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WD Cavair Green/Red/Blue/Black Difference

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February 11, 2013 3:20:22 AM

So I want to get a WD Cavair 1 TB HDD for my new build but I have noticed they come in Red, Green, Blue and Black versions. They are also different prices. Can anyone tell me the difference :D 

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February 11, 2013 3:30:31 AM

Greens are for eco-oriented folks who want less power consumption
Blues are your standard vanilla drives
Reds are performance oriented drives that spin at variable rates
Blacks are for enthusiasts willing to shell out a premium
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February 11, 2013 4:06:07 AM

Best answer selected by ShadowProject.
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August 23, 2013 5:25:16 AM

faster23rd said:
Greens are for eco-oriented folks who want less power consumption
Blues are your standard vanilla drives
Reds are performance oriented drives that spin at variable rates
Blacks are for enthusiasts willing to shell out a premium


Also RED are oriented to RAID systems. WD doesn't even advises to use one of the other to RAID
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August 23, 2013 12:05:37 PM

3ddudde said:

Also RED are oriented to RAID systems. WD doesn't even advises to use one of the other to RAID


That's not quite true, as I have a WD RAID NAS that came with 2 x 2TB green drives...
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September 9, 2013 4:52:00 AM

faster23rd said:
Greens are for eco-oriented folks who want less power consumption
Blues are your standard vanilla drives
Reds are performance oriented drives that spin at variable rates
Blacks are for enthusiasts willing to shell out a premium


Red is designed as a Network Attached Storage (NAS) designed drive. These drive are great for building large (16TB) drives using an enclosure and RAID. Red is Awesome, Black, only Benchmark Software can tell the difference.
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October 19, 2013 6:41:59 AM

etkal said:
3ddudde said:

Also RED are oriented to RAID systems. WD doesn't even advises to use one of the other to RAID


That's not quite true, as I have a WD RAID NAS that came with 2 x 2TB green drives...


I Had also Green in my 8 bay QNAP 859-pro. but the crashed in less then a year. 3 units. They are now replaced by WD red.


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November 7, 2013 12:50:52 PM

I've used all varieties of WD drive now so I thought I'd give some of my experience, as this topic comes up in quite a few searches on this subject.

WD Blue
These are your baseline drives; typical power consumption, solid performance, good price. If none of the specific features of the other types stand out then these are the ones you want, they're ideal as capacity drives for a desktop for example.

WD Green
These are all about saving energy; they're not actually all that slow in practice for things like streaming, but for more random read/write they lag behind a bit, again not by all that much. The main benefit is that they save power and wear by spinning down when they can, this means they're basically best for things like backup drives which are only in use periodically (e.g - once an hour), if they're made to spin up too often then you obliterate any potential savings you could make, at which point you've got a slightly slower Blue.

WD Black
These are pure performance drives, all about speed. Their top speed for streaming isn't that much further ahead than a blue drive, but the main difference comes from it being generally more responsive. Basically if all you want is speed, but you can't afford an SSD with the capacity you need, then WD Blacks are for you. A good value gaming system can do well with an affordable SSD for OS and a few other bits and pieces you can fit, with a WD Black as your main drive for your games, for example by moving your Steam folder onto it, giving you good all round performance and capacity.
They also now have generous warranties (5 years), they're basically WD Red+, if you can take advantage of the extra performance that is.

WD Red
I think of these as a hybrid between Greens and Blacks; their power consumption is really good, but unlike the Green which is designed to save power between uses, the Reds are designed to just spin constantly for continual use/availability. They're quiet, responsive, and have good speeds, but most importantly they have an extended (3 year) warranty.
You could use them as system drives and they'd perform just fine, but you probably wouldn't be getting the most of their cost; they're ideal for often used NAS devices, I also like them for RAID setups, particular RAID-5 and RAID-6 since a bunch of them doesn't use tons of power, but they're responsive enough to handle the distributed blocks of data, parity writes etc.


So to summarise:
WD Black = Speed/high end use, extended warranty.
WD Blue = General use.
WD Green = Energy saving for backups or other less frequent use.
WD Red = Some energy saving, continual use, extended warranty, ideal for RAID.

Not to say that you can't use them for different things, ultimately they're still all HDDs with good streaming speed etc. and they're close enough that for general use I doubt you'd notice the difference. But basically if you don't need the extra features of the Red and Black then you're wasting money, and you're probably wasting a Green if you don't let it spin down. The prices can vary rapidly though, so sometimes it's worth waiting a while to see if you can a Black or Red at a reduced price (I got some a little while ago for a NAS at only about £5 extra per drive over Greens!).
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November 7, 2013 1:59:04 PM

Haravikk said:


WD Green
These are all about saving energy; they're not actually all that slow in practice for things like streaming, but for more random read/write they lag behind a bit, again not by all that much. The main benefit is that they save power and wear by spinning down when they can, this means they're basically best for things like backup drives which are only in use periodically (e.g - once an hour), if they're made to spin up too often then you obliterate any potential savings you could make, at which point you've got a slightly slower Blue.


An anecdote about the WD Green drives. These drives are not all that great in a Raid 5 or Raid 6 configuration. Personal experience has shown that the performance will drop down to kilobyte a second read and write rates when used with Software Raid on a Linux server (Ubuntu 10.04). At first I thought it was caused by my own approach at configuring Software Raid ("I MUST have done something wrong but I cant work out what!!!") But after discussing with a number of colleagues attempting to do the same thing, we all came to the conclusion that 'GREEN IS BAD' At least for Software Raid 5/6 under Linux.

I had two of these drives in a Raid 1 configuration that seemed to work reasonably well but as soon as I put them in Raid 5 or 6 with a bunch of other drives the performance went to pot.

I replaced them with a hand full of WD Red drives and I am now very pleased with the result.
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November 8, 2013 3:29:28 AM

dcrisp said:
An anecdote about the WD Green drives. These drives are not all that great in a Raid 5 or Raid 6 configuration.

It's probably due to a combination of factors, but most RAID controllers will try to synchronise the disks in the array; dunno if the software RAID you used would do this, as this helps to eliminate some of the latency issues when accessing data distributed across multiple disks, particular in RAID-5/6. Dunno if WD Greens support that or not as its a more specialist feature that they're not really going to need in their intended setups.

Even if they do, the latency/seek times of WD Greens aren't amazing, while the WD Reds are good because of their consistently low seek times. Plus the WD Reds definitely support various RAID related features, and WD cite a long list of confirmed compatibility with various devices.

I'm a bit surprised the greens were as bad as that, but yeah, the Reds offer energy savings but with much better seek times and compatibility, so they're an ideal choice for RAID setups. I just wish I could afford as many as I actually need, as I only have one of my two arrays on Reds so far!
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December 4, 2013 2:17:28 AM

Hi.
My tuppence worth.
The WD RED is as mentioned previously designed for NAS type operation. The Red drives do not ponder over a bad block unlike desktop drives which will sit over a bad area and try to read the data off often between 16 and 64 attempts can be made before the block is then marked bad, a NAS array with this kind of operation would stall significantly, so, because he Reds do not do this repeated attempt to recover a bad block then the system is not slowed down, it is as mentioned also built for high availability
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