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The rpm rating of this drive doesn't seem to be listed anywhere. Not on the box, not in the manual, not online, not even on Western Digital's website. I even called them but they were evasive, insisting that an external drive's rpm was not an important factor and that they didn't have that information anyway.

Finally I got an answer and, according to the supervisor, it is 7200 rpm. However, understandably, I would still like to verify this before I begin using the device. I've hooked it up to my MacBook but System Profiler doesn't list the rpm rating in the drive's specs. I'd pry it open to check the manufacturer label, but that would obviously void the warranty. Any ideas?

Model #: WDBC3G0020hal-00 (from the chassis)

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closed as off topic by Shinrai, Breakthrough, Dave M, Nifle, ChrisF Jan 18 '12 at 22:34

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You need to open the enclosure and look at the actual HDD inside of it. The RPM rating should be present on the drive label, and if not, you could simply look up the HDD model on the internet and get the information from there. – Breakthrough Jan 16 '12 at 18:36
I have looked up the model number online, but that has proven to be a fruitless endeavor. Any listing for the drive has omitted the rpm rating. Also, as stated, I'd like to avoid opening the chassis if at all possible (though I would do it as a last resort). – Nathanael Jan 16 '12 at 18:49
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes opening the case will void warranty, of course. However, most likely the drive inside is a Green Drive. I have opened MANY of the 1TB Mybooks, and they were all Green Drives. The bare drives in the 2TB range in the Green series are most popularly classified as "Intellipower" on the spin speed. This is a technology used to vary rpm and read speed for best performance to power consumption ratio. From the WD site on intellipower:

A fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate, and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance. Additionally, WD Caviar Green drives consume less current during startup allowing lower peak loads on systems as they are booted.

I did find a listing for a WD20EARX bare drive, which is one of the 2TB Green drives, and it lists 7200 RPM. So it seems there is mixed information out there, though there is a chance it is 7200 RPM. Take it as you may.

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Thank you. A clear answer if there ever was one. Since I work in pro-audio, a potential top-speed of 7200 rpm is not really helpful. Though I admire their effort at making a "green" device, if it can't keep up with the software at a consistent rpm, than the software will trip over itself, causing errors in live playback. Will exhange the drive. Thanks again! – Nathanael Jan 16 '12 at 19:34
Not necessarily. The throughput of the DRIVE is drastically different to that of the INTERFACE of the external enclosure holding the drive. SATA is 3Gbps (Now 6 on newer boards) on an internal connection. USB 2.0 is 480Mbps. Big difference. A firewire or eSata external drive might work better for you. – Paperlantern Jan 16 '12 at 19:50
From what I've read (russian article) - "Green" drives by WD have an intentional rotating speed of 5400-5900rpm. – XXL Jan 16 '12 at 19:51
To put it simply eSata > Firewire > USB. In terms of speed. Usb is the most common, but it's also the slowest. More and more systems are shipping with Firewire and eSata ports these days though. – Paperlantern Jan 16 '12 at 20:00
Drive access is via firewire 800. Since I'm using a MacBook, an external SATA drive is not really viable. – Nathanael Jan 16 '12 at 20:05

Use something like Argus Monitor, which can access SMART drive attributes of a USB-connected hard drive. It will list the model number of the hard disk inside the USB enclosure. Look that model number up on WD web site, read the specs and you'll know the RPM speed.

Please note that the model number of the hard disk inside has nothing to do with the model number of the enclosure. Moreover, I wouldn't be surprised if same enclosure has different model hard disks inside depending on manufacturing date, factory, etc. In order to find the speed of the disk, you need the model number of the disk, not the enclosure.

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I would just like to add that HDDScan is an identical lightweight tool (able to identify SMART of USB-connected devices). However, both of these are incompatible with OSX. – XXL Jan 16 '12 at 19:02
As mentioned, I'm using the drive with Mac OS X (which is also the drive's default system, though it can be formatted for Windows, obviously). For that matter, I can check the SMART status with the included software. As for the model number, would the model number on the manufacturer label really differ from the printed model number on the box? If they are the same, then I have already looked it up to no avail. And if I'm going to open it anyway, would that label not include the rpm already? Again, trying to avoid having to open it if I can. I'd like to preserve the warranty. – Nathanael Jan 16 '12 at 19:05
@Nathanael: Updated my answer. No need to open the enclosure, but you probably need access to a Windows machine unless you can find something for OSX that shows real model number of a hard disk in a USB enclosure. – haimg Jan 16 '12 at 19:50

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