Western Digital's 4 TB WD4001FAEX Review: Back In Black

Western Digital has a new 4 TB flagship. Its WD4001FAEX is part of the company’s Black family of performance-oriented drives. Spinning at 7,200 RPM, it might seem at home in a high-end desktop, but our numbers suggest it might fare better in a server.

Western Digital recently added a new model to its Black family of performance-oriented hard drives. The new disk, technically referred to as WD4001FAEX, sports 4 TB of space. It spins at 7,200 RPM, employs a 6 Gb/s SATA interface, and includes 64 MB of cache.

Although the company won't divulge how many platters this behemoth uses to hit its capacity ceiling, our benchmark/power data suggests the magic number is five. You can’t tell by simply looking at it; the drive is 26.1 mm-thick, just like many other 3 and 4 TB repositories.

As a general rule, the more capacity a hard drive hosts, the longer it takes to benchmark. Western Digital's WD4001FAEX is certainly no exception. It took us 19 hours of testing to get a complete picture of its performance. Fortunately, the company kept this in mind when it sent out samples, providing us with some much-needed sugar. It's too bad that you don't get chocolate as part of the disk's standard bundle. When you spend $330, a bare 4 TB hard drive is all you get.

Technical Specifications

Western Digital
Model NumberWD4001FAEX
Form Factor3.5"
Capacity4 TB
Other Capacities
500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
Cache64 MB
InterfaceSATA 6Gb/s
Operating Temperature
0-55° C
Power Consumption at Idle (Manufacturer's Specifications)8.1 W
Power Consumption at Idle (Measured)7.9 W
Maximum Allowable Shock Level (2 ms, read)65 G

Benchmark System

Benchmark System Hardware
Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge), Stepping D2, 32 nm, 4C/4T, 3.3 GHz Base Clock Rate, 3.7 GHz Maximum Turbo Boost, 4 x 256 KB L2 Cache, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache, HD Graphics 3000, 95 W TDP
Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3, Revision: 0.2, Chipset: Intel Z68 Express, BIOS: F3
2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333, Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D
System SSD
Intel X25-M G1, 80 GB, Firmware 0701, SATA 3Gb/s
Benchmarked Hard Drive
Western Digital Black WD4001FAEX, 4 TB, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/s, 7,200 RPM
ControllerIntel PCH Z68 SATA 6 Gb/s 
Power Supply
Seasonic X-760 760 W, SS-760KM Active PFC F3
Benchmark Software
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64
h2benchw 3.16
PCMark 7 1.0.4
I/O Benchmark SoftwareIOMeter 2006.07.27
Webserver Benchmark
Database Benchmark
Fileserver Benchmark
Workstation Benchmark
Streaming Reads
Streaming Writes
4K Random Reads
4K Random Writes
System Software and Drivers
Software and DriversDetails
Operating System
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate SP1
Intel INF9.2.0.1030
Intel Rapid Storage Technology10.5.0.1026
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  • HEXiT
    5 platters? wow thats gonna need some baffling to keep quiet.