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WD RE 4TB Hard Drive Review

by Rob Williams on January 21, 2013 in Storage

There’s a relative lack of 4TB hard drive options on the market at the moment, but those looking for enthusiast or enterprise models are well taken care of. We’ve already taken a look at WD’s enthusiast part, the Black 4TB, so now it’s time to shift our attention to the feature-packed and enterprise-focused RE.

Synthetic: HD Tune Pro 5.0

One of the best-known storage benchmarking tools is HD Tune, as it’s easy to run, covers a wide-range of testing scenarios, and can do other things such as test for errors, provides SMART information and so forth. For our testing with the program, we run the default benchmark which gives us a minimum, average and maximum speeds along with an access time result, and also the Random Access test, which gives us IOPS information.

HD Tune Pro 5.0

While the RE 4TB and Black 2TB banged heads in our PCMark 7 testing, the RE gives itself a fairly strong lead here. While not listed due to it not being re-tested yet, the Black 4TB scored an average 126 MB/s read in HD Tune, which puts this RE 4TB 10 MB/s ahead. Clearly, there are more differences between those two drives than immediately meets the eye.

One thing we’re unsure about is why the write latencies on both the RE and Black drives are much better than expected. The first thing that comes to mind is “cache”, but all drives feature the same amount of on-board cache, are tested the exact same way (and with benchmarks in the exact same order) and are tested twice over. We’ll be pinging WD about this one, in case some light can be shed on this oddity.

Things are about equal between the RE 4TB and Black 2TB in the read IOPS test, but things get a little interesting in the write. There, the RE drive dominates across all four cluster sizes along with the random mix. Nothing can touch the 4KB and 64KB speeds of the VelociRaptor, but this is a great showing overall for the RE drive.

  • Christian_H

    Regarding the folder copy and folder transfer. What’s in them? Big chunk of files or small files?

    • Rob Williams

      It’s all over the place. It’s meant to mimic a typical user’s “Documents” folder, so it includes a slight dab of music, lots of pictures and a ton of random documents. The largest file is about 300MB, the smallest is 1KB. Here’s a verbose look at the folder if you’re truly interested in the nitty gritty:

    • Jason Hall

      windows has a rather high copy latency with 8.3 filenames… if you don’t need it disable legacy 8.3 support. I watched large directories that took days to transfer finish in under 4 minutes without legacy 8.3 support…

      • Rob Williams

        I’ve never heard of this before. Will give things a test soon and see how our copy processes fare.

      • Christian_H