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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.

Final Thoughts

At the current time, the 4TB market is small. As mentioned in the intro, three of the readily-available drives all have the WD warlord watching over them – so regardless of which one you buy, you’ll ultimately be supporting the same company. One drive that has popped in and out since November is Seagate’s Constellation 4TB, although little is known about it. It does however feature a 128MB cache, which the mere thought of alone could get any geek excited about. We’ll see about getting one of these in to test soon.

On the WD side, the company’s RE 4TB that we took a look at here retails for ~$429.99. By contrast, the Black 4TB bears a price-tag of ~$329.99, whereas HGST’s is ~$309.99. We established in our full review of the Black 4TB that it and the HGST drive shouldn’t be too different overall, either design or performance-wise, but things change a bit with the RE.


We covered six things on the front page of this review that RE drives pack in that the others don’t. All of these revolve around keeping the drives stable and secure while delivering long-lasting endurance in addition to a long lifespan. For its $100 premium over the Black model, are those things all worth it?

For most, no… not at all. As I’ve harped on a couple of times in this review, RE drives are targeted squarely at the enterprise market. There, failing hard drives is not an option. While it’s impossible to deploy a hard drive that’s simply not going to fail, your chances are lessened when you choose a model that’s designed with your usage scenarios and needs in mind. WD takes its enterprise offerings very seriously, so given the choice between a Black and RE drive, I’d always opt for the latter. Would I personally pay the $100 premium? Of course not. For a home user, a drive like this is a luxury. For the enterprise, it’s just common sense.

If you’re a home user with deep pockets that cares a lot about enterprise-level equipment, the RE would make for a great addition to your server or NAS. For everyone else, the Black 4TB is still more than sufficient where 4TB drives are concerned, though its latencies still leave a bad taste in our mouths. Fortunately, the RE 4TB suffered no such performance hold-ups, often proving faster than the Black 2TB. Its pricing will keep it out of the hands of most people, but there’s no denying just how sweet of a drive this is.


  • 4TB – need we say more?
  • Fantastic performance. Handily beats out the Black 4TB.
  • Boasts numerous enterprise-level features focusing on security and stability.


  • Pricing – but it’s to be expected on enterprise equipment.

WD RE 4TB Hard 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