Easy does it
The WD1200JB's professional, informative setup sheet and guide make installing the drive a breeze--if you're not scared of opening your machine and using a screwdriver. The retail package includes an 80-pin EIDE cable and mounting screws but no brackets for securing the 3.5-inch drive in a 5.25-inch bay. Western Digital's Data Lifeguard software makes it easy to copy data from your present hard drive to the WD1200JB and provides drivers to load on older computers that don't automatically support drives this large.
The WD1200JB finished in a virtual dead heat with IBM's Deskstar 120GXP in CNET Labs' performance tests. With such speedy sustained transfer rates, the Western Digital would be better for audio and video storage, where you need to maintain high throughput rates. However, in HD Tach 2.70 benchmarking, the WD1200JB was a tad slower than the IBM on two out of three tests, giving the IBM a slight advantage in everyday computing tasks such as opening and reading batches of smaller files. The WD1200JB's tested 13.4ms seek time in WinBench fell in the middle ground between the IBM 120GXP's 12.2ms and the Maxtor D540X's 14.5ms.
No shock here
The WD1200JB also promises to be reliable. The drive is shock-rated to a hefty 65G while operating and an average-to-low 200G while turned off. The drive spins quietly, living up to its rating of 35dB while spinning and 39dB when the read/write head is seeking. The WD1200JB ran a tad warmer than the IBM 120GXP, the other 7,200rpm drive in this review, but it also had a lower vibration level, so it won't rattle its cage or your computer case.
A comforting three-year warranty covers the WD1200JB, and Western Digital offers phone support six days a week via a toll-free line. Phone lines are open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CT. Online support is excellent and includes jumper diagrams, a knowledge base, operating-system limits, manuals, and software downloads.
Vie to tie
The WD1200JB offers the fastest sustained throughput of any 120GB drive we've tested, but its seek time is a little slower than that of the IBM 120GXP. Go with the WD1200JB for audio and video and the IBM 120GXP for everyday use--or get whichever one is on sale.
Editor's note: This page has changed from our original version. Please see the corrections page.
| eTesting Labs' WinBench 99 2.0 test |
Measured in kilobytes per second; longer bars indicate better performance
| HD Tach 2.70 tests |
Measured in megabytes per second; longer bars indicate better performance
| CNET Labs' tests evaluate the range of performance you may expect from a hard drive. The eTesting Labs' transfer rates are measured at the beginning of the disk (or its outside, where data moves past the read head at a higher rate) and at the end of the disk (or its inside, where data moves past the read head at a slower rate). HD Tach performs similar tests, returning a drive's maximum sustained write and read speeds. In addition, it measures read-burst speed, which
evaluates the performace of the drive's read-ahead memory and the drive controller.
The Western Digital kept well ahead of the Maxtor on most tests. And though the WD1200JB looks slightly faster than the IBM on WinBench tests, the two are evenly matched. It's too close to call a clear winner.