With prices continually falling, SSD drives are no longer a luxury for the enthusiast. There is no doubt that SSD drives have significant advantages over their spinning brethren, but pricing aside…capacity continues to be the SSD’s Achilles’ heel. The current defacto solution to this conundrum is to pair your shinny SSD with a large capacity HDD. This pairing allows the user to decide how to handle their data management needs, performance or storage capacity. This works for most PC users, but in cases where design limitations prevent the use of two separate drives, the user is unfortunately forced into decision between one or the other. Will you ever be able to have your cake and eat it too?
Western Digital, an undeniable leader in the storage drive industry, took note of customer’s cries for help and through a little innovation, came up with a solution for those burdened by the single drive choice. So, how did WD solve the mystery of getting the benefits of both an SSD and an HDD in a single drive form factor? Well, the answer is literally in the question, they managed to sandwich a 120GB SSD and a 1TB spinning drive into a single 9.5mm 2.5″ form factor drive, the Western Digital Black² Dual Drive. Now before you think to yourself, we already have SSHD (also known as solid-state hybrid drives), this is not an SSHD. The onboard MLC NAND is not used for caching, it is available as a discretely separate storage space from the HDD. In other words, once installed, this single drive will appear as two separate formatted partitions on the same drive, allowing the user to decide for themselves, how they want to manage their data. Some obvious questions immediately spring to mind for me, but I can’t deny my excitement to give this thing a go.
Before we dive in deeper, let’s take a quick peek at the technical specifications for the WD Black² Dual Drive (WD1001X06XDTL):
Looking at the available technical specifications, the performance of the 20nm MLC NAND flash isn’t the fastest on the market, but then again no top end SSD offers 1TB of discrete HDD storage in the same drive.
Generally for storage drives, I don’t normally touch on the packaging, but the WD Black² Dual Drive packaging is worth noting. Aside from the extremely attractive black stylized box, the contents include the following:
- WD Black2™ Dual Drive
- Quick Install Guide
- Software (USB web key)
- Required to reveal the 1TB portion of the drive
- Support for Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8.
- Includes Acronis True Image WD Edition for drive cloning
- Warranty Guide (outlining the 5-year limited warranty)
- SATA to USB 3.0 Adapter Cable