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Western Digital Red 6TB NAS Consumer HDD Review

By: Tyler Bernath | HDDs in Storage | Posted: Jul 21, 2014 12:20 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Western Digital

Revisited: The WD Red 6TB v2




Back in July, we took a look at the WD Red 6TB NAS specific hard drive. When testing that drive we came upon some interesting results to say the least. The drive performance was on spot while doing sequential read and write but when we flipped over to random operations it seemed to fall off and as most of you seen in the charts it didn't fare to well. Now I've never been one to hold back results, I tend to just tell it like it is and at that point in time the results spoke for themselves.


Even with the less than spectacular random read/write performance the WD Red 6TB kept with the tradition of low power consumption and great sequential performance, two things that are of utmost performance when used in a NAS application, thus I overlooked the poor random performance.


Of course, those results were less than impressive to WD and after a bit of communication it seems like they have isolated the issue and have updated the firmware on the WD Red 6TB. As you can see in the image above, the original drive on the left was manufactured on the 18th of June and carries firmware version 68MYMN0 while our new drive carries a born on date of 24th of July and firmware 68MYMN1.


At this point I haven't heard what the plan of action is for early adopters to the WD Red 6TB, nor have I heard how many drives were or are affected by the first gen firmware issue, but I would assume WD would be more than happy to release a firmware update or possibly allow concerned users to RMA the affected drives for models with the new firmware. Enough of me rambling on, lets see how the drive does in this latest revision.




To start off our testing we set up the new WD Red 6TB in our Z97 test system. As you can see above Random Read performance has really bounced back with the MN1 firmware. We reached 400 random read IOPS at QD32 compared to the 76 IOPS of the previous drive.




Random Write increased by a fair margin as well, here we topped at 405 IOPS at QD32.




Switching gears over to sequential read, we find performance similar to the original firmware at 178 MB/s .




Sequential write again was quite similar, here we topped out at 177 MB/s.




When we originally tested the WD Red 6TB mixed workload performance was lacking. With this new revision, we see a nice performance boost putting the Red 6TB at 169 IOPS at QD32.




Over to file server, we again found a nice performance boost to the workload. Here the 6TB Red came in at 216 IOPS at QD32.




Email server benefitted from the new revision as well coming in at 130 IOPS at QD32.




Web Server was able to take a nice boost up to 362 IOPS at QD32 from the original 72 IOPS.




When we tested the original drive with the workstation workload, the drive came in at 63 IOPS at QD32. Now with the new revision we have 211 IOPS at QD32 a great boost in performance.




These last two images show the performance of the drive in reference to the position of the drives heads. As you can see, the drive starts out at 180 MB/s and falls off steadily to 80 MB/s at the end of the last platter.




Using the same test, we look at the write performance of the drive over the LBA range. The Red starts out at 160 MB/s and steadily declines as we move further to the end stopping at 60 MB/s.


As I stated in the original review of the WD Red 6TB, the drive is a remarkable feat for purpose built storage solutions, and while it did have a few bumps to overcome in the first revision it's certainly refreshing to see WD come back so quick with a fix to the problem. As you can see the drive with its MN1 firmware has bounced back to where WD wanted it to be at launch and topped the charts we have above. To be fair, we did not include the WD Red Pro or HGST NAS drives as those operate on a much higher spindle speed but aren't really to much quicker than the 6TB.


In conclusion, I still feel even with its earlier issues the WD Red 6TB is a great drive for those wanting mass amounts of storage in their NAS appliances, something I stated even when the drive did have random read issues. For those that do more than storage operations with their NAS, you will be happy to know the performance has rebounded with this new revision of drives.

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