6 TB Hard Drive Round-Up: WD Red, WD Green, Seagate Enterprise

Western Digital Red 6TB

The Western Digital Red 6TB drive is designed for NAS enclosures and includes firmware dubbed NASware 3.0 that is tuned for 24/7 operation. Nowhere on WD's website does it say anything about "maximum performance" like the Seagate drive does, so temper your expectations a bit. This is not a drive designed to win benchmark battles, but rather to provide reliable service throughout its deployment. Instead of using a 7,200rpm spindle speed like the Seagate drive uses, the Red drives employ a technology known as "Intellipower," with a spindle speed at 5,400rpm. According to WD, "IntelliPower is a fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate, and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance." What this means is WD varies the cache size and spindle speed according to the individual drive, so while most hover around 5,400rpm some might spin a smidgen faster. We also found WD video on Youtube rather entertaining trying to educate people to basically not pay attention to spindle speed when shopping for hard drives. In the video it says that if areal density is increased, it's possible a 5,400rpm hard drive could outperform an older 7,200rpm hard drive, which admittedly is certainly true - though there are plenty of variables that can come into play.


One other notable difference in the performance department is the Red drive has 64MB of cache, whereas the Seagate Enterprise drive has double that at 128MB. Finally, the WD Red includes a decent three year warranty, whereas the Seagate drive's warranty is for five years. All these differences make for quite a lower price tag, as it's just $299 (MSRP, street currently $266) compared to the Seagate's $479 street price. The Red does have one more year of warranty coverage than its Green sibling, however.


In terms of design, like the Seagate this is a PMR drive, so it still uses the same technology we've seen for the past few years. However, unlike Seagate WD found a way to pack an eye-popping 1.2TB onto a platter, so it still uses a five-platter design with ten read/write heads. It's also available in all the other terabyte-sized capacities as well, including 5TB, 4TB, 3TB, etc.

For those who crave even more performance from a Red drive WD also offers a Red Pro line that offers a 7,200rpm spindle speed and a five year warranty. Now let's take a look at its Green-labeled counterpart.

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