Skip The ‘Green’ Hard Drives If You’re Trying To Save Power

Skip The ‘Green’ Hard Drives If You’re Trying To Save Power

There are a lot of “green” hard drives out there, which claim to be low-power, low-noise, low-heat and low-cost. Sadly, they don’t save quite as much power as they claim, and here’s why.

There isn’t anything wrong with buying a low-powered drive — after all, we used one in our second Hackintosh build. While drives like the Western Digital Caviar Green are a bit cheaper than their faster counterparts (since they only run at 5400RPM), the “power saving” promise falls short, as they only save you a few watts. Ars Technica explains:

In terms of cost, using a green hard drive compared to a normal one makes very little difference. Assuming your drive spends 4 hours reading and writing and 20 hours idle per day, switching from the WD Black to Green saves you only 45 kilowatt-hours per year. The national average cost of a kilowatt-hour is 11.93 cents, netting you a whopping $US5.38 per year for your sacrifice of 1800 RPM. For comparison, changing one 60-watt lightbulb used 4 hours a day to a 7-watt fluorescent one saves you more, about $US9.23 per year.

If you’re installing a drive into an HTPC, they’re probably a good choice since they are a bit quieter and cooler than other drives, and you don’t need the drive performance anyways. But if you’re building something you’ll actually be computing on, you won’t be saving any power or money with the green drive — you’ll just be slowing your machine down (albeit at a somewhat lower upfront cost). Hit the link to read more.

Ask Ars: Are Green Drives Really That Green?


  • I had a Western Digital Caviar Green for a while and it was nothing but trouble. Head parking issues etc made it unusable. I ended up tossing it in the bin.

    I will never buy another “green” disk again.

  • I still think these drives are good for Media Center PC’s, for the slight power saving maybe… but more so for the quieter operation and lower running temperatures (which will also help keep the overall PC temperature down slightly meaning less CPU fan noise..etc..etc)…

    So for the small price difference in some environments I still think they have some positives.

    Just my 2 cents worth anyway.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!