Mar 05, 2014 Nick Rego
In recent years, SSDs have quickly become much more favorable and faster alternatives for storage than traditional HDDs. But while they certainly give your PC a much needed speed boost, they can still tend to be quite pricey, and SSDs with larger capacities can be quite expensive. Which is why WD’s Black 2 Dual Drive is a perfect solution for anyone looking for the speed and reliability of an SSD coupled with the extra storage space from a traditional HDD. The WD Black 2 Dual Drive combines a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD in one single device, making it a perfect upgrade for any desktop or laptop system.
The Black 2 Dual Drive measures 2.5” x 9.5mm, which means that it will install into pretty much any standard HDD chassis or laptop. The device isn’t a hybrid drive at all – it physically contains an SSD and a traditional HDD, so you know that performance won’t be affected in any way. To be honest, the Black 2 Dual Drive looks like a perfectly ordinary hard drive – it’s not until you plug it in do you discover the real magic.
After physically installing the drive into your desktop or laptop, you can either install your OS from scratch to the SSD, or use the included USB cable and software to clone your existing OS installation onto the Black 2 Dual Drive. By default, the HDD partition of the device is locked out – this is done so that there’s no confusion about where to install the OS. After you’ve booted into Windows, you simply download a piece of software from WD’s site which unlocks the 1TB HDD and lets you partition it as you would any other drive. Included in the box is a small USB key, which will directly take you to WD’s software download section.
Read and write speeds on the Black 2 Dual Drive were quite good, with both the SSD and HDD performing well. There are of course a few points to note – for one thing, RAID support isn’t available, and the device can only be used on a Windows system (Mac support is hopefully coming in the future). You do have an option of using the entire SSD+HDD as one drive, but you’ll face some performance issues as Windows won’t know where the SSD ends and where the HDD begins, so I suggest you stick to the default setup. The other thing to note is that if the drive itself gets damaged in any serious manner, you’ll be losing two drives, not just one.
The Black 2 Dual Drive is certainly a great device for space-constrained setups such as on a laptop, where you’ll benefit from running your OS off the SSD and storing data on the HDD. While there are other hybrid drives on the market, this is the first which is able to combine two physical drives into one streamlined device. The WD Black 2 Dual Drive is great value for money, offering the great combination of storage and speed in a single, easy to use device.
A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys playing videogames during work hours and tinkering with the latest gadgets.
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