Final Words

With the WD Red lineup, Western Digital continues its successful branding initiative. The three disks that we have had in-house over the last month have performed and held up quite well under stress. The disks have the optimal balance of firmware features necessary for usage in NAS systems. The icing on the cake is the fact that all of these features are configurable, if the end user so desires. The power consumption profile is also very attractive, and the reduced IntelliPower rotational speed doesn't seem to affect the performance much (at least in the SMB / SOHO 2 - 5 bay NAS systems that these drives are meant for).

Are these features worth the extra premium? We have no doubts about that, as the extended warranty period (3 years vs. 2 for the Green drives) and 24x7 support, as well as the lower power consumption should pay for itself over the course of the lifetime of the drive. Irrespective of the warranty / RMA possibility, consumers would do well to keep data on any hard drive (including the WD Reds) backed up (if possible, in a different location).

On the basis of our evaluation, we have no reservations in recommending the WD Red lineup as the drives of choice for a NAS system. As usual, it is extended usage and consumer reports a few months down the line which will tell the true story. At the moment, however, WD does have a winner in the NAS market segment with the WD Red hard drives.

Stress Testing and Effects of Prolonged Usage
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  • haukionkannel - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    I supose that RED allso did run in cooler temperatures than the reference drives? It should have meaning when using NAS 14/7...
    Could you measure the temperature of drives and temperature of the air inside the NAS box. It would be interesting to read.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    The temperatures inside the NAS should be roughly proportional to the power consumed at the wall. I have the power tables in the review. WD consumes approx. 15W when the Seagate equipped units consume 21W -- so the temperatures should have a corresponding decrease. Obviously, it is possible that the fans inside the NAS would be working at higher speeds to cool down the interior ; Say, with the Seagates, the fan operates at 3000 rpm, they might need to operate at only 2000 rpm with the WDs to keep the interior at the same temperature. I believe these external factors may result in skewed results and not properly reflect the fact that the Red runs cooler.

    By the way, you might be interested in what WD claims as a cooler running drive in the marketing slide reproduced on this page : http://www.servethehome.com/western-digital-releas...
    Reply
  • amikey - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    FWIW, 2 3TB RED running in DS212J for the last couple weeks - 36/40C / 97/104F

    Is that hot ? In truth, where they are could be better ventilated - shared space with a PS3.

    Image:
    http://imgur.com/EJepQ
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    If they hold stable at that temperature, you should not be worried. The usual 'cutoff' temperature is around 55C for most hard drives. If your HDD reports more than 50C itself, I would suggest taking steps to ventilate your setup better. Reply
  • Samus - Saturday, August 18, 2012 - link

    I agree, anything under 45c is really good, anything over 50c I get worried. Reply
  • Zds - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Remember that per Google data, 37..46C is the optimal range; going either below or above lowers reliability: http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_conte...

    This means your drive is cooler a bit too well, if anything.
    Reply
  • Konraden - Saturday, July 13, 2013 - link

    That's not really accurate. Google mentions that temperature deltas "as low as 15C" affected drive reliablility.

    They apparently were more concerned with the change in temperature of the drives than the average operating temperature. If your drive is being shocked, booting in arctic and being set next to an open flame, you're going to have a lot more issues than if it ran all day at 45C.

    [Per cited research]"One of our key findings has been the lack of a con-
    sistent pattern of higher failure rates for higher temper-
    ature drives or for those drives at higher utilization lev-
    els. Such correlations have been repeatedly highlighted
    by previous studies, but we are unable to confirm them
    by observing our population. Although our data do not
    allow us to conclude that there is no such correlation,
    it provides strong evidence to suggest that other effects
    may be more prominent in affecting disk drive reliabil-
    ity in the context of a professionally managed data center
    deployment."

    Google's team goes on to say that drives showing SMART errors are very significantly more likely to fail, but most of their failed drives _did not_ show SMART errors prior to failing.
    Reply
  • sparks.nl - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    I just bought 4x3TB WD Red drives. It's just too bad that the 24/7 number (from the WD site) doesn't exit. Ican't even call the number to report a defective drive (living in the Netherlands).
    I would have thought that a big company had better support. What a bummer.
    Reply
  • Mixers - Monday, August 20, 2012 - link

    Had a look myself since I too live in the netherlands.

    Found this and hope it helps.

    Netherlands, The

    0080085584253

    Monday-Thursday
    Friday

    9 am - 8 pm CET
    9 am - 6 pm CET

    This is the network support number however they will provide RED support.

    I already had a go at them for not having a dutch number... They did say they were looking into it.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    My current server has been running 2 X 2TB WD Green drives since 2009 24x7 without a problem.

    When one (or both) of those drives takes a dump I will definitely look at the Red line.
    Reply

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