Western Digital Red NAS Hard Drive Review

Discussion in 'Reviews and Articles (Archived)' started by Rob Williams, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    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.

    You can read through our full look at WD's Red NAS hard drives and then discuss it here!
     
  2. Brett Thomas

    Brett Thomas Senior Editor

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    Apr 10, 2009
    Damnit...Now I need to look into THESE to do my next upgrade to my home server. Thanks, Rob. :p I had a whole suite of Seagate 2TB LPs!
     
  3. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    Hah! No kidding. The RE4s I tested here are to be my NAS drives; now I will be using them knowing that the Red out-perform them. Bah.
     
  4. Greg King

    Greg King I just kinda show up... Staff Member

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    Jul 12, 2005
    Indiana
    Drives are drives :)

    I use nothing but WD green drives and I haven't ever experienced any HD related bottleneck. That said, I won't get anything but Red drives gong forward, if for no other reason then the warranty.
     
  5. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    True, but when you're a performance hound, capabilities also matter. Especially in a RAID 5 configuration, which typically isn't nearly as fast as JBOD, any extra speed is going to be appreciated. It's very difficult for any drive to compete against one with 1TB platters.
     
  6. veshman

    veshman Guest

    Great review!

    Hi Rob, this is the best review of this drive I've seen, and provides a great deal of rationale as to why these drives are the best choice for a NAS.

    I have 6 Green drives in a Synology, and one of them dropped out of the RAID this weekend while I was doing multiple copies to multiple folders. Luckily, only one drive failed. I was able to reinitialize the drive and add it back in, but I definitely don't want to go through that again!

    Until I read your review, I didn't know what had happened. But it seems clear that the error checking or the head parking had something to do with it (the drive was making a noise).

    Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and upgrade the whole disk set rather than risk another drive failure.

    Thanks for this great review. It's definitely the most useful one I've seen.

    Bhavesh
     
  7. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    Hi Bhavesh:

    I'm glad you found the review useful! Unfortunately, your experience is exactly what these drives set out to prevent. What I'm wondering is if you can, instead of purchasing all new drives, load each drive one-by-one into a PC and change the head parking and error correction values to mimic the Red drives, then pop them back in. This is something WD doesn't really like to answer, so it'd probably be a "at your own risk" sort of deal. Whether or not doing that would effectively mess up your RAID configuration too, I'm not sure. It shouldn't. But that's not always the way it goes...

    Rob
     
  8. veshman

    veshman Guest

    I thought about trying that

    Rob, it's interesting that you mentioned that. After thinking about the primary difference really being the error correction time and the parking, I was wondering if the Greens could be reprogrammed. It seems like the Reds allow "customization" and if the Green allows it too, reprogramming might allow most of the benefits.

    Do you know where I could go to learn about reprogramming the drive?

    Bhavesh
     
  9. Tharic-Nar

    Tharic-Nar Senior Editor Staff Member Moderator

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    Nov 25, 2009
    UK
    I took the liberty to do some digging for you. First of all, if you decide to do this, it is at your own risk. Secondly, TLER may not be an available option on your drive as WD removed the feature from a number of drives since 2009 onwards.

    I had to scour a few sites and pages to find a valid link to the WDTLER utility described on these pages. I have not checked that validity of the file either, so again, use at your own risk.

    Some reading to do is here for the basic use:
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1436698

    A little more thorough reading is here:
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1285254

    And finally, the location as to where I found a valid link:
    http://forums.anandtech.com/archive/index.php/t-2060370.html

    The actual RapidShare link:
    http://rapidshare.com/files/366294565/WDTLER.zip

    A DOS bootdisk is required. To create one on a modern OS like Win7, with the option to create one on a USB flash drive, please read Rob's recent article.

    The tool will change the TLER value on ALL connected drives - so disconnect any drives you do not wish to change. Again, this may not work for your drives. If it is supported, you will need to set the TLER state to ON, with a value of 5-7 seconds. This will cause the drive to timeout sooner on a failed read attempt, giving the controller a chance to kick in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012

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