REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
The performance of the WD Black2 Dual Drive is a bit of a good news / so-so news situation. Boot speeds are truly SSD-fast. Read performance with compressible data was very strong, and in many of our benchmarks the dual drive handled compressible and incompressible data equally well. Write speeds being “capped” at a maximum of 145-147 MB/s, no matter the situation, was a bit disappointing. This could be a limitation of being paired with an HDD that has to occasionally be written to. A PCMark Vantage HDD suite score of over 57,000 was a pleasant surprise, especially the fact that it was a 28% increase over the SSD by itself. Both the SSD alone and the Dual Drive setup exceed WD’s stated sequential read and write speeds of 350 MB/s and 140 MB/s, respectively.
The other sticking point I have about the WD Black2 Dual Drive is WD’s asking price. Granted, once on the market for a bit prices tend to edge downward, but $300 as a starting point may limit its appeal. The standard argument we are going to here will be something to the effect of “But I can readily buy a 128GB SATA III SSD and 1TB HDD, both being models with superior performance to the Black2, and have a few dollars left over.”
In WD’s defense, we cannot fit the two separate drives into a laptop or notebook with a single drive bay. We also are not receiving a free Acronis TrueImage download or a USB-to-SATA adapter cable for cloning purposes, nor are we receiving the proprietary partition management software for the price of the two individual drives.
I can perceive value when I look at what all is included, but the average potential customer may not be willing to look at it more closely if the $300 price of admission scares them off. If WD can figure out how to get the Black2 Dual Drive down below $250, preferably at the MSRP level before any discounting comes into play, the consumer appeal would go up dramatically.
The WD Black2 Dual Drive is a bit of an enigma. The potential market that WD is keying this product to is laptops / notebooks with a single 2.5″ drive bay. The product itself appears to be either a successful implementation of new technology; or a successful implementation of a different approach to existing technology. It would seem more than a bit limiting to bring to market something that has potential magnitude to it, and only offer it to a rather narrow market. Does WD have other such implementations on its drawing board?
All in all, the WD Black2 Dual Drive is a very interesting storage product, and is certainly worthy of our Innovation Award!