As I mentioned in the last post, a lot of so called data recovery engineers like fzabkar on HDDGuru forums will claim that the DCM of a Western Digital drive, and the serial number must match as well as the model/firmware MDL number when doing a board swap. This is NOT true. Here I’ll show you just exactly what has to match on a Western Digital.
As an example I’ll note down the details of my company laptop’s new 500GB WD drive. On the label are the following sets of numbers:
MDL: WD5000BPVT – 00HXZT1 – This is the combined Model and Firmware numbers, this is the MOST IMPORTANT, these are really the ONLY set that MUST match.
S/N: WXM1xxxxED69 – This is the Serial number, which is UNIQUE TO EVERY drive, so you will NEVER EVER find a board with matching one. Every product in the world has its own personal unique number, just like humans have unique fingerprint patterns, so this is irrelevant if you’re seeking a donor board. I’ve replaced some characters in my serial here with x’es to anonymise it.
WWN:50014EE206116170 – This is a World Wide Name number which is the unique manufacturer identity.
DATE: 18 MAR 2012 R – This is the manufacture date. An R next to it means Recertified, it will also have Recertified written on the right of the big bold capacity marking on the top left of the sticker, as my drive is recertified. This DOES NOT have to match on a donor, the recertified status is irrelevant, it simply means that Western Digital have re-checked it as a customer return and recertified it as new, reprinting the label to show this.
DCM: EBOTJBB – This is the Drive Configuration Matrix string, which identifies the configuration of the drive, such as type of motor, number of platters, heads, and even the casing etc. This does NOT have to match, as a quick Google will often reveal different capacity drives with the same DCM. Mine for example is shared with a WD5000BMVW 500GB, and a WD3200BMVV 320GB, so these morons such as fzabkar on forums like HDDGuru are talking through their arses by saying they’re unique and that the ROM chip must be swapped. Most of the firmware and S.M.A.R.T data is stored on a reserved section of the platter, making their claims even more irrelevant.
DCX: TH16X3FZE – This is the drive’s Batch number, so that Western Digital know which factory it came from, what date it was made, and probably the engineer who soak tested it and which line it rolled off. This DOES NOT need to match for a donor board, it is IRRELEVANT.
To sum up, the only bits you really need to worry about is the Model/Firmware string. I have Western Digital drives as small as 10GB and as large as 2TB in my portfolio that I’ve used my own guidelines on over the years and I’ve never had any head/track/sector/cylinder issues, the drives have often worked better than they did with their original boards.
I’ve swapped 1,000 Western Digital drive boards over the past 6 years like this using my own guidelines, and each drive is perfect, even my own drives. I consider myself a data recovery professional, as I have performed many platter and arm swaps in a friend’s clean room as well as board swap and data recovery, especially on Western Digital drives, as I love them and have never used any other drives in my own computers.
fzabkar isn’t even a professional, as he uses phrases like “will most probably not work”, and “as far as I’m aware”, which sounds like he’s just using pure guesswork. I’m not, I’ve been doing this many years and have yet to have a WD not pass a board swap.