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.
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.
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.
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.
The 314GB PiDrive is 7mm thick, single platter design. The 1TB PiDrive variation is the 9mm thick two platter design.
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.
Nice touch to the packaging. They have Pi wrote out to the 53rd decimal down the side.