Hard Drives are an integral part of almost everyone’s lives. The first hard drive was shipped in 1956 and was 5MB at $10, 000 a megabyte and was the size of two refrigerators. In 1970, when General Digital Corporation (later renamed as Western Digital Corporation) was founded – it revolutionised everything a data storage device could be. From announcing the first single chip hard drive controller card setting an industry standard to being on the brink of launching their 1TB SDXC Card, Western Digital has been synonymous among every tech savvy individual.
Recently the GC Crew had the opportunity to have a tête-à-tête with Khalid Wani, Director – Content Solutions Business, India, Middle East and Africa, Western Digital. The American computer data storage is one of the largest hard disk drive manufacturers in the world and our conversation with Khalid Wani gave us an insight on how WD hard disks can add value to gaming, livestreaming and other millennial technology activities.
Gaming Central: Khalid, tell us a bit about yourself. Do you play games?
Khalid Wani: I look after the content solutions’ business for Western Digital across India, Middle East, and Africa. The content solutions’ business comprises some very popular advanced products and solutions such as personal cloud solutions, external storage, wireless storage, portable drives, business solutions and home entertainment products including media players.
With over a decade of work experience in technology distribution and international sales, I joined Western Digital in 2008 as Regional Sales Manager for Middle East and North Africa and then got promoted to handle portfolios across India, Middle East & Africa in 2010. I have also managed the channel and reseller distribution network for IBM in the past.
I enjoy connecting with people. It is very rewarding to inspire co-workers to achieve more than they had thought was possible. It is also rewarding to talk to our customers, the channel community and hear from them about our products and services. We are really honoured that our products are loved by so many people.
I absolutely love playing games; a big time black ops fan and I also enjoy playing FIFA at times with my son. When I was a kid, I loved my Contra and NFS. I also spent many hours playing board games like Monopoly and Scrabble and then many others. Now, whenever I find time while travelling or to unwind I prefer playing games to relax. In my spare time, I also enjoy long drives and fixing my cars.
GC: Could you please give us an insight on why it’s important to pick the right hard drive for gaming?
KW: One of the key factors which makes for a great gaming rig is a perfect hard drive, as it is crucial in enhancing the overall performance of a gaming PC.In addition to SSD due to its limited capacity options, a high performance Hard Disk Drive (HDD) should be integrated too to store the massive amount of gaming data onto it.
We at WD offer the WD Black™ HDD which are designed for performance and are available up to 6 TB per drive. The drive rotation speed is 7,200 rpm with up to 128 MB cache on SATA III 6 Gb/s.A good choice of capacity would be at least 2 TB with 64 MB cache, the 4 TB WD Black drive offers 128 MB of cache. My personal choice is the 4 TB capacity.
Considering most actual games are provided through online gaming platforms, the gaming library can be easily placed on the HDD. In its entirety, majority of the games are loaded with massive amount of data, mostly the graphical maps. The faster these maps are provided by the HDD, the better is the overall gaming experience.
To attain a seamless experience, the drive capacity should be selected big enough to store all the data including updates and additional maps. Some games can occupy nearly 2 TB of data stored on the HDD drive. In this case the SSD is filled with approximately 20 GB for a 64-BitWindows Operating System.
GC: Could you give us 3 tips on finding the right hard disk as a gamer?
KW: Selecting an appropriate hard driveis dependent on thewhole system configuration. But Gaming PCs are normally full size towers with a lot of space inside and mostly enough SATA III connections for drives. They have an extreme demand in performance, therefore the wrong drive could be the bottleneck of the whole system.
Tip 1: use performance SSD for the operating system, like SanDisk™ Extreme Pro which offers read/write speeds up to 550 MB/s / 515 MB/s, respectively
Tip 2:WD Black drives consists of high capacity storage for the Gaming PC and are designed to offer amazing performance but still work with low noise. Gamers should consider the Sustained Host performance of a drive. Example: WD Black 6 TB drives offer 218 MB/s sustained performance, the 4 TB model offers 202 MB/s. Means, the drive sends data with this throughput to the controller. Values at this level are close to enterprise class but with generally less “background noise” thanenterprise class drives.
Tip 3: if capacity of a single HDD is enough, think about adding a second HDD and using RAID 1 Mirroring for the rotating storage. Gaming PCs need read performance, however write performance is not that important. In RAID 1 Mirroring, the data will be written on bothdrives but will be read from onedrive. Therefore, the data is duplicatedif given by a mirrored drive setup. It’s recommended to not use RAID 0 Striping as here, your read performance is not greatly improved and data is not duplicated to a separate drive in the event one of the drives fails.
GC: Apart from gaming, where else is hard drive performance play an important factor?
KW: Hard drives are an essential factor to the performance of any system. Nowadays, the amount of data that will be loaded during boot up or starting any software, is huge in relation to a decade ago. Thus, a high performance drive like WD Black is recommended for seamless gaming experience.
GC: With increasing demand for streaming content (YouTube, Netflix, etc), do you see a drop in demand for HDDs or is the market still booming?
KW: We are witnessing a demand in storage with a steady growth rate further contributing to its expansion. This trend is due to the enormous amount of content created by users like pictures or videos captured by their mobile devices. WD is well-established in the storage industry and we as a brand are aware of the current ecosystem and are offering multiple HDD and SSD storage products catering to this demand. We believe that demand in HDD still exists.
GC: Does livestreaming and podcasting have an impact on hard drives? If so, how?
KW: Livestreaming in its totality does not have an impact on hard drives. Having said the immense increase in creation of personal content merits an equal demand for hard drives.
For large capacity storage, Public Cloud is mostly not an option due to the costs or limitation in capacity. The market segment of network attached storage like WD’s My Cloud devices are well prepared to store massive amounts of data in your very own Cloud, located in your home network.
What features make WD® Hard Drives stand apart from the other competitors in the market?
Western Digital offers a wide range of hard drives under the WD brand. Every drive has a purpose and we ensure that it’s easy for our end users to identify the specific drive which he/she needs and not get stuck with one-size-fits all option. As a company, we maintain reliable and strong bonds with our channel partners. It is often facilitated by spending considerable time with our local channel partners in educating, training and addressing their concerns as they are a vital link between us and the users. This is one of the factors which we believe strongly differentiates us from the competition.
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