WD Introduces 6TB Green and Red Hard Drives, Red Pro Series for Large Deployments

Posted on July 21, 2014 8:00 AM by Rob Williams

Last November, HGST impressed the world with the release of its biggest hard drive to date, the 6TB Ultrastar. The upside of such a drive is obvious: It’s 6,000 gigabytes. Also obvious though is a downside of that particular drive: Its $600 price tag. Suffice to say, this model is not destined for home PCs.

In the months that followed HGST’s reveal, Seagate got in on the action with the announcement of its own enterprise-targeted drives, aptly named Enterprise Capacity 3.5. At around the same time, the company also released a $300 consumer model, under its ‘Desktop HDD’ series, but it failed to tell anyone about it. Even today, that particular model cannot be found on Seagate’s own website, even though the drive can be purchased at Newegg and Amazon.

The reason I kicked-off a WD-related post with so much talk of Seagate and HGST is to highlight the impressiveness of WD’s 6TB competitor. To better understand the advantages of WD’s drive, here’s a comparative table:

Seagate 6TB DesktopWD Red 6TB
Targeted UseRegular DesktopNAS / RAID
Areal Density1TB / Platter1.2TB / Platter

Of greatest importance, a warranty that’s 50% longer is a big deal. Past that, Seagate’s drive is designed as normal storage, and not for NAS or RAID use. And, if you want to get picky about things, the fact that WD packs 1.2TB platters in its drive is also impressive: Simply put, higher areal density means that the head doesn’t need to travel as far to gather data. That in turn usually results in a higher-performing drive.

WD Red 6TB

I doubt it has to be said, but WD’s Red 6TB is very tempting. $1,200 for ~18TB of usable space in a RAID 5 configuration is yummy. I’d be remiss to not mention that such storage can be had cheaper, but it’d of course require a beefier NAS and more drives. WD’s 4TB Red goes for about $175, which would allow the same RAID 5 configuration as above for $1,050. That said, a premium for top-shelf drives like this is to be expected, and 4 drives would add the benefit of less power being drawn from the wall.

Consumers not looking to build a multi-disk array but still want to take advantage of 6TB drives should look towards WD’s also-new Green 6TB. Because Green drives don’t have NAS / RAID-specific optimizations, they’re generally less-expensive, although WD hasn’t supplied us with an SRP for this one at this time.

WD has always intended for its Red series to be used in 1~5 bay NASes, which left those running even beefier setups in a bit of a lurch. Well, no more, thanks to the new Red Pro line. These drives have been tweaked specifically for use in 8~16 bay NASes, and as you’d no doubt expect, these will carry a bit of a price premium over the normal Reds. Further, Red Pro drives currently cap at 4TB.

All of WD’s new drives should become available at etail very soon, with the Red 5TB and 6TB set to debut at $249 and $299, respectively. The Red Pro drives are priced at $159 for the 2TB, $199 for the 3TB, and $259 for the 4TB.

  • Abdul Razzak

    Western Digital Red disks are now available from 1TB to 6TB and support one to eight bay NAS setups…


  • Jason Chapman

    do you happen to know what the spindle speed is on these drives? I can’t seem to find an answer on WD’s website. I wonder if they can get those 5 platters up to 7.2k

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      Reds are customized Greens, so the speed would be about 5~5.3K. That being the case, these would obviously run slower than a normal desktop drive, but their beefy platters help negate that problem a little bit. If you’re looking to toss one of these into a normal desktop, it’d be the Green variant you’d want to consider (which should cost a wee bit less).

      • Jason Chapman

        ah, I see. I was just curious because I thought I remembered reading (maybe it was just a rumor) that the Seagate 6TB drives are filled with helium to reduce rotational drag in order to achieve a full 7.2k drive. I guess that’s not the case here

        • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

          If Seagate’s drives operate that fast, it’s no doubt one reason for their $500+ price tag. Red drives are meant for NAS use, and typically, that means they sit behind a 1Gbps bottleneck. So theoretically, one drive can go faster than the NAS would be able to send data at.

          • Jason Chapman

            ahh, of course! I always neglect to take into account network limitations when thinking about NAS drives.

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            The fact that we’re still dealing with 1Gbps Ethernet at home drives me nuts, since 10Gbps has been out for a while. A NAS I have here though is designed for link aggregation, to enable read speeds of over 200MB/s, so that should be fun to test out.

          • Jason Chapman

            Oh that’s pretty interesting. So by link aggregation, you mean multiple network connections that are bridged by the NAS? Or how does that work?

            Yeah, I actually work in the telecommunications industry and I see 10G networks going in all over the place. I don’t exactly understand why you need that link speed to a faceplate, since most NICs are integrated gigabit ethernet still. But I can definitely see the benefit for something like a NAS.

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            “So by link aggregation, you mean multiple network connections that are bridged by the NAS?”

            That’s correct, and then I’d imagine you’d do the same thing on the PC. So that’d of course require a motherboard or network card with two ports, and also supports link aggregation.

            And yes, 10Gbps is overkill for a lot of homes, but I still wish better than 1Gbps was common… even 5Gbps would satiate most appetites. Small businesses could especially benefit from greater than 1Gbps, but a lot of them won’t want to splurge all the cash that’s required for a 10Gbps setup.

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