W. H. Heydt
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WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:55 am

PiDrive connected to a Pi3B through USB2 port. Data rates are a touch high because they don't reflect the time to complete writes (sync), but they're very cloas, as the sync times don't add more than 1 or 2 seconds (out of 1.5 to 3.5 minutes) when I look at the raw data.

hdparm speed for buffered data: 31.88 MB/s
Write speed: 36.2 MB/s
Read speed: 32.6 MB/s
Copy speed: 16.3 MB/s

This was using dd from /dev/zero to a file, the file to /dev/null and copying the file. Each operation was 3.2 GB. These are a good deal faster than an SD card. Once I have a device and cable (both are in transit), I will do these tests through a USB3 connection. That will probably be more of a test of the drive speed than the interface speed.

This PiDrive has a very, very bright white LED that blinks more or less continually. When I get a WD case for it I'll see if that takes the intensity down, but with an un-cased drive, it's too bright to look at (at least in a reasonably well lit room without sunlight coming in) and the blinking is VERY annoying. Normally when I set up a test system I leave it up for an extended period (a few days to 3 or 4 weeks) as a stability test. Because of this light, I shut the Pi down as soon as the tests were done. I am probably going to have to find a way to turn the light off, it's just that bright and annoying.

On the plus side, it powers up and works fine (so far as I can tell) even on a cheap (though short: 6 inch) connecting cable.

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Boogieman_WD
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:46 am

Hey there, W. H. Heydt.

Congrats on the new drive. I'm really glad you like what you see so far and I'm sorry to hear about the LED light. Hopefully you don't find it as bothersome as now when you get the case. Thanks for the extensive feedback. I'll keep an eye on the thread so let me know if anything else comes up and don't hesitate to share your thoughts.

Cheers,
Boogieman_WD
Official Western Digital Representative. :)

MarkTF
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:34 pm

As I understand it, this testing was done with the USB2 cable from the Pi as the only connection to the PiDrive, that is, the PiDrive is powered through the Pi without a powered USB port expander or with a Y cable. Is this correct? Do you have other peripherals (keyboard, mouse, HDMI display, etc) on the Pi?

W. H. Heydt
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:50 pm

MarkTF wrote:As I understand it, this testing was done with the USB2 cable from the Pi as the only connection to the PiDrive, that is, the PiDrive is powered through the Pi without a powered USB port expander or with a Y cable. Is this correct? Do you have other peripherals (keyboard, mouse, HDMI display, etc) on the Pi?
That's correct, a single USB2 cable, and not a particularly thick one, though being 6" long, probably not much power loss. The Pi3B was connected through a KVM switch to keyboard, mouse and monitor. Raspbian was on an SD card (I plan to move the root filesystem to the drive but haven't done that yet).

For another datum...the Pi was running from a 2A PSU, and has a WIFi dongle as well as wired Ethernet attached. Going to a 2.5A PSU would be more than enough to cover keyboard, mouse and HDMI monitor connection, so I don't think that power is likely to be an issue.

When I get *all* my testing done--it'll be at least a couple of weeks--I plan to post a fairly comprehensive set of comparisons, including a baseline of a Linux PC built in 2002 that has 2 Opteron 240 CPUs and 3 36GB WD SATA-I 10Krpm Raptor drives.The numbers from that system are...interesting.

stderr
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:24 pm

Boogieman_WD wrote:. I'm really glad you like what you see so far and I'm sorry to hear about the LED light. Hopefully you don't find it as bothersome as now when you get the case.
What about folks who aren't going to put it into a case? Some people believe in plank computing, that is putting your computer laying out on some plywood instead of in a case. But an LED version of a light house beacon blinding them can't be good.

I had a monitor with a blue LED that was so bright that I had to put two pieces of black electrical tape over it just to tone it down a bit. Eventually it burned out, I suspect from overheating, probably because it was operating so close to its margins and I added the tape reducing cooling. That's just ridiculous.

WD has been using these light house beacon blinding lights for some time on external drives and it's got to be something that can be turned off. On the pi, I thought one point was to reduce electrical demand, running that blinding light house beacon has got to be upping that. And what happens to someone with 10 of these drives in a room? It'll be like going to see Laser Floyd, man. I like The Wall and the huge flying pigs too but enough is a enough!

Heater
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:29 pm

Just stick some tape or something over it. Job done. If it then burns out that is a design failure, it's obviously consuming way to much power, send it back for replacement.

Personally I like such LEDs on hard drives. I have not seen one since the little green SMD LED on my old Quantum Big Foot. 1GB yeah!
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

stderr
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:36 pm

Heater wrote:Just stick some tape or something over it. Job done. If it then burns out that is a design failure, it's obviously consuming way to much power, send it back for replacement.
Now the monitor with the *bright* blue LED that burnt out won't shut off correctly. I don't know if there's any connection but intentionally burning out parts on circuit boards probably isn't a good idea.
Personally I like such LEDs on hard drives. I have not seen one since the little green SMD LED on my old Quantum Big Foot. 1GB yeah!
The issue isn't whether or not it has a light but how bright it is. I do think you should be able to shut the light off in software though, that seems fairly reasonable.

One other problem is how bright the LEDs are without some sort of diffuser in front of them. Very little light perhaps to the sides but get in front of it and it's like staring at the face of God. OK, maybe not *that* bright, maybe just looking at a total eclipse just as it breaks totality: "I can't see anything, I can't see, Oh, geez, I can see a little, I can see some more, oh, wow, I'll never do that again." People shouldn't have to go through that just to have a hard drive optimised for the Raspberry Pi.

Heater
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:46 pm

Sounds to me like your monitor has some other issue than the LED burning out.

I agree, such an indicator LED need not be massively bright and not highly directional, being able to see it from wide viewing angles should be a design consideration

From your description it sounds like this drive is designed to be operated un cased in full sunlight .)

.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

W. H. Heydt
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:06 pm

Close examination shows that the LED is surface mount device (no surprise there) at the edge of the PCB. Looks like I can put tape *over*, but not *on* it, at least until I get the cases (which, though ordered on 29 March, as of April 1, have not shipped). Fortunately, when the *do* ship, they won't take very long to get to me as WD ships from Southern California and I'm just a bit north of San Francisco.

Pithagoros
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:07 pm

LED is probably intended to be visible via a light guide when the drive is in a case/housing.

stderr
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:14 pm

Pithagoros wrote:LED is probably intended to be visible via a light guide when the drive is in a case/housing.
WD My Book drives, I think that's it, are in external cases and are ridiculously bright, especially in a darkened room. I think that is part of the problem, the assumption that these drives will be used in full daylight. Perhaps there's some way to shut off the lights, there certainly should be.

gregeric
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:22 pm

I guess it's the same white LED as seen on the 1TB PiDrive. Too bright is better than too dim - the former you can fix with a bit of tape, the latter needs a soldering iron.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:43 pm

Four layers of blue "painters tape" have beaten the LED adequately into submission. The blinking is still a bit annoying, but the brightness problem is taken care of.

Heater
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:51 pm

I'm sure a soldering iron can fix it. We all have a soldering iron, right? If not it's time to get one.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

W. H. Heydt
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:37 pm

Heater wrote:I'm sure a soldering iron can fix it. We all have a soldering iron, right? If not it's time to get one.
I have a little cheap one. This month the budget is set to get a decent soldering station and a magnifying desk lamp (so I see what the frack I'm doing), though that is primarily to support a couple of Pi Zero projects...ones that need some GPIO pins installed.

For now. the tape is doing the job well enough that I have put the root file system (well...actually...*both* partitions, anticipating boot from USB) on the PiDrive. Only impact so far is that fsck takes a while. You can actually watch the completion percentage advance. Here's some data...

Code: Select all

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ df
Filesystem     1K-blocks    Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/root      301809248 4191836 283894680   2% /
devtmpfs          469688       0    469688   0% /dev
tmpfs             474004       0    474004   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs             474004    6504    467500   2% /run
tmpfs               5120       4      5116   1% /run/lock
tmpfs             474004       0    474004   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/mmcblk0p1     61384   20368     41016  34% /boot
tmpfs              94804       0     94804   0% /run/user/1000
/dev/sda1          61384   20368     41016  34% /media/pi/boot

Code: Select all

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ lsblk
NAME        MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda           8:0    0 292.5G  0 disk
|-sda1        8:1    0    60M  0 part /media/pi/boot
|-sda2        8:2    0 292.4G  0 part /
mmcblk0     179:0    0   7.4G  0 disk
|-mmcblk0p1 179:1    0    60M  0 part /boot
|-mmcblk0p2 179:2    0   7.3G  0 part

stderr
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:49 pm

Heater wrote:I'm sure a soldering iron can fix it. We all have a soldering iron, right? If not it's time to get one.
I think that would void the warranty and soldering SMT LEDs seems harsh when all they need is a way to shut that bright light off in software.

Since we know that the drive can turn the light on and off for various reasons, we know that it could also just keep it off.

gregeric
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:57 pm

Heater wrote:I'm sure a soldering iron can fix it. We all have a soldering iron, right? If not it's time to get one.
Have you forgotten the art of dremeling :o ?

W. H. Heydt
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:08 pm

stderr wrote:
Heater wrote:I'm sure a soldering iron can fix it. We all have a soldering iron, right? If not it's time to get one.
I think that would void the warranty and soldering SMT LEDs seems harsh when all they need is a way to shut that bright light off in software.

Since we know that the drive can turn the light on and off for various reasons, we know that it could also just keep it off.
Yeah... Of course....that would require the existence of, oh, you know, documentation. Have you been able to find any? (I haven't...and this is the second WD Pi-related device for which I haven't found any. On the other one, someone from WD actually told that there isn't any documentation...that may be the case here, as well.)

Heater
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:13 pm

@stderr,

Yep, soldering on a product will no doubt void the warranty. If that matters or not depends on the cost of the thing and the risk you are prepared to take with it.

@gregeric,

I'm sure the Dremel is great. Must get one some time. As an oldie I only know the arts of hacksaws, files, drills, hammers etc.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

W. H. Heydt
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:24 pm

Heater wrote:@stderr,

Yep, soldering on a product will no doubt void the warranty. If that matters or not depends on the cost of the thing and the risk you are prepared to take with it.

@gregeric,

I'm sure the Dremel is great. Must get one some time. As an oldie I only know the arts of hacksaws, files, drills, hammers etc.
I have a Dremel. I used to do some minor case mods, primarily to improve air flow in SFF cases.

mypifi
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:37 am

ive just ordered one so cant wait to recieve it. Have you thought about colouring the led with a sharpie pen?

simon3270
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:43 pm

The LED is right on the edge of the board, so a sharp knife will peel it off easily. Just be sure that all of it is removed, and that no bits fall into the drive.

I did the deed within 20 minutes of first powering it on, which gives some idea of how bright and annoying it was!

W. H. Heydt
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Re: WD PiDrive: First Tests & Observations

Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:03 pm

simon3270 wrote:The LED is right on the edge of the board, so a sharp knife will peel it off easily. Just be sure that all of it is removed, and that no bits fall into the drive.

I did the deed within 20 minutes of first powering it on, which gives some idea of how bright and annoying it was!
The WD case tones it down to something tolerable.

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