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Western Digital Red Drive review: Western Digital Red Drive

If you need to stack your NAS, the Red drive makes a good choice — good speeds, quiet operation and some intelligent technology make it the go-to drive.

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Craig Simms
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Craig Simms

Special to CNET News

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

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3 min read

When building a NAS in the past, the consumer generally had two choices: dip into hard drives that weren't really built to be stacked next to each other in a cramped environment and run for 24 hours, or splash out for an enterprise drive that cost the world.

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9.0

Western Digital Red Drive

The Good

Quiet operation. Respectable speeds. TLER means less likely to drop from arrays. Anti-vibration tech built specifically for NAS use.

The Bad

None notable.

The Bottom Line

If you need to stack your NAS, the Red drive makes a good choice — good speeds, quiet operation and some intelligent technology make it the go-to drive.

Those who opted for choice one and bought "green" drives, for the fact that they were cheaper, ran slower and were therefore cooler, often found themselves in the bind of drives dropping from their arrays, as TLER or whatever equivalent either shipped as disabled or simply wasn't there.

So it's nice that Western Digital has spotted a niche to tackle: that of the NAS drive. Its new Red drives are built specifically to live in that tiny box in the corner of your room, including shipping with TLER on by default, technology to minimise vibration and the adjustable spindle speed of the green drives to keep heat, and technically energy bills, down.

It's also backed up with a three-year warranty, which while not extraordinary is always nice to have.

They're technically SATA 6Gbps drives (not that it'll get anywhere near saturating that like an SSD will), and has 64MB of RAM on-board. At this point in time, they come in 1TB, 2TB and 3TB capacities, going for around AU$95, AU$155 and AU$210, respectively.

So, how about performance?

Performance is quite excellent, and, surprisingly, the drive remained next to silent throughout our whole test.

Sequential read speeds (in MBps)

  • 197.6
    Western Digital Velociraptor (1.0TB, WD1000THZ)
  • 161.8
    Western Digital Red (1.0TB WD10EFRX)
  • 160.4
    Western Digital Red (2.0TB WD20EFRX)
  • 157.4
    Western Digital Red (3.0TB WD30EFRX)
  • 117.30
    Western Digital Blue (2.5-inch, 500GB, WD5000LPVT)
  • 70.54
    Western Digital Green (1.0TB, WD10EADS)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


The Red drive performs exceptionally well, especially when seen in the context of the Green drive. While the 10,000rpm Velociraptor of course streaks ahead, it's also quite a noisy and expensive drive. The 6Gbps interface also helps a little, with burst speeds of around 330MBps recorded, as opposed to around 180MBps when attached to a 3Gbps interface.

If you need to stack your NAS, the Red drive makes a good choice — good speeds, quiet operation and some intelligent technology make it the go-to drive.

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