WD Labs PiDrive 314GB Hard Drive Review

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Storage By WD For Your Raspberry Pi

On Pi Day 2016 the folks over at WD Labs released, PiDrive, a custom-engineered WD Hard Drive that is more power efficient than a standard storage drive that will unlock the possibilities of what the Raspberry Pi can do. WD Labs, the skunk works of WD, has been tinkering with the the idea of a PiDrive since 2015. These are the lucky employees that get to look at niche markets that might have some growth potential and then get to tinker with custom-made RC cars that use the WD PiDrive on a Rasperry Pi to record video. WD Labs quietly sent out a handful of prototypes in 2015 to some of those involved in the open source/DIY Raspberry Pi community. They got some feedback on this custom storage solution and have made a ton of firmware refinements over the past year to ensure the drive is properly power optimized for the Raspberry Pi platform. WD Labs must have the PiDrive dialed in as WD recently promoted the launch of the PiDrive! The WD PiDrive allows the Raspberry Pi community to easily create and store content on a power optimized hard drive that will play nice with the latest Raspberry Pi boards. This is special drive that is designed especially for use with the Raspberry Pi Model B+, Pi 2 Model B, and Pi 3 Model B.

WD PiDrive 314GB

The Famed WD PiDrive 314GB That Came out on Pi Day!

The WD PiDrive 314GB model that we are looking at today is sold under part number WD3140LMCW and has a list price of $45.81. It is on special this month for Pi Day and can be purchased for just $31.42 plus shipping from the WD Store. If you want even more storage drive space you can move up to the WD PiDrive Kit that comes with a 1TB PiDrive (model WDLB001RNN), 4GB mideoSD card w/ SD adapter, WD PiDrive cable, 5V power adapter and the WD PiDrive enclosure for $79.99 shipped. The WD Store sells the PiDrive cables and enclosure individually as well, so if you went with the bare WD PiDrive 314GB you can always buy the needed accessories later if needed. Here are the links if you need them: PiDrive and Raspberry Pi, enclosure for just the PiDrive, and the special USB cable.

WD PiDrive USB Connector

The WD PiDrive uses a micro USB 3.0 port for optimized power efficiency

Now if you’re looking at the PiDrive and thinking that the drive doesn’t look right, you’re not crazy. This drive does not feature the typical standard SATA data cable connector or the SATA power connectors. WD removed them and fit the drives circuit board with a USB controller and a micro USB 3.0 connector to reduce the electrical power load of the hard drive on the Raspberry Pi device. This means that there is no need for a USB hub, external drive cage, or docking station. More on why that is good later.

WD PiDrive 314GB Back

The WD PiDrive 314GB HDD uses a single platter.

They also optimized the drive internally so that it does better with power. The drive itself is based on the 2.5″ WD 500GB Blue series single platter drive design.

WD PiDrive 314GB

The 314GB PiDrive is 7mm thick, single platter design. The 1TB PiDrive variation is the 9mm thick two platter design.

WD PiDrive 314GB Shipping Box

WD PiDrive 314GB shipping box

The 314GB PiDrive comes in a nice large sturdy box. The box artwork leaves no doubt that the drive is meant to be used with the Raspberry Pi.

wd-pidrive

WD Labs has Pi wrote on the box, just in case you needed more Pi!

Nice touch to the packaging. They have Pi wrote out to the 53rd decimal down the side.

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  • Eric Folco

    Hey there. Thanks for your need review.
    Got some questions for you:
    First, can I just use the PiDrive as an external HD with my current Raspbian? I don’t see why not but it seems that nobody is using it that way.

    Second, for the 1TB version there is this cable with 3 connections that needs to be plugged on the power supply and the hard drive. Is it the same with the 314GB version? According to your pic above only a USB cable is necessary and USB2 power seems to be enough to power it. Is it the case?

    Last question, can I plug this hard drive on something else than my Raspberry Pi?

    • Shane Higgins

      1.) Yes you can use the PiDrive as an external with Raspian, any of the Raspberry Pi OS’s for that matter.
      2.) The cable that comes in the 1TB kit is sold separate of the 314GB drive. You can buy one, but I was able to use a regular USB3 cable to power it off my Pi3, Pi2 and older millage may vary depending on the other USB devices due to power limits. That’s where the special Pi Cable is handy. It splits the power to both Pi and PiDrive from single power supply.
      3.) I had it hooked to my Windows system to image the drive several times, it come formatted in EXT4. Outside of imaging it, I never used it as an external for my Windows system.

    • Shane Higgins

      1.) Yes you can use the PiDrive as an external with Raspian, any of the Raspberry Pi OS’s for that matter.

      2.) The cable that comes in the 1TB kit is sold separate of the 314GB drive. You can buy one, but I was able to use a regular USB3 cable to power it off my Pi3, Pi2 and older millage may vary depending on the other USB devices due to power limits. That’s where the special Pi Cable is handy. It splits the power to both Pi and PiDrive from single power supply.

      3.) I had it hooked to my Windows system to image the drive several times, it come formatted in EXT4. Outside of imaging it, I never used it as an external for my Windows system.