Still Alive and Thriving: WD Unveils New 6TB 2.5-Inch External Hard Drives

UPDATE 5/17, 6 PM: Western Digital has confirmed that its new 2.5-inch 6 TB HDDs utilize 6 SMR platters.

Today’s laptops predominantly incorporate solid-state drives, leading to a decline in the innovation of 2.5-inch hard drive capacities. However, the 2.5-inch HDD size is not obsolete just yet. Western Digital has introduced a range of new external storage options that are built on a newly engineered high-capacity 6 TB 2.5-inch hard drive.

Western Digital is leveraging the new 6 TB drive to enhance its My Passport, Black P10, and G-DRIVE ArmorATD portable storage offerings. For now, these 2.5-inch drives are exclusive to WD’s external storage solutions, not available for individual purchase.

The details regarding the 6 TB hard drive are scant from Western Digital, with a maximum read speed boasted at 130 MB/sec, consistent with their current external products, and no information on write speeds provided.

One notable feature of the 6 TB products is their increased thickness compared to the 5 TB versions, suggesting that WD has added an additional platter to their drive design to achieve this higher storage capacity. This design modification hints at why these new drives are designated for external use, as the 15mm thickness, highest for the 2.5-inch form factor, already limits their compatibility with many portable devices.

Western Digital has confirmed that these drives employ shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology, previously used in their 5 TB drives to attain such high storage densities. This is likely why the company has declined to share write speed data, given that SMR drives can experience significant slowdowns, as low as 10 MB/second, when rewriting data.

The external storage devices come equipped with either a USB-C or USB Micro-B 3.0 connector, despite the variance, all featuring a USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) interface. This should sufficiently handle the drives’ physical speed limitations.

In conclusion, Western Digital announces immediate retail availability for the new drives. Pricing varies based on the model, with the WD My Passport Ultra and its Mac variant priced at $199.99; the standard WD My Passport and its Mac version are $179.99; the WD My Passport Works With USB-C at $184.99; the gaming-geared WD_Black P10 Game Drive at $184.99, and the SanDisk Professional G-Drive ArmorATD at $229.99. All options include a three-year limited warranty.

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