WD RE 4TB Enterprise-Class HDD Review

Introduction and Specifications

When considering a new storage solution, most users try to find the right balance between speed and capacity. SSDs are super fast, no doubt about it, but an HDD spinning at 7200RPM or 10,000RPM will still offer solid performance, and you have access to dramatically more storage capacity for a far lower cost per GB compared to an SSD.

Western Digital’s 4TB WD RE SATA drive certainly satisfies the need for capacity. And at a 7200RPM spindle speed with a SATA 6Gbps interface, 64MB of cache, and up to 171MBps sustained transfer rates, the performance balance is there as well. In the enterprise, though, there’s a third consideration that can trump the other two: reliability.

IT folks are concerned with, among other things, hardware lifecycles, the frequency of data corruption and drive failures. Selecting storage components that can endure under the strain of enterprise-level workloads without failing or causing problems is paramount, both to the IT department’s hardware budget and to the man hours it must expend to effectively manage the company’s data.

WD built this drive with a number of features designed to meet those requirements.

Specifications & Features
Model Number: 
Form Factor:  
Load/unload cycles: 
Transfer Rates: 
Limited Warranty: 
SATA 6Gbps
3.5-inch (5 platter design, 800GB/platter)
600,000 minimum
up to 171MBps sustained
1.2 million hours
5 years
$464.99-$520.99 (street prices)

WD ensures a 1.2 million-hour MTBF rating and does an extended thermal burn-in test on the WD RE. In addition, what WD is calling NoTouch load ramp technology keeps the recording heads off of the disks, while dynamic fly height technology helps keep the heads at an optimal height at all times.

To further protect the drive, WD included a multi-axis shock sensor to adjust for any shock events as well as StableTrac technology that reduces vibrations by securing and dampening the motor shaft at both ends.

While the above will certainly help ensure the longevity of the WD RE, data integrity is just as important. To that end, the drive features dual actuator technology that more accurately positions the heads over the proper track--one actuator essentially puts the head in the right spot while the other further fine tunes the positioning. RAFF technology, which is also present on this drive, dynamically detects and corrects for linear and rotational vibrations for better performance even in environments with more movement than average.

Finally, the 4TB WD RE is ideal for enterprise environments because they pack in impressive storage density. A single 3.5-inch HDD offers 4TB of storage thanks to five 800GB platters.

Note that there are other iterations of the WD RE that come in 3TB, 2TB, 1TB, 500GB, and 250GB capacities as well, in addition to 4TB and 1TB WD RE drives with SAS interfaces.

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