First Look - WD RED eAegis Review

 

WD RED Hard Disk Drives in head to head performance review

Western Digital has for a period of time failed in producing a low priced SATA II 6GB/s drives with 7200rpm that works in harmony with RAID based NAS systems. More often than not, the Green Drive versions caused drop-outs from RAID sets. This resulted in reducing the RAID set to degrade and compromise data protection; many explanations were provided all of which have no bearing to this review and are openly discussed elsewhere.

Western Digital RED Drive comparison

We were pleasantly surprised when Western Digital (WD) announced a range of drive models engineered to specifically work with NAS devices. Compatible with the most common NAS devices from leading SMB vendors such as, Synology, Thecus, QNAP, and others, with support for up to five drive bays. We were not able to get clarification as to why WD recommends up to five drive bay NAS devices. It may be the claim Western Digital makes regarding its 3D Active Balance Plus technology whichprovides enhanced balance control designed to maximize drive performance and reliability. We were not able to prove this but our tests using eight bay models seemed not to have any detrimental effect on performance.

The Specifications

Western Digital RED Drive comparisonThe Western Digital RED Drives are designed in a 3.5-inch 1TB (model - WD10EFRX), 2TB (model - WD20EFRX), and 3TB (model - WD30EFRX) capacities. The drives all have 64MB cache and support speeds up to 6GBps. Using the Western Digital’s Intellipower technology the drives are specified to work between 5,400-7,200rpm, as there is no confirmation from WD as to the exact spindle mark. The Red drives measure approximately 1 by 4 by 5.8 inches (HWD), fitting easily into the typical NAS drive bay.  The 1TB and 3TB drives each weighs 0.99 pound and the 2TB model weighs 1.40 pounds. According to WD the drives uniqueness is its firmware, designed exclusively for NAS devices, NASware is built into each drive and it increases storage performance by reducing common hard drive integration concerns in NAS systems including concerns of compatibility, integration, upgradeability, and reliability. This is the main reason WD claims to have designed the RED drives for. Whilst other manufacturers are reducing warranty terms, WD Red Drives come with a three-year warranty. All in all in terms of specification it is an improvement in the right direction.

Performance Stats

The Tests are divided into three categories with an overall average of all three categories making up the final overall score. In the Video/Audio/Images section the WD Red drives do very well and clearly the NASware seems to kick in from a design aspect, whilst in the Office Productivity area the Hitachi and Seagate drives get the nod. The most critical area of the testing is normally the Copy, Backup and Restore sections as these are some of the major reasons we all invest in a redunandantredundant based storage systems. The WD Red drives dido not perform as well as we would have liked. Tthis is probably as a result of the RED drives possiblyperhaps performing at 5400RPM: that is the only logical explanationlogical explanation we can share for the last test. Overall, the WD RED drives dto well when you stack the odds evenly and considering the drives are spinning at 5400RPM and the fact reliability could be better than the other “desktop” drives, the overall result looks very credible for the WD RED drives.

 

Western Digital 3TB WD30EFRX integrated in QNAP TS-869U-RP Read/Write Comparative Performance
Video/Audio/Images 537.17 Total: 415.90
Office Productivity 99.24
Copy, Backup and Restore 611.29

 

Hitachi Deskstar 3TB 7K3000 HDS723030ALA640 integrated in QNAP TS-869U-RP Read/Write Comparative Performance
Video/Audio/Images 525.15 Total: 445.15
Office Productivity 128.43
Copy, Backup and Restore 681.89

 

Seagate Barracuda 3TB ST3000DM001 integrated in QNAP TS-869U-RP Read/Write Comparative Performance
Video/Audio/Images 514.79 Total: 425.91
Office Productivity 101.88
Copy, Backup and Restore 661.05

 

Overall Conclusion

The Western Digital RED drives makes a credible case with the drives possibly spinning at 5400RPM, and the other drives in the tests were all 7200RPM models. The overall result is good, and puts the RED drives in serious contention for the desktop NAS market. These drives are not a replacement for the "Enterprise" class SATA drives as we will see shortly when we publish the results. The reliability has been decent but its early days and only time will tell.

This review is courtesy of eAegis.com Product Testing and Evaluation Division. Please email reviews@eaegis.com for any comments you may wish to share with us. We welcome customer feedback. September 18, 2012.

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