Western Digital (WD) is one of only three manufacturers producing hard drives and has been a provider of top-of-the-line hard drives for decades.
One of Western Digital’s most sought-after products is the Black series.
When looking into the Black series, however, you may come across a WD Caviar Black and wonder about the difference between WD Caviar Black and WD Black.
WD Black Vs. Caviar Black (What’s the Difference?)
WD Caviar Black and WD Black are the same product line of internal hard drives.
WD dropped Caviar from the series moniker around 2013 and began to market the hard drives simply as the Black series.
WD no longer produces the Caviar Black series, and it is not available for purchase through the official WD website.
The newer Black series has replaced the Caviar Black series.
What Is WD Caviar Black?
WD Caviar Black was Western Digital’s high-performance hard drive series.
The WD Caviar Black series provided a high-performance architecture along with a sold mechanical architecture designed to deliver maxed-out performance for PC and gaming setups.
The Caviar Black series used no-touch head technology, state-of-the-art vibration protection, and superior cool drive operation to maximize hard drive performance.
This series was strictly hard disc drive (HDD) and did not have a solid-state drive (SSD) option.
Caviar Black was one offering in the lineup of desktop hard drives available from WD which also included the WD Caviar Blue and the WD Caviar Green series.
What Were The Specs Of The WD Caviar Black Series?
In 2010, WD released the specification sheet for the then-current WD Caviar Black series.
Interface compatibility offered with the Caviar Black series included SATA 6 Gb/s and SATA 3 Gb/s.
The Caviar Black series only came in one size which was 3.5” x 1”.
Rotational speed for the Caviar Black series was 7,200 RPM and ranged in capacity from 500 GB to 2 TB.
The model numbers for the Caviar Black series included WD2002FAEX, WD1002FAEX, WD6402AAEX, WD2001FASS, WD1001FALS, WD6401AALS, WD1502FAEX, WD7502AAEX, WD5002AALX, WD1501FASS, WD7501AALS, WD5001AALS.
All the Caviar Black series had a 300,000 load/unload cycle count and came with a five-year limited warranty.
What Is WD Black?
WD Black is Western Digital’s top-of-the-line consumer-grade high-performance drive designed to maximize performance for gaming and high-intensity utilization for programs such as video editing.
The WD Black series comes in both HDD and SSD forms, which are designed to work together to fully optimize performance.
The WD Black HDDs are equipped with StableTrac technology (2TB models and up) as well as Dynamic Cache Technology to further increase reliability and optimize performance.
The Black HDDs come in two sizes, 2.5” and 3.5”, for greater flexibility.
The Black series also includes an SSD lineup which increases performance with load times up to 5,150 MB/s (1TB and 2TB models) as well as increased response time through the use of the PCIe Gen4 interface.
What Are The Specs Of The WD Black Series?
The current Black series has multiple offerings for HDDs and SSDs, but the current Black series offering comparable to the Caviar Black series is the WD Black 3.5” Gaming Hard Drive.
The interface for the 3.5” Black series is SATA 6 Gb/s.
The rotational speed for the Black series remains at 7,200 RPM for both the 3.5” and the 2.5” HDD.
The Black series has a capacity ranging from 500 GB up to 10 TB and includes double the DRAM cache and up to 256 MiB1 for read operations.
Like the Caviar Black series before, the Black series uses StableTrac and Dynamic Cache Technology to increase reliability and optimize performance.
The WD Black series also comes with Western Digital’s five-year limited warranty.
The model numbers for the WD Black HDD 3.5” series include WD101FZBX, WD8001FZBX, WD8002FZWX, WD6004FZWX, WD6003FZBX, WD4005FZBX, WD2003FZEX, WD1003FZEX, WD5003AZEX.
Model numbers for the Black 2.5” series include WD10SPSX, WD5000LPSX, WD5000LPLX, WD3200LPLX, WD2500LPLX.
Can You Still Buy A WD Caviar Black Drive?
Yes, you can still purchase a WD Caviar Black drive.
While Western Digital did discontinue the entire Caviar Black line, there are still ways to purchase new and refurbished WD Caviar Black drives.
Amazon has the Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 7,200 RPM 64 MB Cache Internal Hard drive model WD2002FAEX available for a bulk purchase of 20 drives.
You can also find a wide variety of WD Caviar Black HDDs for sale on resale sites such as eBay.
It is important to note, however, that these Caviar Black drives are not compatible with newer operating system versions such as Windows 10 and the latest Mac OS versions.
What Is Caviar Blue?
WD Caviar Blue was the mid-tier consumer HDD offering from Western Digital.
It offered performance closely matching the Caviar Black but with only a three-year limited warranty.
The Caviar Blue’s capacity ranged between 250 GB and 1 TB with either a PATA or SATA interface depending on the model.
Rotational speed was the same as the Caviar Black at 7200 RPMs and a buffer size up to 64 MB.
Like the Caviar Black, the Caviar Blue series continues as the Blue series, with Caviar dropped from the name.
Caviar Blue is also available for purchase through sites such as Amazon or resale sites such as eBay.
Also like the Caviar Black series, the Blue series is no longer supported by Western Digital, and the three-year limited warranty will not be honored.
What Is Caviar Green?
The Western Digital Caviar Green was initially released as the “greenpower” Caviar GP.
The goal of the Caviar GP was to be more energy-efficient while still offering an acceptable level of performance as well as a large capacity of 1TB.
The Caviar GP was the first WD Caviar hard drive to offer 1TB of space.
This space was achieved through the use of four 250 GB platters.
Later, WD rebranded the Caviar GP to the Caviar Green and used three 333GB platters instead of the four platters the Caviar GP used.
To reduce power consumption, the Caviar Green uses Western Digital’s IntelliPower.
WD stated that the Caviar Green ran between 5,400 and 7,200 RPMs.
Outside testing of the Caviar Green places the RPMs closer to 5,400 than 7,200.
Like the Caviar Blue, the Caviar Green came with a three-year limited warranty.
Caviar Green drives, like Caviar Black and Blue drives, can be purchased through Amazon or eBay, again, without the WD warranty.
What Do The Model Numbers On WD Hard Drives Mean?
The model numbers of the hard drives produced by Western Digital may seem random, but they follow a very particular format.
An understanding of the format can provide valuable information about the exact capabilities of the product.
A model number contains two letters followed by four digits followed by four more letters.
For example, one WD Caviar Black model is WD2002FAEX.
As you may have noticed, all of the WD products begin with WD as the first two letters.
The first two letters of the model number indicate the company’s initials.
In this case, the first two letters are WD for Western digital.
The three numbers following the WD indicate the capacity of the drive in either gigabytes or terabytes.
For gigabytes, for example, a 640 GB drive would be labeled WD640xxxxx.
With drives measured in terabytes, or TB, the decimal would come after the first digit.
For example, in a 1 TB drive, the model number would be WD100xxxxx while an 8 TB drive would be WD800xxxxx.
The fourth number is used by manufacturers as a product code and does not translate into extra space on the drive.
Do All Hard Drive Model Number Formats Follow The Same Formula?
No, all hard drive model number formats do not follow the same formula.
Seagate uses a series of numbers and letters in the format of ST500MX001A.
The first two letters indicate the brand, such as ST for Seagate, followed by the capacity in two to four digits.
In our example, the capacity is 500 GB. A TB drive would only have two digits such as 10 for 1TB.
The next two letters tell which segment the drive is part of.
For our example, the MX stands for Mission-Critical.
The next three letters stand for attributes as defined by Seagate.
Finally, the last letter is the generation.
Toshiba’s hard drive model number format is slightly more involved than either Western Digital or Seagate.
The first two digits of the model number of a Toshiba hard drive indicate what type of hard drive the product is, such as DT for Desktop HDD and Video Stream HDD or MB for Enterprise Performance HDD, as well as what model number formula the product will follow.
All of Toshiba’s hard drive model numbers do contain information on the hard drive’s series number, interface, RPMs, height, and capacity.
Additional information may be offered depending on the product type such as interface speed and options.
Farquhar, Dave. “History of Western Digital Hard Drives.” The Silicon Underground, 30 June 2020, https://dfarq.homeip.net/history-of-western-digital-hard-drives/.
Meaning of Model Number | Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation | Asia-English. https://toshiba.semicon-storage.com/ap-en/storage/support/storage-products-hdd.html. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
New, Simplified Seagate Model Numbers. https://www.seagate.com/files/staticfiles/docs/pdf/marketing/st-model-number-cheat-sheet-sc504-1-1102us.pdf. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
Warranty Policy | WD Support. https://support-en.wd.com/app/Warranty_Policy. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
WD Black Product Brief. https://documents.westerndigital.com/content/dam/doc-library/en_us/assets/public/western-digital/product/internal-drives/wd-black-hdd/product-brief-western-digital-wd-black-mobile-hdd.pdf. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
“Western Digital Model Numbers | PDF | Information Storage | Digital Electronics.” Scribd, https://www.scribd.com/document/231266863/Western-Digital-Model-Numbers. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
“Western Digital’s Caviar Green Hard Drive.” The Tech Report, 28 Oct. 2008, https://techreport.com/review/15769/western-digitals-caviar-green-hard-drive/.