As you and I know, network storage is something the major vendors have really focused on for the last few years. Western Digital started the purpose-built drive trend, launching the one through three terabyte WD Red, and then subsequently adding the 4TB model. About a month ago, Western Digital took the wraps off the five and six terabyte WD Red NAS specific hard drives. With these new solutions, WD also upgraded its flagship NAS tuned firmware, NASWare, to version 3.0.
With the latest incarnation of NASWare, Western Digital has tuned the firmware to allow the WD Red to be deployed into NAS solutions up to eight bays. Advancements with StableTrac, securing the motor shaft at both ends to reduce overall vibration, and 3D Active Balance and dual plane balance control technology, enhance performance and reliability of the drive, in the harsh 24/7 environment of network storage.
In the lab today, we have four 6TB WD Red drives setup on our Intel Z97 test system. RAID modes included in this article are 0, 5 and 10, which should give you an idea how these drives perform outside the traditional NAS solution, while still being in RAID. For those that enjoy building their own storage server, this should aid in your decision on what drives you want to deploy.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Above, we see specifications for the WD Red. As you can see, the chart above encompasses all capacities ranging from 1TB to the newly introduced five and six terabyte models. For the article, we focus on the 6TB model, which we find using a SATA 6Gb/s interface with a sustained transfer rate of 175 MB/s.
Cache is listed at 64MB, while the spindle is controlled by WD's IntelliPower technology. Load/Unload cycles are listed at 600,000, with a MTBF of one million hours, moving to power consumption the 6TB WD Red is spec'd to use 5.3 watts during read/write operations and 3.4 watts at idle.
MSRP of the WD Red in the 6TB capacity is set at $299.99 with a three-year warranty.
Desktop Test System
Our consumer storage-testing platform consists of the following components:
- Intel Core i7 4770
- GIGABYTE Z97X UD7 TH
- Corsair Dominator Platinum 4 x 4GB
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
- Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD
For this article, we used the Intel onboard RAID option rom 13.0.0.0275 with RST 13.03. Benchmarks used in the process include IOmeter 1.1.0, and the Stripe Size was set at 128K.
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