hard drive history

1999: maturity

Western Digital 136BA

Photo: Red Hill.

Western Digital 136BA

After an on-again off-again component and design relationship with IBM, at the end of the decade Western Digital started doing its own design work once again. This was the first drive to eventuate.

We'd have liked the drive a lot more if we had been able to get it regularly! At one stage we waited several months for stock of the Caviar 136BA, by which time customers with outstanding orders had long since given up and bought something else, of course.

When you could actually get one, however, you had an excellent hard drive.

By the way, at around about the same time as the 136BA arrived, Western Digital introduced a confusing new naming scheme. All the WD IDE drives were called "Caviar" once again (a return to tradition) but 7200 RPM units like the 136BA were distinguished by a "B" in the model number. (The "AA" drives were the 5400 RPM models.) Those details aside, you were left to guess at the other relevant information. It can be very difficult to work out just what a particular WD drive is. This needless secrecy served no useful purpose, it just annoyed people.

Performance1.37Reliabilityno data
Data rate304 Mbit/secSpin rate7200 RPM
Seek time8.9msBuffer2MB
Platter capacity9.1GBInterfaceATA-66
WD136BA13.67GB3 GMR heads*