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 Desktop
||WD Red 6TB
||NAS / RAID
||1TB / Platter
||1.2TB / 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.
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.