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Western Digital Red: NAS-Specific SATA 6Gb/s Drives, Reviewed

Red Gets A Recommendation In NAS Appliances

Western Digital's Red family is a well-rounded offering aimed at home- and SOHO-based NAS appliances. The hard drives’ strengths include low operating temperatures, conservative power consumption, and modest acoustics at a 5400 RPM spindle speed. If you're running a pedestal-based server in the same room you work and need to keep storage- and cooling-related noise to a minimum, these drives are definitely ideal. Not only are the drives themselves quiet, but their low operating temperature allows the NAS to operate for longer without spinning its own fans up.

The Red drives aren’t as attractive once you step outside of Western Digital's target usage model of small business network-attached storage and into more demanding professional applications. A slow spindle speed and the lack of a rotational vibration sensor are evidence that these disks weren't intended for use in larger servers. Also, relatively modest performance in Iometer’s database, file server, Web server, and workstation metrics, as well as our 4 KB random read and write benchmarks, make it clear that these drives aren't meant for environments where I/O performance is important.

We can wholeheartedly recommend the Western Digital Red drives in their intended application: small business NAS appliances. I/O generally isn't emphasized in that scenario, and the drives do demonstrate good streaming and sequential read/write performance (at 110 MB/s). This leads to fast transfers of large files, a common task in network-attached workloads.

The drives run cool, are quiet, and exhibit low operating power consumption. In addition, they come with some of the features usually found on enterprise-class hard drives, such as 24x7 availability and high reliability (an MTBF of 1 000 000 hours). We're only disappointed that Western Digital's warranty isn't as enterprise-oriented, limited to just three years.

  • f-14
    the reviews say these drives aren't very good, they are prone to high failure rates similar to the 1TB 7200 rpm 64mb cache caviar black drives they make. i thought maybe it was just me, but the reviews say other wise.
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    10445415 said:
    the reviews say these drives aren't very good, they are prone to high failure rates similar to the 1TB 7200 rpm 64mb cache caviar black drives they make. i thought maybe it was just me, but the reviews say other wise.

    Where did you read that? I just finished reading Tom's review and found out that these are excellent in terms of power, temperature and price for SOHO NAS use. Not sure about the reliability just yet though since they are pretty new on the market.
    Reply
  • JeTJL
    Read some reviews with people experiencing their drives catching on fire.

    Such a shame though I would of wanted some for my new FreeNAS server. Till then I'll be using some 2.5 drives pulled from some laptops.
    Reply
  • enewmen
    I think this class of drives are needed. I hope to read more about these and some long-term tests.
    I personally only read good things about the Red drives - the low heat, low noise, low vibration, and low power consumption, low idle power consumption, and of course reliability are more important to me than maximum performance in its intended environment (even if some faster spinning drives have slightly more performance per watt).
    Now I can't wait to put these drives in a Synology DS413 when they are released.
    Reply
  • mocchan
    I definitely need to pick up a few of these drives, they're looking pretty sweet to be honest.
    Reply
  • epsiloneri
    Thanks for the review, these kind of articles are the reason I keep check in on Tom's now and then (I'm not interested in buyer's guides, hardware is what interests me). These kind of drives have really been missing from the market, the enterprise ones are just too expensive for home users.
    10445417 said:
    Read some reviews with people experiencing their drives catching on fire.
    Eh, can you provide a source for that spectacular claim, or are you just trolling?
    Reply
  • EDVINASM
    epsiloneriThanks for the review, these kind of articles are the reason I keep check in on Tom's now and then (I'm not interested in buyer's guides, hardware is what interests me). These kind of drives have really been missing from the market, the enterprise ones are just too expensive for home users. Eh, can you provide a source for that spectacular claim, or are you just trolling?
    I second that. Nothing on Google regarding WD Red issues or fire hazards. I have ordered 2 of these and I am going to enjoy them, never mind few trolls around - I have hater blocking glasses :)
    Reply
  • rantoc
    Caviar Green's in raid 5 or 6 depending on how much fault tolerance you need for a home nas - ftw!
    Reply
  • vipervoid1
    f-14the reviews say these drives aren't very good, they are prone to high failure rates similar to the 1TB 7200 rpm 64mb cache caviar black drives they make. i thought maybe it was just me, but the reviews say other wise.
    my Black 1TB 7200rpm 32MB cache
    Used for about 4 years long ~
    nvr gt any problem ~
    Reply
  • ZakTheEvil
    rantocCaviar Green's in raid 5 or 6 depending on how much fault tolerance you need for a home nas - ftw!
    Except that most RAID manufacturers specifically warn against using Caviar Green drives in RAID arrays due to IntelliPower technology causing problems with RAID due to their firmware not being optimized for RAID.
    Reply