In late October, Western Digital released a new version of its Caviar Black Edition hard disks. WD calls the new ones 'Caviar Black' like the original series, but promises better performance compared to the first version. We tested the 4TB model.
While WD called the new version by the same name, it does have new product codes. For example, the original Caviar Black 4TB was called the WD4001FAEX and the new one WD4003FZEX.
Hardware-wise not that means seems to have changed. The new Caviar Black 2TB, 3TB and 4TB still have 800 GB platters, which means that the 4TB model has five platters. Western Digital's specifications indicate higher speeds (171 MB/s compared to 154 MB/s) and one other main difference. The new versions are so-called Advanced Format disks and therefore use 4K sectors. If you're not sure what that means, we covered the subject here.
The biggest reason for the speed increase is likely different, perhaps better optimised firmware, but also the more efficient 4K sectors.
One thing that hasn't changed is the price. The Black V2 4TB costs an average of $273, which is pretty affordable considering this is Western Digital's most high-end series. The warranty period is still five years.