Questions about the WD1003FBYZ I just received

Hi all,

I just received a replacement WD1003FBYZ from a reputable online store, and it doesn’t look like the Re4 drives I know. 

I expected to see this:

And instead, saw this:

I’m used to at the very least always seeing the yellow label “Enterprise Storage” slapped on the HD, and the actual physical design for the drive seems completely different (the top plate design looks nothing like the FBYZs I’m used to).

Can anyone explain the discrepancy? What exactly do I have in my hand? Checking the SN on the WD website tells me that the drive has no WD limited warranty (guess I’ll have to go through the reseller, even though the drive was sold to me as new and with a 5 year warranty - no mention that it wasn’t through the manufacturer). Guess it’s an OEM part drive. But why the different physical design? It looks exactly like a Black FAEX drive… I don’t want a top-binned FAEX with a Re4 firmware, I want a FBYZ with FBYZ internals…

Thanks to whoever has all the clues for me! :slight_smile:


As a recommendation, please contact the replacement team that assisted you to replace the drive, so they can help you to get the correct unit. However, those units are both WD1003FBYZ and the difference on the label might be depending on the manufacturing date.

What I gather from WD’s marketing blurbs is that Re4 enterprise drives incorporate RAFF (Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward) technology whereas Caviar Blacks do not.

WD’s information sheet states that …

"RV sensing in the RAFF implementation is accomplished by using two linear accelerometers placed on the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA). The sensor locations are optimized for separation distance and PCB mounting conditions. The accelerometers produce signals due to vibration. The two signals are subtracted from each other to generate a Differential Sensor Signal (DSS). This signal is proportional to the vibration magnitude.

RV control effort feed-forwarding is achieved by digitizing the DSS. The digitized DSS is sent to the microprocessor. The microprocessor generates a control effort signal by processing the digitized differential sensor signal according to a sophisticated control algorithm. This feed forward control effort is in addition to the conventional servo control approach in hard drive operations (see Figure 2)."

Rotational Vibration Cancellation Technology in WD Enterprise Hard Drives:

Basically what this means is that the Black and Re4 drives may use the same PCB, but the Re4 PCB will be populated with two additional shock sensors (white) at the corners of the PCB. These are typically angled at 25 or 45 degrees.

Unfortunately Figure 2 in WD’s document (Dual Linear Sensor RAFF Functional Block Diagram) shows a standard servo with no feed-forwarding. Instead the correct RAFF diagram can be seen in section 3.3 of the following manual.

WD RE3 XL333M Tech Ref Manual:

In short, if you want to distinguish an Re4 from a Black, then look for the two shock sensors. In the following photo there is one sensor at the bottom left corner, and there are two in the top right corner. The two larger sensors detect rotational vibration whereas the smaller sensor is a general shock sensor.

I believe you will need a Torx 6 driver to remove the PCB.

That said, I wonder if Blacks have the same sensors and simply disable them in the firmware. It wouldn’t be the first time that two market segments were addressed with a single product simply by crippling the design.

There was no such team, I just ordered a new WD1003FBYZ online.

I understand both drive types are labeled WD1003FBYZ, but the WD1003FBYZ re4s I know have a different physical design from the FAEX Blacks (see first picture). This particular type of WD1003FBYZ looks exactly like a Black drive, except for the label. Can someone at WD assure me that the internals are all from a re4 drive? I chose re4s for a reason, and wasn’t expecting there was a second kind of WD1003FBYZ that might not be all I was expecting it to be.

Will look as soon as I can find my Torx drivers and report back - thanks Fzabkar

Here is a WD1002FAEX-00Y9A0 Black PCB that incorporates the additional shock sensors:

However WD’s spec sheet states that Blacks do not incorporate RAFF, and that such features are only available in enterprise drives:

WD Caviar Black Series Disti Spec Sheet:

“WD Caviar Black Hard Drives are not recommended for and are not warranted for use in RAID environments utilizing Enterprise HBAs and/or expanders and in multi-bay chassis, as they are not designed for, nor tested in, these specific types of RAID applications. For all Business Critical RAID applications, please consider WD’s Enterprise Hard Drives that are specifically designed with RAID-specific, time-limited error recovery (TLER), are tested extensively in 24x7 RAID applications, and include features like enhanced RAFF technology and thermal extended burn-in testing.”

So does this mean that Blacks are really just crippled enterprise drives?

fzabkar wondered if Blacks are really disabled enterprise drives. Note that a current 1TB Black WD1003FZEX has “Host to/from drive (sustained)” of 150 MB/s, while a 1TB RE WD1003FBYZ has one of 128, according to WDC’s current PDFs. In the last few days I was pondering whether to buy Black or RE drives for desktops and noticed the speed difference. Perhaps durability has a cost in speed.

I have pre-Black (SE-16), 32MB cache Black, slightly newer 32MB cache (fewer platters too) Black, and current 500GB and 1TB Blacks, with the oldest 32MB cache Black having the four black plastic plugs seen on your second photo, while the others have cases like your first photo. Your second and third photos are almost dead ringers for my oldest 32MB cache Black.

I asked WDC support about the different cases for Blacks and was told that configurations and cases change without notice. The number of platters and heads will change within the same model number because WDC will use the densest platters it has at the time.

AFAICT, the Black WD1003FZEX is an AF drive whereas the RE WD1003FBYZ is non-AF. This means that the Black should have an 11% faster transfer rate, all other things being equal. The Black WD1002FAEX has a sustained transfer rate of 126MB/s which is on par with a non-AF drive. All three appear to have two 500GB platters.

I notice that the Black spec sheet talks about Vibration Control Technology. Perhaps this explains the two extra shock sensors. That said, I don’t understand how VCT differs from RAFF.

Also, I see that the enterprise drives have dual actuators, but that’s only for the 2TB+ models. There is also mention of a “multi-axis shock sensor”, but it’s not clear whether it refers to the smaller shock sensor adjacent to the SDRAM. This smaller sensor is also present on the Black. There is a component at U7 which I don’t recognise, but it appears to be present on both the Black and RE drives. The other difference is the load/unload ramp on the RE models.

WD Black Series Spec Sheet:

WD Re Series Spec Sheet:

As for Stabletrac, AFAICT WD have added a single screw, called it Stabletrac ™, and then got their marketing department to beat it up.

“Used on WD high-capacity hard drives and to further ensure reliability, WD’s StableTrac technology was incorporated. StableTrac’s motor shaft is secured at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilize platters for accurate tracking during read and write operations. Most current hard drive designs feature motors that are only attached on the bottom of the hard drive, which can cause missed read revolutions. StableTrac allows end-user data to be retrieved fast without missing revolutions.”

Stabletrac video demo:

WD Scorpio Blue Mobile Hard Drives Spec Sheet:

StableTrac - “Motor shaft affixed to the baseplate and top cover stabilizes platters for accurate tracking during read and write operations, yielding higher drive data throughput in harsh shock and vibration environments. Supporting the top cover with the shaft also increases robustness to pinch forces.”

What really surprised me is the absence of “3D Active Balance Plus” in the enterprise-class HDDs. Apparently this technology is only present in the consumer grade Reds.

NAS brochure:

Red - Personal/SOHO NAS HDD
Se - Enterprise capacity NAS
Re - Enterprise performance NAS

Red - Intellipower, NASware 2.0, 3D Active Balance Plus, Small-NAS f/w
Se - 7200 RPM, TLER, StableTrac, RAFF, Enterprise-class f/w
Re - 7200 RPM, TLER, StableTrac, RAFF, Enterprise-class f/w

I couldn’t find what I was looking for on WD’s web site, but I found the following review:

According to WD …

“3D Active Balance Plus - Our enhanced dual-plane balance control technology significantly improves the overall drive performance and reliability. Hard drives that are not properly balanced may cause excessive vibration and noise in a multi-drive system, reduce the hard drive life span, and degrade the performance over time.”

According to the reviewer …

“I used WD’s blurb for that last one, but as a translation - this is HUGE. There is a system of movable counterbalances installed in the spindle motor hub assembly. These weights are free to shift, and with the drive at speed, those parts will settle in positions which act to actively counter vibrations. WD had a video showing this, but I prefer a simpler automotive-related analogy, which I will present in the form of this video: Western Digital’s system is much more complex than the simple example above, as it functions both axially and radially. This is the equivalent to obtaining a continuous and automatic dynamic balance of the wheels on your car. While that would give you a smooth ride, WD’s implementation gives you a silent and non-vibrating drive. This works so well that all I can hear from a running Red is the faintest sound of air turbulence across the spinning platters.”

AIUI, we have a consumer grade 5400 RPM (“IntelliPower”) HDD with enterprise-class spindle motor balancing, whereas the enterprise grade 7200 RPM HDDs are limited to a Stabletrac ™ screw. Surely that can’t be right?

BTW, I couldn’t find WD’s 3D Active Balance Plus video, but perhaps I didn’t search for it in the right place.

So, upon closer inspection, the white shock sensors seem to be on the PCB. But other than that (and presumably the firmware), the drive is mechanically completely different from the normal re4. It’s mechanically identical to a 1TB FAEX Black. I didn’t want Black internals, I expected enterprise internals. I put this picture together:

LEFT: Full-fledged 1TB FBYZ Re4 drive. (note: even if the one in the picture doesn’t say the usual "Enterprise Storage in the yellow part of the label, it has a yellow Re label)

MIDDLE: my drive

Right: 1TB FAEX Black drive. Completely identical in design to the drive in the middle.

The back of the drives is obviously also different and mine matches a Black drive as well.

So it seems that there is a sub-par, up-binned Black drive sold as by WD as a Re4 out there. I can’t go after the online reseller who sold it to me, because they sold me a FBYZ, and that’s what I got… Since this **bleep** drive is sold under the same reference as the full-fledged Re4s.

I really want an answer from Western Digital about this… I’m very angry. If I hadn’t been paying close attention, this would have gone right under my nose. I specifically didn’t buy a Black drive for many reasons. But that’s what I basically got in the end. 

NOT ok.

Note that the drive on left says WD1003FBYZ. Mine says WD1003FBYZ - 480FB2.

I wouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. I recall a thread where a data recovery professional had two Seagate models side by side, with the covers off. One was an ES.2 (enterprise class) while the other was a 7200.11 (consumer grade). He could not discern any physical difference.

In your case one difference that stands out is the load/unload ramp. AFAICT, the spec sheets state that the RE drives have them but the Blacks do not. This means that the SMART report for the RE drives should have a Load/Unload Cycle Count attribute.

I would examine the SMART attributes with a tool such as CrystalDiskInfo.

If you are concerned that your drive may be a fake, you could retrieve the drive’s firmware modules with SeDiv:

SeDiv WD Read ROM & Modules:

I had a closer look at the cover of the drive in your first photo. There is a “WDT1822” ID on the label. This suggests that the drive uses the 2060-771822 PCB.

According to the following PCB supplier …

… this board is used in the WD2002FAEX-00MJRA0, WD4003FZEX-00Z4SA0, and WD2000FYYZ-01UL1B0.

Notice that the HDA connector (J1) has 22 pins whereas your 1TB drive has a 20-pin connector. I suspect that the extra pins would be required by the piezo element in the dual actuator that is present in the 2TB models but not in the 1TB.

I wonder if your photo is a promotional image that has been incorrectly PhotoShopped by WD’s marketing people. BTW, the model number suffix identifies the customer code (eg retail, Dell, HP), family, and version…