"Caviar Green" -should I buy it? / sleep mode

I’m considering getting a couple of WD10EARS (1TB Caviar Green) SATA drives because of their reported low noise

characteristics, but have a couple of concerns after having read discussions here and other places online:

I’ll be using it in an external enclosure with a Firewire 800 interface.

The drive will be connected to a Mac.

  1. It appears that the drive sets itself to “sleep” mode every now and then. Is it possible to configure the drive so as this is turned off completely? (MacOS can power down drives after periods of inactivity anyway, and without causing any problems like a self-powering drive usually does).

  2. I’ve read issues about it not being suitable for RAID and being unreliable and having low performance in general.

Is there any truth to this, or is it on par with most other drives/brands out there, and just the unhappy few let out their frustrations here while those happy with it don’t say anything?

  1. I read somewhere that there are problems hot-swapping these drives (it’ll be mounted inside a hot-swap drive tray enclosure). Is there any truth to that?
  1. sleeping: this is a problem for me - my NAS has slowed down *massively* since installing a WD15EARS green drive. My i/o reports that the system spends a lot of time waiting for this drive.

  2. no good in my mirror, probably due to (1)

  3. i’ve tested disconnecting the drive and my operating system (OpenSolaris) won’t see the drive when it is reconnected. My older SATA drive from a laptop worked just fine.

I’m very displeased with my purchase of this drive. I hope it fails quickly so I can return it for a cash refund.

I was hoping for a different answer :cry:

So sleep/idle can’t be disabled for these drives?

I read an article where a DOS utility can be used to disable it completely. The article linked to a utility called WDidle 3, but according to what’s written on the WD download page; (a) it doesn’t work for Caviar green drives and (b) it only modifies the firmware to wait longer to sleep, but not turn it off:

This firmware modifies the behavior of the drive to wait longer before positioning the heads in their park position and turning off unnecessary electronics. This utility is designed to upgrade the firmware of the following hard drives: WD1000FYPS-01ZKB0, WD7500AYPS-01ZKB0, WD7501AYPS-01ZKB0.

CAUTION: Do not attempt to run this software on any hard drives other than what is listed above.

I have no way of testing it as I’m on a Mac (yes, I know the above article explains how to do it on a Mac, but my particular Mac won’t run Windows/DOS), but if this really would solve the problem after all I might consider getting this drive after all (I want a quiet drive) -I could borrow a PC just to run this utility on my drive(s).

Mattski : did you try the WDidle 3 utility, and did that help?

There’s some more info here. But there’s some discussions here whether the utility makes any difference with recent WD drives or not. Some say that it’s possible to extend the auto-park (the same as sleep?) timer but not disable it entirely while others say newer WD don’t respond to any changes made with WDidle 3.

Furthermore, for RAID/server systems there’s something similar called TLER (apparently some kind of sleep mode as well), and that sounds like the problem you have. According to this site there’s a separate utility you can download which should disable it. Maybe that would solve your problem!

I’d be really pleased if you or someone else could check these things out before I decide if I should buy this drive or not. I do want a silent drive (which the WDxxEARS is reported as being), but I definitely don’t want a drive which gives me other problems or dies on me simply because WD have designed it so that it’ll wear out unnecessarily.


Aside from being an Advanced Format drive the WDXXXEARS drive, may respond to the WDIDLE3.  But I’ve heard the same as you - that it doesn’t always seem to work.  Since there’s been no replies, maybe you should try contacting WD’s Technical Support about this. You can do so either by phone or email.

To Contact WD for Technical Support

I contacted WD almost a week ago about these issues.

No reply, which is why I’m asking here instead.

If you’re that concerned about whether the WDIDLE3 will work, then I’d recommend passing on the drive. 

We have had the same problem with a Time Machine backup server we have.  We installed the 4 x 1.5tb Cavier Greens in the server.

The server itself is running Linux CentOS(Red Hat) as the os.  The way we got around the problem is we set up a cron job to touch a very small file (a simple 16 byte text file that is erased after it touched) every couple of minutes to the hard drives.  The idea being that if the hard drive is touched or written to the sleep mode would be reset every time.

So far is has worked.