Skip to main content

WD Changes 5400-RPM Hard Drive Model Numbers, Corrects Reporting (Updated)

Hard Drive

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In an effort to clear the air, WD has now altered the model numbers and SMART reporting for several of its "5400 RPM-class" hard drive models to reflect the fact that the drives actually spin at 7,200 RPM (originally reported by 

Through clever use of acoustical equipment, recent sleuthing by hardware detectives unearthed that WD's "5400 RPM-class" hard drives don't actually spin at 5400 RPM. Instead, the drives spin at 7200 RPM and thus consume more power and generate more heat and noise than typical 5400 RPM drives. WD maintains that the company specs the drives based on a "performance class," and they still match the rated specifications in the product sheets. However, those specifications exceed the typical limits of 5400 RPM hard drives. 

A report surfaced from the German media outlet Heise Online that WD had altered the model numbers for its 8, 10, 12, and 14TB WD Red Plus drives to reflect that the drives spin at 7,200 RPM. The previous revisions of the drives also did not report the correct RPM readings to tools that monitor SMART values, a diagnostic reading that reports critical drive information to the host system. WD has also corrected that issue and the drives now report the actual 7200 RPM readings.

Here's WD's statement to Tom's Hardware on the matter:

"Within the WD Red Plus family, we are changing model numbers of select drives (8-14TB HDDs). This is to provide greater clarity for customers as we update materials and Device IDs to reflect the actual spindle motor speed (RPM) of the product as reported by the firmware. For these WD Red Plus HDDs, there is no change in firmware and drive performance. It is essentially the same drive. No other WD Red, WD Red Plus or WD Red Pro model numbers are changing. For power, acoustics and data transfer rate specs, please continue to refer to the current data sheets as the products are tested to meet the specifications documented."

Aside from the new model numbers, the drives remain functionally the same. WD has altered the WD Red Pro product sheet with the correct 7200 RPM rating, but has not fixed the product specifications for other models. 

WD's change comes in the wake of another recent controversy involving its lack of full disclosure about the underlying technology in some of its hard drives – the company neglected to mention that some of its WD Red NAS drives use slower SMR technology, touching off multiple class-action lawsuits.

Here's a list of the new model numbers: 

  • 8 TByte: WD80EFBX (-68AZZN0) instead of WD80EFAX (-68KNBN0)
  • 10 TByte: WD101EFBX (-68B0AN0) instead of WD101EFAX (-68LDBN0)
  • 12 Tbytes: WD120EFBX (-68B0EN0) instead of WD120EFAX (-68UNTN0)
  • 14 TByte: WD140EFGX (-68B0GN0) instead of WD140EFFX (-68VBXN0)

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.