It is that time of the year when Western Digital updates their Red lineup. Launched in 2012, the WD Red drives target network attached storage units with an optimized set of features for SMB / SOHO NAS units (up to 8 bays). It was initially launched in 1, 2 and 3TB capacities. In 2013, we saw a 4TB variant being added to the lineup along with some 2.5" drives. 2014 saw the addition of a Pro lineup (2,3 and 4TB) intended for use in NAS units with up to 16 bays. A 6TB Red version was also introduced. This year, we get 5 and 6TB WD Red Pro units. In addition, WD is also launching 5 and 6TB WD Black drives targeting gamers and creative professionals with a need for large capacity and high performance.

The important features of the WD Red Pro drives being announced today include:

  • 128 MB cache
  • Transfer rates up to 214 MBps
  • Vibration tolerance and shock protection using a multi-axis shock sensor and dynamic fly-height technology

There doesn't seem to be any updates to the firmware (NASware 3.0, introduced last year, is retained). The Red Pro drives carry a 5 year warranty. The WD Red Pro 5TB version (WD5001FFWX) has a MSRP of $269, while the 6TB version (WD6001FFWX) is priced at $299. In terms of MSRP, this seems to be lower than the Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD by $50.

The WD Black is Western Digital's desktop hard drive lineup with a focus on performance. Similar to the WD Red Pro, the Black lineup is also getting 5 and 6TB members priced at $264 and $294 respectively. These drives also have a 128 MB cache and spin at 7200 RPM (just like the WD Red Pro units). While WD didn't provide hard performance numbers, the press release indicates that the 6TB version is 29% faster than the WD Black 4TB in terms of maximum data throughput, while scoring 10% more in PCMark Vantage. It also comes with a 5-year warranty.

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  • DanNeely - Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - link

    I'll be building a new NAS in a few months. Any chance they'll have 8GB reds out by then? The Seagate model's review score on Newegg makes me nervous and HGST's $600ish 8tb drives are too rich for my blood.
  • abhaxus - Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - link

    I currently have a FreeNAS box with 6 Seagate 4TB NAS drives and 6 Seagate 500GB desktop drives. I have already had to replace 2 of the 4TB drives in 8 months. Backblaze stats show the Seagate and WD drives to have similar reliability, with HGST being significantly better. If I ever end up expanding, I'll definitely be going with HGST.
  • slideruler - Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - link

    Statistics from backblaze confirms that Seagate cleaned up their act after that 3TB disaster. For 8TB drive though we won't get reliability data for another quarter at least (and that's only if those drives are really bad, longer if they are decent). Rating on newegg is statistically insignificant so far. Plus the drive is downmoded there for not having 3rd mounting hole.
  • Samus - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    WD, is for the most part, consistently reliable. Seagate has had some spotty models, and Hitachi, especially those Coolspin models, never cease to amaze me with their excellent reliability. Unfortunately they are getting harder to come by...
  • Dunkurs1987 - Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - link

    Very fast we have got to 8TB and even 10TB drives. But seems that RED PRO 6TB is the best of all of them. Here is 8TB drive comparison :
  • hifiaudio2 - Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - link

    If you are putting this into a somewhat standard NAS box using raid 5 or 6, I would not buy any high capacity drive that has a read error of less than 10^15. Google some articles on this... you are playing roulette with the data on the whole array as a rebuild on an array with all 8TB drives that have read error rates of 10^14 is almost certain to encounter an error, bringing down the whole array.
  • extide - Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - link

    Thats really only an issue with RAID5, not with RAID 6.
  • hifiaudio2 - Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - link

    I wouldnt chance it with Raid 6 either on 8TB drives. 10 ^15 or better is the only way to go if you care about the data and don't want to take undue risks. But with the Red Pro drives now being 10 ^15, it gives consumers a choice without buying enterprise drives.
  • pilliai_hfx - Monday, August 24, 2015 - link

    Here are the specs for red pro and raid edition drives -

    red pro - 1M mtbf, 600,000 load cycle, <10 in 10^15 non recoverable read errors

    raid edition - 2M mtbf, 600,000 load cycle, <1 in 10^15 non recoverable read errors

    The old specs mentioned <1 in 10^14 non recoverable read errors for their non enterprise line. Could this be good marketing to
    bring the red pro drive to 10^15 terms rather than 10^14? Probably somebody better at math could answer that.
  • eek2121 - Monday, August 24, 2015 - link

    OR you could be like any normal person and back up your data. :)

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