The strange career of the Protege


Storage? I am Storage!
Jan 15, 2002
27a No Fixed Address, Oz.
Here is a strange one, something I've never heard of before.

The Western Digital Protoge debuted in late 2000. An unassuming 5400 RPM drive designed to fill the low-cost, low-performance niche, with but a single platter and a 12.5ms seek time.

WD sold them for a good long while, in 10GB single-head form, and 20GB twin head form too, The 20GB drive was the larger seller of the two.

On Friday I got shipped five 40GB Proteges. "Hello", I said, "new model - let's try it out." Well, it seemed near enough to the same as the old one. I'll have to double check this, but my rough and ready tests showed that the new one had much the same average seek as the old one, but the VSEEK graph was ugly - poor short seeks. I need to look back at my old files to check that that's the case though - my memory ain't what it used to be.

(I didn't order the bloody things - I ordered Samsungs, but they were out of stock and substituted. I had said "if no stock send WD drives" on the purchase order, expecting that I'd get the dearer but nice WD400AB - I did not expect to get the EB as the EB (Protege) only comes in 10GB and 20GB.)

But, on looking at the WD web site, they seem to be saying that the 40GB EB is the same model! They list the old Protege in their discontinued drives section as the WD204EB, but they list it again as the WD200EB in their current drives. At least it seems to be the same drive. It sports the same internal data rate (usually a giveaway) and the same 20GB platter. The weight is different, everything else is exactly the same. And with Western Digital's stupid model numbering scheme, you can't ever really tell.

But there are 30GB three head and 40GB four head Proteges as well - and they were definately not part of Western Digital's line-up a year or so ago.

In short, it looks like WD have taken an existing model and added a platter to it - something I have never seen or heard of before. I assume that the idea is to leverage their existing tooling and the ready supply of 20GB discs and heads for this budget range - as opposed to using up scarce and expensive 40GB discs that they are keeping for their performance drives.

I also assume that when they designed the Protege in 2000 (which is a long, long time ago as hard drive model cycles go) they pre-planned the expansion, as it would, I imagine, be a non-trivial exercise to add an extra platter to a housing that was not originally designed for it.

Anyone know anything about this?


Fatwah on Western Digital
Jan 17, 2002
I am omnipresent
Greg has said Maxtor. I've corresponded in the past with someone with and a job title involving the word "engineer". I won't say more (he asked me not to) than that his name isn't Mickey or anything that might've come from "Mickey".

sweetshon on SR works for Seagate, though.

I'm certain it's WD. He's commented specifically on details of the IBM-WD partnership of a few years back and mentioned insider info about seeing WD drives tagged for OEM use for sale in retail settings. Go back and look through his posts again.

NRG = mc²

Storage is cool
Jan 15, 2002
Yep, I have to agree, I don't remember particular posts but I do remember thinking that he must work for WD from what he said