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Western Digital Technologies, the world’s third largest maker of hard disk drive (HDD), unveiled at last its 500GB hard drive, months after rival Hitachi unleashed its HDD of the same size. The new product by WD features technology that can lower power consumption and heat dissipation of the drive.

WD’s Caviar SE16 offers 500GB capacity, 7200rpm rotational speed, 16MB cache, 8.9ms read seek time, 10.9ms write seek time and average latency of 4.20ms. The Caviar SE16 is designed for systems that support Serial ATA-300 interconnection as well as native command queuing technology. The HDD is based on four platters which capacity is currently unclear.

“The extreme capacity and high performance of this drive address a variety of demanding applications and expand WD’s portfolio of storage products,” said Don Bennett, WD vice president and general manager of desktop storage.

WD also said that it had reduced WD Caviar drive noise levels “to be virtually imperceptible to the human ear” with its WhisperDrive technology, which features a power driver design. To reduce seek noise, SoftSeek technology streamlines read/write seeking algorithms, resulting in the drive operating more efficiently when accessing and writing data.

According to WD’s specifications, the drive still causes 33dBA noise while consuming up to 9.5W. By contrast, competing Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 consumes up to 13W and creates 32dBA of noise.

WD Caviar SE16 500 GB (model WD5000KS) hard drives may be ordered on the company's online store for $349.99.

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