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Home > Hardware Reviews > General Computing

Monday, February 25, 2002
Western Digital WD1200JB

1. Installation/Package

WD1200JB 120GB - Page 1

8MB Buffer at IDE Hard Disks!

- Introduction

on 7th of January 2002 announced the WD Caviar 120 GB Special Edition hard drive that uses an 8 MB buffer - the largest buffer available today in a 7,200 RPM desktop EIDE hard drive.

As Western Digital mentioned at the press release: "...The new WD Caviar hard drive combines the speed and performance of the previously announced WD Caviar 100 GB Special Edition 8 MB buffer with the massive capacity of 120 GB. "This drive truly represents what can be achieved when speed and performance are combined with capacity - the ability to handle users' most demanding applications such as digital video editing and commercial applications such as entry-level enterprise storage devices," said Rich Rutledge, vice president of marketing for Western Digital. "These greater capacity drives open the door for new types of usage that seemed far-fetched only a short time ago."

The WD Caviar 120 GB Special Edition 8 MB buffer hard drives provide a higher percentage of cache hits and significantly faster time to data than industry-standard 2 MB versions. The larger buffer improves performance because there is a reduction in the number of physical accesses to the disk. This allows data to stream from the disk uninterrupted by mechanical operations. The 8 MB buffer can also offer an advantage in a server environment, where data typically is accessed across wider portions of the disks. With additional buffer resources, read and write commands are more quickly queued and served to the user..."

With this review we examine how this "Special Edition" performs in our test benchnech. Since we don't have any other 120GB model, we compare it with the faster 40GB drives from Maxtor and WD.

- Package

For our tests, we received the retail box, which contained the WD120JB, a diskette with various software, the ATA66/100 ribbon, mounting screws, a quick installation guide and a printed manual in 3 languages. The drive is priced at around $379 at retail market:

- Features

Click to view the drive's full specsThe drive has 7200rpm rotation speed, supports ATA100 interface connection and includes an 8MB buffer. Looking at the drive's features, we see that Western Digital is using 3 platters of 40GB each, 16.383 cylinders and 16 logical heads. You can connect the 120GB drive through both PioMode4 and UDMA33/66/100 connection interface. For our tests we installed the drive as a primary slave and worked at ATA100 interface. Below are the main specifications of the WD1200JB:

 Read Seek Time (Average)
8.9 ms
 Buffer To Disk
602.0 Mbits/s (Max)
 Write Seek Time (Average)
10.9 ms (average)
 Mode 4 Ultra ATA
66.6 MB/s
 Track-To-Track Seek Time
2.0 ms (average)
 Mode 2 Ultra ATA
33.3 MB/s
 Full Stroke Seek
21.0 ms (average)
 Average Latency
4.2 ms (nominal)
 Rotational Speed
7,200 RPM (nominal)
 Buffer Size
8 MB


Bottom of the drive!

Below are the screenshots from the drive's features as the DTemp software reports. Note that the drive cannot report its internal temperature from SMART protocol therefore no thermal tests will be done:

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