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Western Digital Caviar SE16 250 GB,Internal,7200 RPM,3.5" (WD2500KS) Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar SE16 250 GB,Internal,7200 RPM,3.5" (WD2500KS) Hard Drive

The Western Digital Caviar SE16 250 GB SATA Hard Drive (Package of 20) is fully compatible with PC systems.The Hard Drive connect by: Serial ATA for Internal utilization. Spinning up to 7200 RPM and offering capacity as large as 250 GB
Author's Rating: Rating: 5/5 stars
20 Reviews from

By:   alexanderaku
Dec 19, 2007
Western Digital Caviar SE16 250 GB,Internal,7200 RPM,3.5" (WD2500KS) Hard Drive

What do you want when ya-gotta-have-something-and-it's-gotta-be-good-and-you-gotta-have-it-now...! A Western Digital WD2500AAKS!

Author's Rating: Rating: 5/5 stars

Pros: Runs cooler than the previous model, fast 3.0 SATA platform

Cons: A box of Cracker Jack, it doesn't come with.

The Bottom Line: 
WD has shown me their SE16 Caviar line is one that works well. Pricing and performance using them has been excellent, and it should be for you also.

Author's Review
Ok, I'm not talking Cracker Jacks with a prize - but the WD2500AAKS just might be what you're looking for in that next computer hard drive purchase. Sailor Jack and Bingo have been pleasing consumers for over 100 years, and it looks like Western Digital has also really made a hit with their 16Mb. cache buffer SE16 Caviar series hard drives - (at least the 250Gb. drives) considering the number of satisfied customers using them, and the number of Internet hits I have received on an earlier Epinions review of the WD2500KS model. You might also like this earlier review of the predecessor drive for the added information provided there.

The new WD2500AAKS replaces the older WD2500KS drive, and it's not without its improvements. So - if you were looking for the WD2500KS, you may be wanting and more apt to find the newer WD2500AAKS drives instead of the older stock.

Why I purchased the drive:

I found the drive for $69.99 with free shipping and immediately jumped on it for the performance I knew it would deliver (I have four of the earlier WD2500KS drives currently in operation). Since the SE16 Caviar line offers drives from 250GB to 750GB, I had a choice of them in ascending prices and could have gone larger - but for a few reasons to follow.

While having the interior of my home painted, the painters noticed my latest HTPC installed to the entertainment center in my den. Both of the painters immediately wanted one identical to the one I had built, and one asked me to build one for him right away - that would do what he wanted and needed it to do. I normally don't build systems for others as I really don't have the time, but I decided to go ahead and do it after a day or so. While holding the price down - I didn't go overboard one way or the other, and I did use the higher quality parts and software I knew would be reliable and make for an easy setup of the system. This also would keep the system from becoming obsolete for some years to come and allow easy future upgrades. I kept the price down, to $800 and change, in parts for the first system using the WD2500AAKS hard drive.

The list:

APEVIA QPACK2 w/windows - case
Antec NeoPower 650w Blue - power supply
AMD AM2 Athlon X2 5200+ 2.6GHz. - processor
ASUS M2A-VM HDMI - motherboard
ASUS DVD/R DRW-2014L1T - SATA optical drive
2GB. Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800 BL2KIT1286AA804 - RAM
Logitech Cordless Desktop S510 - wireless keyboard and mouse
VISTA Home Premium x64 OEM - operating system
Western Digital WD2500AAKS - 3.0 SATA drive

In this build I only used the one WD drive - partitioned and formatted into a C and D drive. The Vista Home Premium X64 disk would have made this a quick process, but I chose a handy and familiar XP Professional 32-bit disk and used the Diskpart and FORMAT /FS:NTFS command features to quickly set-up the new drive partitions to 50/200 Gb. for the Vista install. (Actually, slightly smaller partitions as read and set up.)

Cooling change in this SE16 Caviar series drive:

Once Vista Home Premium x64 had loaded and updated, I did a check of hard drive running temperatures using the handy blue-lighted temperature LCD on the Apevia cases. That temperature check showed my own system WD2500KS drive running at 31 degrees Centigrade. The new WD2500AAKS drive was managing 27-28 degrees Centigrade in the newer system (and continued to do so). This tells me the lower temp will create better system stability in RAID configurations, or otherwise, using this new drive. Some RAID instability had been previously noticed using the older WD2500KS drives in another computer unless they were running cooler temperatures (a simple fan solution solved that infrequent and intermittent problem) - and this drive was running about four degrees Centigrade cooler than the older model drive I had installed to my own new HTPC system with almost identical conditions and components. The only hardware exception was the newest system with the WD2500AAKS has a warmer running processor (35 degrees C. on an Athlon X2 5200 with AMD factory HSF and OEM thermal compound) than my older HTPC system with its smaller (Athlon64 3800) processor running at 29 degrees C. using Arctic Silver Ceramique thermal compound. Actually, I believe the former temperature problem with some WD2500KS drives was a short one spanning only across earlier drives - as I noticed a change in the physical look of these drives later in the year after I bought more WD2500KS drives. The later drives have never exhibited any problem. Physical temperature may not have even been involved, according to some reports, but instead a problem with the earlier drive threshold settings in their buffer memory chips - as a "threshold exceeded" warning was received during each of the few times a problem occurred in RAID 1, although there was an increase in temperature noted. The WD2500AAKS appears to have corrected this problem from reoccurring by running much cooler temperatures throughout.

Settings and power options:

Access using a 3.0 SATA drive such as the WD2500AAKS is of course faster, when paired to the proper hardware here, than could even be found using the older 1.5 setting sometimes required on the WD2500KS drives if the auto-set feature failed to be recognized or 3.0 was unsupported on the motherboard. It also smokes a setup of Vista using older PATA 133 DMA drives, with a noticeably shorter install time using SATA drives in place of the PATA drives.

First in line to the physical description of the 3.5" internal drive is the absence of the standard Molex power connection provided on the earlier WD2500KS model. That's really no big loss as the use of that connection prevented "hot-swapping" a drive. Using the SATA power connection, all the Western Digital Caviar SE 16 drives can be "hot-swapped" (removed and installed with the power on). The absence of a Molex connector on the new drive is no loss to me as Molex to SATA drive power connectors are readily available now, and I used the SATA power connections only. (The modular wiring designed Antec NeoPower 650 Blue power supply has plenty of SATA-only connectors.)

Pin settings are provided, but these are different from PATA as there is no need for cable select, slave, or master settings using SATA. The pins do allow for a jumper setting of the following; (default) pins 1 & 2 - no effect, pins 3 & 4 - spread spectrum clocking or PM2, and pins 5 & 6 for reverting to 1.5 operation (used when an older motherboard SATA chipset does not support 3.0 operation.)

The WOW factor magnified:

The painter wanting the first completed system couldn't be more pleased with his new computer and wanted it before I had finished checking its various settings out. The two brothers have been working in my home for two weeks and the other is already wanting his just as quickly. The speed and stability of the finished new system has amazed them both, but the older brother already wants to upstage his brother with more features in his own computer. So, his was several dollars more. However, a WD2500AAKS or WD2500KS will also reside in it - as available at the time.

I keep hearing a few little birds chirping about Vista might not be what others want. Strange how I use Vista Ultimate X64 without problem, and have now shown two brothers how well they can enjoy Vista X64 Home Premium. It's all about hardware that works right, and the WD2500AAKS worked flawlessly under Vista with a performance index rating of 5.7. A top rating of 5.9 is as good as it ever gets in the Vista performance index. Using the 1st partition, I made on the WD2500AAKS as the OS drive, this system boots in under 30 seconds - the 16 Mb. of built-in memory buffer on the WD2500AAKS never hurts, and this 7200 rpm drive just performs excellent and silently.

Other Vista ratings for this system were; processor 5.1, memory 5.9, video graphics 3.5, and video gaming 3.1 - and this on a motherboard with integrated video.

Final thoughts:

The first new computer was taken immediately when finished six days back. The owner is more than pleased with it and Vista Home Premium X64. He had experience using Windows SE 98 and XP, and will never go back. His brother immediately requested I build his after seeing the completed new computer in operation. His will have an AM2 Athlon X2 5600+ processor, 2 Gb. of Crucial Tracer DDR2 800 memory, and a Logitech Wave keyboard and mouse - he just had to upstage his brother for another $50. Regardless, I know both will be very happy and continue to be so for a long time - the WD2500AAKS is just a great solid SATA drive platform to start from, like the WD2500KS. The three year Western Digital warranty helps assure fidelity.

Check out the WD2500AAKS specifications here:

(chuckle) Now, just don't tell my colleagues "Santa" has been building computers in his spare time.

For those of you who didn't get my title, and those reminiscing the last century Cracker Jack songs and commercials - here's a link to that old ditty you might enjoy: (You will probably also like a few more of those found there.) :)

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