of a WD Features 8TB SSD. The caption from Imgur states: “This drive is marketed as 5400 rpm and even stories as such via Smart, but the frequencies right here plainly point out 7200 rpm!”

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

For pick out merchandise, Western Digital has printed RPM velocity in a “class” or “performance class” for quite a few decades instead than publishing specific spindle speeds. We also great-tune pick out challenging drive platforms and the associated HDD features to generate various different versions of such platforms to fulfill different market or application needs. By carrying out so, we are in a position to leverage our economies of scale and move alongside individuals price savings to our consumers. As with each individual Western Digital product or service, our product or service aspects, which include things like electrical power, acoustics and overall performance (data transfer charge), are examined to fulfill the technical specs furnished on the product’s data sheet and internet marketing collateral.

This is disingenuous. I bear in mind when WD started out introducing “performance class” drives. It was not a way to secretly ship 7200 RPM drives with no telling any one. These drives truly spun a little bit underneath 5400 RPM if I bear in mind effectively, in the name of conserving electrical power. The WD Environmentally friendly may well truly have been the drive to introduce this attribute/nomenclature, and it was not a thing WD employed to secretly improve overall performance. If a drive marketed at 5400 RPM truly spins at 7200 RPM, what is the variation concerning 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM drives? I’m quite certain WD is not shipping and delivery 10K challenging drives in 7200 RPM packaging.

Telling consumers you are marketing them a 5400 RPM drive when it’s truly a 7200 RPM drive could result in challenges if the hardware that drive is intended for can’t dissipate the further warmth or provide plenty of electrical power. When this may well not be a problem for a majority of users, it’s also not the first time we have found dishonest behavior from Western Digital. This is the next time in a yr that the business has misrepresented the hardware that it’s shipping and delivery to consumers. Correct, in this circumstance, the condition arguably breaks in the customer’s favor — but that doesn’t make it a great strategy for providers to enjoy speedy and loose with technical specs. The phrase “performance class” employed to imply a thing distinctly different than it apparently does now, and Western Digital never bothered to tell any individual it was switching the this means of the time period.

The large variation concerning this condition and the SMR incident is that in this circumstance, absolutely everyone exterior the small group of people today who might have hardware challenges from jogging a 7200 RPM drive in a 5400 RPM enclosure/chassis is arguably currently being aided. Irrespective, Western Digital’s posture in this subject is anything at all but exemplary. The tradition of breaking the challenging drive market up by spindle velocity is literally a long time old, and Western Digital helps no a person when it plays game titles like this. Just since a thing is not actively harming consumers at the minute doesn’t make it a fantastic strategy, and currently being dishonest on deal labeling is not supporting, possibly. There are a lot more aspects on the topic at the Reddit thread above, including a specific list of influenced products (all 8TB or higher).

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