Often, we run into technical terms about different products and PC parts that are hard to understand.
However, we have no choice but to figure out their meaning to choose the right product for our needs.
IntelliPower hard drives are much the same.
Read on to figure out what they are.
Western Digital or WD, a popular manufacturer of hard disk drives, uses the term “IntelliPower” for some of its hard drive products, limited to those in the green line.
The WD green hard drives are earth-friendly and energy-efficient drives that produce less noise and less heat.
WD hasn’t explained much about exactly how the IntelliPower hard drives work, but here’s the information we found on their website.
IntelliPower hard drives try to meet the performance requirements of different programs by tuning the balance between their spin speed, transfer rates, and caching algorithms.
This way, the hard drives can deliver significantly less power consumption while performing at their best.
IntelliPower hard drives consume less current when starting up, allowing more drives to work and spin simultaneously, increasing the system’s readiness and speed.
Moreover, if the application or program you’re using needs sequential reads/writes, for the most part, the IntelliPower hard drive will perform comparably to a drive that spins at 7,200 RPM.
On the other hand, if the running programs perform mostly random mode operations, the hard drive’s performance may drop by about 10% due to latency time.
WD’s explanation about the word “IntelliPower” will cause the average user to believe that the hard drive will spin close to 7,200 RPM when you put your computer under heavy load while decreasing its rotational speed in non-demanding situations down to an unknown number.
However, one may wonder if a hard drive can change its spin speed by itself due to circumstances.
WD also states: “For each WD Green drive model, WD may use a different, invariable RPM.”
The word “invariable” here means that the drive can’t change its spin speed and has a fixed RPM number.
For this reason, many people seem to believe that IntelliPower drives aren’t that much different from an ordinary drive, and they try to hide the actual spin speed of the hard drives.
You won’t know if the actual RPM is 5,400, 5,900, or another number until you test it yourself, making IntelliPower just a marketing gimmick.
Some even believe that the IntelliPower hard drives rely heavily on their cache memory.
It’s assumed that these hard drives go to sleep mode when not in use for significant periods, which results in energy saving.
You must know that you can do some configurations to be more energy-conservative with a regular hard drive.
You’ll only have to head to the Windows Control Panel, find the hard drive settings, and change the settings, so the spinning stops when the drive is inactive.
Some of you may still be wondering if the IntelliPower hard drives can perform as well as the traditional Enterprise Edition line of WD hard drives that spin at 7,200 RPM.
Well, it’s safe to assume that they may simply not meet your performance needs based on WD’s statement.
Interestingly, Western Digital has stopped manufacturing WD Green hard disk drives.
They manufacture SATA and M.2 SSDs under the category of WD Green.
This has put an end to the IntelliPower hard drives.
It’s understandable if you haven’t understood the stated explanations, especially if you’re not much of a tech person.
To get a better grasp of the facts, familiarize yourself with the typical hard drive terms.
How Do Hard Drives Work?
Before we explain how hard drives work, let’s learn a simple fact about magnetism.
When you magnetize a metal object like a nail, it’ll stay magnetized until you demagnetize it.
That’s why hard drives use magnetism to store data, so they don’t lose the data when you turn off the computer.
The main component of a hard drive is a shiny circular disk named a platter.
The platter is made of a hard material like aluminum, ceramic, or glass and coated with a thin metal layer.
Both sides of the platter are coated, and some hard drives even have several platters stacked on each other with a small gap in between them.
Each side of the platters is divided into billions of small areas.
Hard drives store data in binary code, which is 1s and 0s.
Each of the platter’s areas can be magnetized to store a 1 and demagnetized to store a 0.
There’s a little magnet named a read/write head on both sides on the platter mounted on an electrically controlled arm that moves back and forth on the platter and magnetizes or demagnetizes the small areas to store information.
The platter also rotates so the read/write head can reach all parts of it.
The hard drive also has a brain in the form of an electronic circuit that controls its movements and connects it to the rest of the computer components.
What Is RPM?
Now that you know what goes on inside a hard drive, you can better grasp the technical terms.
Spin speed, RPM, or Rotations Per Minute all refer to the number of rotations the hard drive’s disk platter can have in a minute.
The faster it spins, the quicker your hard drive will access files, and the read/write time will be reduced.
The two popular spin speeds are 5,400 RPM and 7,200 RPM.
The speed of 7,200 RPM is suitable for those who frequently deal with huge files.
They’re better for running operating systems, running programs faster, and transferring files.
A speed of 5,400 RPM is a good choice for storing larger files.
The faster the spin speed, the more expensive the hard drive will be.
It’ll also consume more power and generate more heat and noise.
Some hard drives have spin speeds up to 15,000 RPM for fast performing PCs, and energy efficient hard drives lower the speed down to 4,200 RPM.
What Is Transfer Rate And Access Time?
The hard drive’s transfer rate includes the internal transfer rate and the external transfer rate.
The internal transfer rate, also referred to as the maximum sustained transfer rate, is the speed of reading and writing data on the hard drive’s disk.
The external transfer rate or interface transfer rate refers to how fast a hard drive can output data from its cache to the PC’s main memory.
The transfer rate is measured in megabytes per second or MBps.
To understand the access time of a hard drive, you first need to learn what seek time and latency mean.
Seek time is the amount of time it takes for the hard drive’s read/write head to find the location of a piece of data on the platter or disk.
Latency or rotational latency is the average time it takes for the specific area on the disk where the data is located to rotate into position under the read/write head.
Access time is the combination of command processing, seek time, and latency, measured in milliseconds.
Simply, it’s the time interval between your request for a piece of data and when the hard drive makes it available.
What Is Caching?
A cache is a data storage layer stored in high-speed hardware, mainly in the form of RAM used for storing subset data.
The hard drive stores some of the data that you’ve previously retrieved or computed in the cache memory so it can access it faster and provide efficient reuse of the information.
This way, it won’t have to access the underlying slower storage layer in every attempt.
All the data stored in the cache is also stored in the hard drive itself, and the cache memory can’t be considered a usable storage capacity.
How Can You Find Out The Hard Drive’s RPM?
For those who purchase a completed PC and want to know the specifications of the hard drive installed inside the case, you can take a look at its label.
You’ll have to open up the case to do so and read the spin speed written on the hard drive.
The second method is to Google your hard drive’s model and find the spin speed on the manufacturer’s website.
If you don’t know the hard drive’s model, here’s how to find out:
- Type “Device Manager” into the Windows search box.
- Locate and click on Disk Drives from the list.
- Once it expands, you’ll see your hard drive’s model number. If it doesn’t show the number, right-click on the name of the drive and select Properties.
- Head onto the Details tab and click on Hardware IDs in the dropdown menu.
The model number will be apparent.
Search it up and get the details about your hard drive.
Moreover, you can find out the hard drive’s RPM using third-party utilities.
This method is the only way to find out the actual RPM of an IntelliPower hard drive.
There are many free tools out there that can show you the hard drive specifications along with other helpful information about other PC parts.
Here are some of the more popular ones:
Can You Adjust the RPM And Transfer Rate In Hard Drives?
No, changing or improving the RPM and transfer rate of the hard drives isn’t possible.
These features depend on how the hard drive is made, and you can’t control them with software.
However, there are ways that you can increase the overall performance of a hard drive.
What Are WD Color Codes And How Are They Different?
WD identifies its hard drives with different colors to help the customers find what they need easier.
Currently, there are six colors, and here’s how they’re categorized.
1. WD Green
As mentioned before, the WD green were eco-friendly drives manufactured for low power consumption.
Of course, they fall short in performance in comparison to the other colors.
They were best for light computing and served best as backup drives.
Western Digital stopped the line of WD Green and is currently manufacturing SATA and M.2 SSDs in the green line.
2. WD Blue
WD Blue has replaced the WD Green.
It’s a general-purpose, reliable, and cost-effective hard drive manufactured for everyday use.
The Blue series of hard drives are good at casual gaming and storing data.
Their spin speeds vary from 5,400 to 7,200 RPM.
The newer models come with a built-in SSD, making them hybrids with enhanced speed.
3. WD Red
WD Red and Red Pro hard drives are designed for NAS and RAID systems.
Network Attached Storage or NAS is a storage media attached to a particular network.
Organizations use this network to form a central location to store data, much like a private cloud network.
The WD Red drives are better at reading than writing, and they can work 24/7.
4. WD Black
The Black series is made to reach the ultimate performance, and their target audience is professionals.
They’re specifically made for high-end gaming, video or photo editing, and any kind of content creation.
These drives are only available with a 7,200 RPM spin for maximum performance.
A 128-cache memory reduces the access time.
Of course, they’re more expensive and generate more heat and noise.
5. WD Purple
The Purple hard drives are high-capacity storage made for 24/7 video recording.
They’re mainly used for security video surveillance.
As opposed to the Red drives, they excel at writing.
6. WD Gold
The WD Gold hard drives are the most expensive and high-performance Western Digital Drives.
They’re used in data centers and for enterprise solutions for running clouds.
They can handle a workload of 550 TB per year, and they can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.