Meet Western Digital's Red
The Western Digital Red family joins the Blue (desktop drives), Green (efficiency-optimized desktop drives), and Black (performance-oriented desktop drives) line-ups. The three models in the Red series are intended for appliances with between one and five drive bays. Western Digital says that this specific range is optimized in its firmware.
As mentioned, the Red drives boast power-on ratings of 8760 hours per year and a mean time between failure (MTBF) rating of 1 000 000 hours, on par with the pricier nearline drives out there. They don’t employ rotational vibration sensors, which is another reason they're being positioned as solutions in smaller storage systems, and not big racks loaded down with spinning disks that weather more severe vibrations.
Western Digital's Red drives are composed of anywhere from one to three platters with a capacity of 1 TB each. The company doesn’t explicitly call out how fast their spindles turn. Instead, it reference its IntelliPower technology, designed designed to balance RPMs, transfer rate, and caching algorithms to increase efficiency and performance. According to our benchmarks, though, the Red drives are spinning at 5400 RPM, which is understandably slower than nearline drives that command a premium.
In turn, a combination of high data density and low rotational speed should at least impart lower power consumption and operating temperatures.
The 2 TB (WD20EFRX) and 3 TB (WD30EFRX) models demonstrate a sequential read speed of 112 MB/s. Generally, this is middle-of-the-road. However, it’s actually pretty fast compared to other 5400 RPM drives, such as Hitachi's Deskstar 5K4000, which achieves 102.9 MB/s, and Samsung's EcoGreen F4 HD204UI that achieves 100.7 MB/s.
Western Digital's Red drives really shine when it comes to power consumption and thermals. Consuming less than 4 W at idle and a maximum of 5.4 W during streaming write operations, the Reds are solidly in front of their competition. The operating temperature maintains a comparatively-frosty 31 degrees Celsius, which is about four degrees less than the other drives we benchmarked.