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WD Caviar Red in a regular desktop system

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October 29, 2012 8:18:24 PM

Greetings folks,

I've been meaning to upgrade my home desktop computer's storage space for about a year now. Unfortunately, just when I was about to grab a 2TB WD Caviar Black (always been very happy with these drives, got two of them humming in my rig as we speak), the Tsunami happened and the prices went insane.

Now, a year later the prices are finally back to normal, but to my surprise there's a new serious contender in the play - WD Caviar Red.
My trusty local retailer offers the 3TB model for nearly identical price as 2TB Caviar Black.

My system certainly is not a NAS - I use it as a pretty much standard home computer, and while it is online most of the time, I shut it down when I go to sleep every day. To my understanding however, Reds' only drawback when compared to Blacks seems to be high access times because of their low RPM. In other words, random R/W transfer rates aren't perfect and so working with many small files equals worse performance. I think I could live with that as I don't really need top notch performance from my storage drives anymore since I have purchased an SSD for that.

Is there anything I am missing? Any reasons why using a Red in a regular desktop system would be a bad idea? Their value for price seems incredibly high and on top of that they are silent and energy-efficient, and I'm yet to find "the catch".


Thanks for any help.

Best regards,
Thomas Ferry
a c 104 G Storage
October 29, 2012 9:37:19 PM

Hi Tom, & Welcome to Tom's Hardware!

I would purchase the WD Caviar Black 2 TB drive, hands down! They are faster, reliable have a much shorter access time and spin at a faster rate.
You didn't mention your MB, firmware type, but you for now, staying below the 2.2TB 32 bit addressing limit is just better all way around.

Here are the statistics I've been accumulating comparing the real world data on the WD drives to compare.

RPM, Size, Rd Max, Rd Avg , Read Min Access Time Ms, Write Max ,Write Avg

WD Cariar Black, 7,200, 2000, 149,111, 69, 9.8, 143, 110
WD Caviar Green, 7,200, 3000, 106, 80, 47, 15.1,
WD Cariar Blue, Var, 500, 131,101, 12.6
WD Cariar Red, 5,400, 1000, 145, 113, 64, 22.7, 151, 111

IMO, the Black's give better performance and potentially Much less hastle!
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October 29, 2012 10:25:01 PM

Get the black
The Red drives have a very specific usage they are designed for. you can use them in a normal desktop environment but its defeats the purpose of having a red drive
October 30, 2012 10:50:48 PM

Thanks for the replies.
John_VanKirk said:
Hi Tom, & Welcome to Tom's Hardware!

I would purchase the WD Caviar Black 2 TB drive, hands down! They are faster, reliable have a much shorter access time and spin at a faster rate.
You didn't mention your MB, firmware type, but you for now, staying below the 2.2TB 32 bit addressing limit is just better all way around.

Here are the statistics I've been accumulating comparing the real world data on the WD drives to compare.

RPM, Size, Rd Max, Rd Avg , Read Min Access Time Ms, Write Max ,Write Avg

WD Cariar Black, 7,200, 2000, 149,111, 69, 9.8, 143, 110
WD Caviar Green, 7,200, 3000, 106, 80, 47, 15.1,
WD Cariar Blue, Var, 500, 131,101, 12.6
WD Cariar Red, 5,400, 1000, 145, 113, 64, 22.7, 151, 111

IMO, the Black's give better performance and potentially Much less hastle!

Hello John.
Thanks for the statistics, they pretty much match up with what I found out during my own research, and that's the problem - they don't quite make me lean towards WD Black, quite the contrary actually. As you can see, the access times are the only con of Red, otherwise the Reds are pretty much on par with Blacks or even exceed them, despite lower RPM.
All of that with a much better $/GB ratio, and a lot less noise and energy consumption.

I'm looking for a 2~3TB WD drive with decent but not top notch performance. This pretty much rules out WD Green because of low performance and Blue because of size.
Which leaves Black and Red, and I don't see much point in getting 33% less capacity for the same price just to get better access times.
That's my logic at the moment, feel free to point out any flaws in it that you may see. That's what I'm here for after all.

Traildriver said:
Check the warranty of the two...

http://support.wdc.com/warranty/policy.asp

Go with the Caviar Black

Warranty doesn't really matter to me, mainly because I don't trust technicians with the privacy of my data (and there's bound to be some sensitive data on my drive, be it credit card information in a firefox cookie, or my company's closed-source projects I'm working on that really should not be leaked).

October 30, 2012 10:57:59 PM

Also let me apologize for not posting my system specs, didn't realize any of it might be relevant.
My MB is Gigabyte P67A-D3-B3 with the latest BIOS. Let me know if you need anything else.

Sorry for double post, the board doesn't let me edit the post for some reason.
a c 104 G Storage
October 31, 2012 1:37:13 AM

Hi Tom,

You won't go wrong with either one.
Your MB model is an important consideration, in that it does not have a EFI Firmware BIOS. That means the Basic drive MBR partition size can handle 2.2 TB sized drives. To use a larger single drive you have to convert the MBR partition style to a GPT style before formatting it, and decide whether to set it up as a Basic or Dynamic Drive.

Can it be done? Yes, but you can check here on Tom's Hardware all the complaints of 3 TB drives being recognized as two separate (2 TB + 800MB) drives or just a single 2.2 TB drive that, IMO, unless you are reasonably experienced with basic/dynamic, MBR/GPT configuration, sticking to that 2.2 TB upper limit at this point in time may be much safer and less frustrating.

Here's a good article on "Everything you need to know about 3 TB drives"

http://www.pcworld.com/article/235088/everything_you_ne...

Any way just food for thought, and reading material that will put you to sleep faster than ambien!
October 31, 2012 2:42:41 AM

Hi again John,

I have actually read this very article after your pointed out the 2.2T issue to me in your first post.

I use Windows 7 Pro x64, and I never use low enough cluster size to run into the 2^32 cluster count limitation of NTFS.
Additionally, my mainboard actually does support EFI, it says so on both the package cover and the official website

Quote:
DualBIOS™ 3TB+ HDD Support (Hybrid EFI Technology)
Hybrid EFI Technology combines the benefits of GIGABYTE's mature BIOS platform including stability and compatibility with 3rd party products with 3TB+ HDD support from EFI technology, allowing GIGABYTE to offer the best of both worlds through a quick and easy BIOS update using GIGABYTE's @BIOS utility that is freely available from the GIGABYTE website.
GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ is a patented technology that automatically recovers BIOS data when the main BIOS has crashed or failed. Featuring 2 physical BIOS ROMs integrated onboard, GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ allows quick and seamless recovery from BIOS damage or failure due to viruses or improper BIOS updating. In addition, GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ now supports 3TB+ (terabyte) hard drive booting without the need for partitioning, and enables more data storage on a single hard drive.

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=... (tab "Overview")


It seems I should be in the clear, or is there anything else besides OS, EFI BIOS and cluster size that may cause trouble with 3TB drives?

Your help is most appreciated.
October 31, 2012 3:38:23 AM

After a lot of consideration and some more research, I have decided to go with the 2TB Black drive. The main reason is, the Reds seem to have some non-flattering failure rates.

I've based this conclusion mainly off user feedback so it may be a bit biased (especially since these drives are fairly new to the market) but still, my gut doesn't allow me to take such a risk - for the reason I mentioned previously, reliability is of top priority for me when it comes to storage hardware.

Again, thanks for all the help.
!