WD Red as a desktop HDD

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I need a new larger hard drive, and saw the Western Digital Red version
has a good specification, and tighter tolerances, but says it's for RAID
systems. Is there something that stops it being used as a hard drive in
a normal system (non-RAID)? My system is powered on for most of the day
(way longer than office times), and often for few days running.

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

On 6/13/2013 9:49 AM, Ar wrote:
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I don't see a problem with it.

Did you catch the WD rebranding PR going around last month?
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So Red is their intermediate grade drive. That said, I'm a fan of mirror  
RAID. If you ever need to clone the drive, the tools seem to be happy  
just using one side of the mirror.

Of course mirror RAID is about as inefficient as it gets.

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

Ar wrote:
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What RAID needs, is a TLER driver, to avoid declaring a
hard drive is bad on a timeout. A regular drive, if a
sector is bad, may take 15 seconds to process the bad
sector. The RAID software won't wait that long, and declares
the hard drive dead after 10 seconds.

Using TLER setup software, the hard drive "truncates" its error
recovery attempt, such that the RAID software will not be
fooled into thinking the hard drive is dead. The drive responds
in less than 7 seconds, and the 10 second timer on the RAID
software is not tripped. That's the basic concept of TLER,
making the drive more appropriate for RAID usage. So the
regular desktop timeout constant won't result in unnecessary
"rebuild" operations for a RAID.


You would want to read the advertising copy again, and see whether
the advertisement is saying "good enough quality, to be used
24/7/365 in a RAID array", or the advertisement says
"has TLER to prevent dropout in RAID applications".

If the drive is touting the first quality, then it could be
used in a desktop application. If it's just an ordinary
drive, with truncated error recovery, it *might* give up
on sectors a bit more readily than a regular drive. But
as far as I know, whether it spends 15 seconds or 7 seconds,
that is way too many attempts to begin with. If it cannot
read the sector after trying for a second or so, that sector
probably isn't going to ever recover.

So go back and give the advertising copy another try.
There is much bad advertising out there...

If I try here, I can see:


    "In July 2012, Western Digital announced a "RED" series of drives,
     designed for NAS devices. This series of drives has a special
     firmware designed for Home/Small Business environments, has
     better reliability than standard desktop drives, is more
     energy efficient and comes with a 3-year warranty."

Uh oh. Does that mean it spins down the spindle 400 times a day ?
I hate drives that do that.

Now, we go check some Newegg reviews.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=22-236-343&SortField=0&SummaryType=0&Pagesize=100&PurchaseMark=&SelectedRating=-1&VideoOnlyMark=False&VendorMark=&IsFeedbackTab=true&Keywords =(keywords)&Page=1#scrollFullInfo

    "Pros: These drives are rated for over 10x the spindle
           start/stop cycles of a standard consumer drive."

That implies, for a NAS, they might intend to spin them down
when not in usage.

They mention TLER in the reviews, so the drive appears to
support the reduced time constant. The drive spins at 5900 RPM,
which is going to make seek time a tiny bit worse. And that
product only rated 3 of 5 stars, based on the number of DOA
drives. Red indeed.

There's a lot of checking to do, before buying a drive,
Just because something is on sale, doesn't mean it is
safe to buy. Keep reading.


Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

On 6/13/2013 5:11 PM, Paul wrote:

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WD offers a utility to change the spindown and park timing of their 'green'  
drives because people have been concerned that they were wearing themselves  
out trying to save power. It does work but I've not noticed any problems  
with the drives in the first place and I have (roughly) ten of them in 2tB  
and 3tB sizes. I do not know if the utility works with the 'red' drives  
but, if one is concerned about timing issues, communication with WD support  
should elicit some sort of answer.

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

Then there is the theory that the drives last longer if you don't cycle  

The only drives I let spin down are the external usb drives, and I  
probably should be disconnecting them since I just use them for backup.

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

On 13/06/13 17:49, Ar wrote:

Just to let anyone else know, I bought and am running a WD Red drive as  
a normal desktop drive instead of as a NAS. It's very fast, very quiet,  
and better than a WD Green drive.

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

Ar wrote:

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All WD non-green drives (Blue and Black families) will be faster than
WD green drives.  You do know that "green" means it spins at 5400
instead of 7200 RPM, and "green" means longer spinup time.  Greens are
designed as an eco-friendly solution: they go into low-power mode
sooner, spinup slow, produce less heat by spinning at a lower RPM.
You'll encounter read/write delays with greens.  Greens auto-park
after 8 seconds but I've read that using WDIDLE3 will let you up that
to 5 minutes.  Few green users know about WDIDLE3 Intellipark tool
(http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=609&sid=113 ) to
reduce read/write delays along with reducing the Load Cycle Count but
then using it means the drive will run longer which means more heat
for a drive not designed for higher sustained heat yet a lower LCC
means the drive lasts longer so you don't gain anything for mechanical
longevity except to avoid exceeding the load cycle rating limit.  More
parking usually means less longevity, and WD's warranty reflects that.
Odd they used "green" when the dumps will get filled up faster with
green drives than for blacks.  Energy saving over a short time but
dump filling for decades, so greens are LESS eco friendly.  Reds and
blacks don't use any eco functions as they're meant to be up 24x7 and
in constant use by multiple hosts.  Because of typically smaller
enclosures with less air flow than desktops, reds produce less heat
(but more than blues).  Lack of eco functions means reds and blacks
are good candidates for RAID setups but blacks are more reliable.
Blacks are their premium performance and reliability drives and their
extra cost reflects that.  Manufacturers know the MTBF for their
products and when too long a warranty results in revenue loss due to
repairs or replacements.

Green - 2-year warranty
Blue  - 2-year warranty
Red   - 3-year warranty
Black - 5-year warranty

Typical home computer owner (with financial means) who buy pre-builts
will replace their computers at about 3 years.  If you build your own
then replacement is 5-7 years (except for gamers).  So consider how
long you plan on having your computer, its longevity through future
hardware and OS upgrades, and how close you need to be or remain at
the bleeding edge.  Then consider if your HDD will survive that long.
They promote reds for RAID setup because a shorter lived drive is less
critical with RAID 3 or 5 where the drive can die and get swapped out.
Blacks are longer lived and they can also be RAIDed like reds for
hardware recovery.

In terms of speed, their families are organized as follows from
slowest to fastest and coolest to hottest along with quiestest to
Green - eco friendly, less heat, slower (5400 RPM) hence quieter.
Blue  - typical desktop drive, slower (5400 RPM), quiet.
Red   - no eco functions, more heat (7200 RPM).
Black - no eco, more heat (7200-10000 RPM), noisiest, most reliable.

Western Digital says:
  Overall, this product meets the performance requirements of most  
  applications while delivering significantly less power consumption.  
  If your application requires mostly sequential read/writes, then the  
  drive will perform comparable to a 7,200 RPM drive. However, if your  
  application performs mostly random mode operations, then the  
  performance may drop by about 10% because of the latency time.

Well, in a NAS setup where there are multiple often concurrent
requests for read/write access, and especially for server setups, like
databases, where file transfers are large, it'll be mostly sequential
access so the drive will be spinning more at 7200 RPM and generating
more heat.  For end users, and other than at boot time, it'd be mostly
random access so the drive will be spinning slower to generate less
heat but with longer or more often access delays.

I use Blacks for internal drives.  For external drives (in USB
enclosure or dock) I use Blues for less heat.  For USB-attached
drives, all of them surpass the USB bandwidth; however, the Greens
often cause problems with them going into low-power mode, especially
when used in a dock that does that, too, for any drive.  Considering
they are slower, die sooner, and actually less eco-friendly, I
wouldn't touch green drives.  The price differential between reds and
blacks is so minor that there is no point in not using blacks unless
you need less heat in a smaller enclosure and use in a RAID setup to
nullify their shorter longevity.  If I wanted an external enclosure
with no fan for a USB-attached drive, I wouldn't put a black drive
inside it but maybe a red (better performance, less heat, less
longevity than black) or a blue (okay performance, even less heat,
less longevity than red or black).  Forget green.

Newegg.com prices (OEM):
WD Green        1TB 32MB SATA2 5400RPM eco:  $75 *    2-year warranty
WD Blue         1TB 64MB SATA3 7200RPM:      $65 **   3-year warranty
WD Red          1TB 64MB SATA3 variable-RPM: $80 ***  3-year warranty
WD Black        1TB 64MB SATA3 7200RPM:      $90      5-year warranty
WD VelociRaptor 1TB 64MB SATA3 10K RPM:     $246      5-year warranty

*   It's a newer family line so marketers can use it to up the price  
    to noobs well trained in the sales mantra "newer is better".  Just  
    like air conditioners, higher efficiency and higher eco ratings  
    means more cost.  Save energy is good but less longevity means  
    filling the dumps faster.
**  Most sold version so volume sales reduces the price.
*** Intellipower feature: variable RPM (5400-5900 default, 7200 on  
    demand).  Slower "normal demand" 5400 RPM to achieve heat and  
    noise reduction, like with green drives.  Boost to "high demand"  
    7200 RPM but creates more heat and noise.

For $10 more, and in a desktop case with decent ventilation, I'd go
black instead of red.  If I'm spending $800, or more, on a new build,
$10 is hardly worth pinching for a tiny reduction in cost.

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

VanguardLH wrote:

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You can have any warranty period you want, if you adjust the retail price.
As can be seen here. "Wheel of Fortune" for warranty period...


The warranty period is not an indication of anything. Only when viewed with
respect to the retail price, could you (indirectly) conclude anything. Since
these companies have dialed the warranty period before, I don't think it
has anything to do with the actual hardware, and everything to do with
adjusting the price list.


Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

On 7/28/2013 5:13 PM, Paul wrote:
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Is there some issue that a similar capacity drive may not exist after 5  
years, but could possibly be around (available) after only 3 years? I  
can't even tell you what we were buying 5 years ago. Normally you can  
just use a larger drive as a replacement.

It is like trying to find a fin for an Edsel. After some point, the  
warranty becomes more of a pain in the ass than just a simple replacement.

I think your conclusion is correct, but that the 3 year limit makes it  
easier to find a replacement out of current inventory.

I still have some 300Gbyte satas in operation. They are 5 year warranted  
Seagates, but probably beyond 5 years. If they weren't in RAID, I'd dump  
them. In fact, your only real hope with data retention is backups and  
raid. All a warranty saves you is a what amounts to pocket change once  
the drive is old.

I'm not comfortable with 1 year warranties, but 3 is acceptable. You can  
usually rebuild the array. That is, the drive isn't totally dead, but  
has a damaged area.

The only time I ever got a new drive was when they replaced a DOA drive.  
Yep, not a retail box.

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

miso wrote:
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Companies maintain a stock of replacement parts. In this case, the
inventory of warranty replacements, is refurbs. If a drive is sent
back, that had a firmware problem, it can be re-flashed, platter updated,
formatted, and put into a box.

To give you some idea how deep that inventory was, look at what happened
to Newegg during the flood era. There were more models of products
advertised as "refurb", than as "new". The disk companies simply shipped
their refurbs to fill demand, and Newegg marked them as such (so there
was no deception).

There have been companies, who ran out of stocks of equivalent components,
and they end up returning something else.

I got a video card on sale, and it turned out it was part of the
warranty replacement stock of a company going out of business. That's
how a four year old architecture, was magically for sale one day.
That's my BFG branded video card.

So they do keep some.

And some of these companies, do release their warranty stock into
the channel, when it is no longer needed. It isn't thrown away or

The really puzzling thing about the flood era, and disk drives,
was the number of IDE drives that shows up out of no-where. I
thought they were all but dead and gone. I don't know where they
were hiding those, unless they came from the companies purchased
by WD and Seagate (who bought up all the smaller players).


Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

Paul wrote:

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Ar was posting his choice as the rep of a company?  I thought this was
his own personal choice for his home PC and had nothing to do with
your claim of companies having a replacement inventory (which none did
where I worked which were software and hardware developers).

Ar's original post said "*I* need a new larger hard drive", not that
he was repairing or [re]building a company workstation, server, or NAS

How much HDD stock do you carry for your personal use sitting in the
drawers inside your residence?  If so, why are they sitting around

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

On 30/07/13 11:02, VanguardLH wrote:
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I posted in capacity as a normal person, not someone working for a  
company which would have much different technical requirements for their  
computers to a home desktop.

I was asking about the Red line of WD drives as the only other similar  
capacity in the WD range is a Green drive, I have one of those (lower  
capacity), and gone off it, although it is reliable. I would have picked  
Black, but WD do not have a 3TB Black drive, and 4TB Black is expensive.

Normal people do not have inventory of hard drives. Most people buy a  
new drive as a capacity upgrade, or to be on the right side of the  
failure curve (not lose data).

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

Ar wrote:

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Sure they do. I own one. WD3001FAEX.

Example here, $230.


I purchased that, so I'd have a ">2.2TB" drive
to test MBR issues with.


The 4TB one is $290. Always read the reviews
before buying the newer technology, to make
sure nothing has changed for the worse.

"WD4001FAEX 4TB 7200 RPM"

Even in a "same product family", one capacity of
drive can be a winner, and another, a dud. You
have to be pretty careful.

In a previous purchase effort, there were some
500GB, 1TB, and 2TB drives (in the same family of
part numbers). It turned out the latter
two were dogs, and the 500GB was OK. And that was
all detected by using reviews, and doing further searches
for disgruntled customers of the larger products.
It wasn't the size that was a problem, rather,
they changed firmware for the newer ones, for
the worse. It was a firmware issue that made
the larger drives into duds. Even the firmware patch
they released, stunk. So even if you bought the
larger one in that case, and relied on the firmware
patch, the issue still wasn't completely and utterly


Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

On 31/07/13 21:51, Paul wrote:
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Hmmm, all I can say is that 3TB Black was not for sale in the stores  
that I checked / my region, which is why I opted for the 3TB Red.

Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

Ar wrote:
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I got mine, off the shelf, downtown.

But that is unusual for where I live. If I did a survey of
the rest of the computer stores in town, I'd find a couple random
models of Seagate drives on the shelf.
That would be about it.

If you want anything else, it has to be "ordered in". And you
might as well order it yourself off the web, as do that.

So finding a few WD3001FAEX for sale, was odd.


Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

On 07/29/2013 11:27 PM, Paul wrote:
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My assumption has always been that older kit is kept off of the market
for marketing purposes, to encourage people to buy the newer versions of
parts (which require other parts with newer versions, and so on).  This
keeps cheapskates like myself from being able to buy outdated but
perfectly good technology, when they should be able to make a better
profit from their R/D on the newer stuff.

Plus there's always a secondary market in non-US locations for older
kit, so they can still recoup their money.


Re: WD Red as a desktop HDD

On 7/30/2013 2:27 AM, Paul wrote:
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IIRC, the one time I had to send a 5-year-warranty Seagate back (I've had  
good luck with drives over the decades, all things considered) it was after  
3+ years and the drive they sent back was a newer larger-capacity version.  
It was a refurb but I got something like twice the capacity for all of my  

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