With the release of its Red hard drives, WD hasn’t only managed to scratch another color off its list, but it also gives NAS users a drive designed just for them. Beyond its NAS-specific features, Red proves to be one of the fastest drives on the market, and with its 3-year warranty, it’s without a doubt a very compelling option for NAS users.
When WD first announced its Red NAS drives, I admit that it seemed a little expected. The company has targeted the surveillance and audio / video market before, so catering to NAS users, to me, seemed to be the next logical step. That said, while it did come as little surprise, I was left questioning just how much the drives offered users over the Green models, as quite frankly, the differences seemed minimal.
But that was then. Since the announcement, WD has revealed more on its spec page, so we’ve been able to delve more into the differences between Green vs. Red (you’d almost think we were talking about graphics cards!). In the end, Red is actually a very compelling option.
At the moment, most of WD’s 2TB models are built with either 4x 500GB platters or 3x 667GB. Red on the other hand, features just 2x at 1TB each (the 3TB model is 3x1TB). Because of this enhanced density-per-square-inch, there are many times when the Red drive out-performs enterprise-level 7,200 RPM offerings, such as the RE4-GP we used in our testing. Why that matters is that this drive is priced like a budget offering, but it doesn’t offer budget performance. In fact, it offers even better performance than the Green drive that it’s often compared to.
That alone ranks the Red above the Green, but adding to it we have an additional year on the warranty, improved power consumption (-0.90W isn’t much, but consider that per-drive @ 24/7), reduced vibration and then the NAS-specific features; the removal of head-parking and reduced timing for error correction.
All in all, while WD’s Red drives do carry a price premium, we’re of the mind that the extra-long warranty alone justifies that. Add everything else we’ve mentioned above – and WD’s Red should absolutely be in your considerations when searching for hard drives to fill up your NAS or RAID array.
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