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


View All Comments

  • bill.rookard - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    I have to say, I've been running a 5 disk Raid5 using the WD Green 2TB's, and I had one die after 30 days (RMA'd and replaced no charge), but since then, been running it 24/7 since about 2009 as well. It's not an appliance NAS - it's a full size tower, AMD Phenom/Gigabyte board/5x2Tb WD drives running FreeNAS - and it's been (with the exception of the one failure) solid.

    When it does come around to start looking into replacements, the Red series will be worth looking at as well as I expect NAS systems to become more and more prevalent.
  • - Saturday, August 18, 2012 - link

    The GREEN drives are performing well for only one reason - they are not being subjected to extreme temp cycling. Constant temps increase hard drive life quite dramatically. That same drive would quickly die in a laptop that is not routinely monitored for operating temps, with cooling filters cleaned on a regular basis. Turning the laptop on and off regularly will kill a GREEN hard drive quickly.

    It is all about extremes of temp cycling. I would not risk keeping the GREEN drives, when you could upgrade to RED at a convenient point in time, rather than be subjected to recovering from an actual hard drive failure. It is quicker, simpler, and less painful to do it now before they fail. Running 3 years on GREEN is one very risky business.
  • Gr8Ape - Saturday, August 18, 2012 - link

    i can not +1 this enough. Reply
  • dj christian - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - link

    Which i have done. Had no problems with the Green discs since i bought them and they've been running for 6 and 8-thousand hours respectively. Reply
  • pieterjan - Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - link

    Aggressive head parking (5 seconds) probably adds to the quick failure. The wdidle3 tool lets you disable it, however. In fact, except for the anti vibration feature and 24/7 support (that doesn't exist outside the US), I see little difference between the red and green drives... Reply
  • Phynaz - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    Pretty horrible article, charts are unreadable.
    Actual writing is difficult to read, please be more concise.

    Oh and crap like "IT departments have been tempted to use consumer drives". Absolute bullshit. If the author has done this he should be fired from his job.
  • mwildtech - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    Cut him a break man. If you don't like the article, then don't read it. Not bullshit on IT departments not tempted to use consumer drives. A ton on schools and S&L Gov IT Departments use consumer drives in their NAS devices. I know, because they buy them from me. Reply
  • Gigantopithecus - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    Yet another useless comment from Phynass. The graphs are perfectly legible, the writing is fine, and if you've never seen an IT department use consumer drives, you've never worked with small businesses. Get a life you fucking nitwit. Reply
  • Azethoth - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    RAID: Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.

    Gosh, am I doing something wrong using cheap drives in a RAID? Am I going to get fired?

    Do you scream when you type, because I don't want cheetos sprayed all over me. Does your Mom mind when you throw tantrums in the basement?

    PS: you need to just turn on caps lock and leave it on.
  • yyrkoon - Friday, August 17, 2012 - link

    LOL cheetos . . .

    And yeah, I guess it was an accident that SAS controllers can interface with SATA drives . . .

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