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WD Cavair Green/Red/Blue/Black Difference

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  • Hard Drives
  • Western Digital
  • Green
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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 

More about : cavair green red blue black difference

Best solution

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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August 11, 2014 5:09:45 AM

I have 4x Caviar Green drives in a hardware RAID Level 5 (Linux/RocketRAID) operating flawlessly for 4+ years. Now looking for a single larger drive as a Time Capsule backup for my son's laptop. Looks like Blue is good enough for occasional use. Thanks for the info.
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September 22, 2014 3:50:35 AM

To return to my old post :D  I am currently running 3x Green 2Tb drives for general storage and have had no issues over the past 1.5 years. Read/write performance tests are similar to when I bought them!
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January 19, 2015 5:38:05 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


REDS are the slowest, laziest drives amog all from WD. They are NAS oriented (for large storage plants). They are the slow but their main adwantage is continuous 24/7 performance and lowest operating vibration and heat - they are modest with power consumtion too, and they have better warranty than Green And Blue. Using them in PC for everyday work will be frustrating soon, because they are even less responsive than Greens. Greens are faster, Blue are faster by linear or random read too (Reds are variable speed too, but they advantage is FW optimisation for RAID). I prefer Blue for normal PC.

While Reds and Purples are specific oriented, for normal PC in 2015, regarding performance AND endurance, only BLACK is worth buying. They are RE (raid edition) in their essence and comes with 5 year warranty (others have 2 years, and especially greens are crap - told by data rescue services). Blacks are only drives that perform, if hard drive can "perform" at all in theese SSD days.

As it seems 3TB drives are optimum now (2TB are OK, too, but anything less are much more expensive price / space). Large drive will perform faster than smaller, and it will be longer non-fragmented - e.g. will loose performance later.
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January 19, 2015 5:43:11 AM

3ddudde said:
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


WRONG! RED's are for NAS (storage farms). For raid they have RAID edition. Only RAID edition drives have hardware durability to perform stable in RAID for longer time. REDS are greens with FirmWare hack to be RAID compatible - e.g. that controller will waint them to respond.

PS: I had RAIDs from Greens, and Blues (0, 1, 5). Any drive are ok until were new. But ONLY RE edition drive (750GB in my case) are still working after several years. Other non raid drives started to play after a year or so. Consider that, before you loose whole RAID 0 array just because one drive will be a bit slower than others and controller will kick it as "bad" and render whole array non accessible (solution are to remake raid with them, than "undelete" formated drives - but it is tedious).

Use RE-edition for raids, if want to be worries free.
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January 19, 2015 5:46:50 AM

brainstewn said:
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.


You compare RED to BLACK??
They could not be more different in performance.
My 2TB black has less than 10ms acces time, while RED have 24+ms.

If cheap and still performing drive is regarded that is HGST (Hitachi) NAS edition (15ms) - price is competing too.
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January 19, 2015 5:54:10 AM

Willem Hazenberg said:
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.




That is to be expected. New drives will hold RAID abuse, but older drives drift out from factory standards and eventually become too much different in performance among them, that raid controller will kick them out from array. If that was RAID 1 or 5, OK, but RAID-0 will cause headacke. When RAID starts to rebuild from time to time, it is time to replace ALL drives in RAID (they are perfectly fine for years than as standalone drives, though).

NAS are OK for RAID, they have some FW functions to overcome that drifting when they are well used, so raid controller will not kick them out from array. But they will perform poor in RAID 5 for any write functions. They are mainly for storage with read acces. They handle read errors better and are more calm and cold while running non stop.

RE-drives are built to last and are way better crafted and goes through rigurous selections to be finest drives. All RE that are not strictly the best are sold as BLACKs. All other "colors" are corner-cutting.
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January 19, 2015 6:03:03 AM

crephoto said:
I have 4x Caviar Green drives in a hardware RAID Level 5 (Linux/RocketRAID) operating flawlessly for 4+ years. Now looking for a single larger drive as a Time Capsule backup for my son's laptop. Looks like Blue is good enough for occasional use. Thanks for the info.


I always bought drives in BULK (3-6 pieces, but mostly 4 pieces for RAID 0+1 or raid 5).

Only my BLACK and RE drives works all from batch to date (from 3-7 years). From other batcjes at least one drive died: Greens 3 out of 4, Blues 2/5. Remaining drives are now used for backup (thay are stored in drawer for backup rotation).

Greens tend to die if used as regular working drive. Heads become bent (told by data rescue team). I use REDs now for online storage, but Black and Seagate Constelation for important storage - for performance I use only SSD's and one RAID array because still works (750GB-RE drives in it). If data is waluable, than avoid cheap drives, cince cheap theese days really means cheap.
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March 16, 2015 9:10:17 AM

Brumbal said:
For answers directly from WD check this link:
http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/Flyer/ENG/2278-77...


I agree that you should check with WD to see what they say, instead of assuming someone's anecdotal evidence for their setup will work for you. I will add that this flyer is from 2012, and two years later WD's official word has changed just slightly; q.v.:
http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1397/~/...
and also:
http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/996/ses...

To summarize - Blue, Green, Black, Red are consumer drives, and are not designed for RAID other than RAID 0 or RAID 1. (Green should not be used in RAID at all, and Blue is iffy).
BLUE - normal drives for desktops at a (normally) cheaper price (and quality)
GREEN - lower power consumption if used properly, slower, and not for always-spinning activity; most 'eco-friendly' (if used correctly)
BLACK - higher cost, higher speed, longer warranty. Supposedly failed Enterprise tests, but still work fine
RED - for SOHO NAS (note - they don't say full RAID, just 0 & 1)
VelociRaptor - Enterprise Workstations - supposedly similar to BLACK, but RAID 0, 1, 5
Enterprise - passed all endurance tests - fast, expensive, and good for almost any RAID; Some have a shorter warranty since these are intended to be used harder

Will drives work outside their intended range? Sometimes, or more likely for awhile. People have said they've run GREEN in RAID for years. But are they talking RAID that is reading/writing continuously, or in more normal household applications with RAID 0 or 1? Did they luck out so TLER* doesn't kick in. Some motherboards wouldn't even know what TLER is, nor would they care that a drive was failing, hence would give no report of problems unless queried. So somebody saying they've succeeded in mis-using their drives is like any other overclocking - useful, fun, and continued success not guaranteed. I hope you also back up. I have no problem with overclocking or hacking a device to do other than it was designed for, but I also accept that there are risks. I choose to do things like backup to minimize (but can't do away with) the risk. One way to minimize those risks is to study the facts to know what it is you might (or might not) want to hack, and to find out other people's attempts at the same & learn from their anecdotes where to be more (or less) careful than 'the book' says.

* TLER: time-limited error recovery in enterprise drives, as vs the BLUE, GREEN, and some BLACK which use a deep recovery cycle to catch errors, then fix them by moving the data sectors, etc. This takes time - often enough that a true RAID appliance would reject the drive. The Enterprise drives TLER are required to make a decision about an error within 7 seconds so a true RAID box won't toss the drive out of the RAID array. Does a failed enterprise RAID drive relabeled as a BLACK drive have TLER? No, it would have the consumer BLACK software installed in it's firmware, though I did once receive a drive clearly labeled on the drive itself as BLACK that had TLER. I never knew if it had the wrong sticker put on it (ie, I received an Enterprise drive at BLACK pricing), or if it had failed tests, and did not get the correct (BLACK) firmware, or if they ran out of BLACKs and decided to ship an enterprise re-stickered. (I put those in order of likelihood. What's the difference between the first choice and the last choice? Intent: the first would've been accidental, the third would've been intentional. Why do I consider the first more likely? I was overdriving it in a corporate environment and it's still showing no problems after 7 years.)
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March 29, 2016 12:57:37 AM

The WD Reds are good for NAS systems and are also kinda efficient. WD Greens are just for the people that want to save power but in the end there isnt a big different and I also had one die on me after just one year. The Blues are good for normal use but I also had one of these die on me after 2 years and then the blacks are a tiny bit faster and can also last a lot longer (Still running after 5 years) So yeah...
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