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Western Digital Red 4TB NAS HDD Consumer Review

Western Digital Red 4TB NAS HDD Consumer Review

With increased storage capacity of 4TB, WD enables current Red users a valuable upgrade path with the same reliability, availability and performance.

@TylerBernath
Published Tue, Sep 24 2013 9:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction and Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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VIEW GALLERY - 28 IMAGES

Back in June, we had the chance to review the Seagate NAS 4TB HDD, and at that time I said to expect WD to respond and release their very own 4TB NAS drive in the coming months. Now three months later, that has come to fruition with WD rounding out their portfolio of purpose-built NAS solutions with the WD Red in the 4TB capacity.

The WD Red line-up has been the defacto drive for one to five bay NAS appliances since its release in July of 2012. Building on the reliability and market success of the 1 - 3TB capacities, WD chose to increase and offer 33% more capacity in the 4TB model.

The WD Red ships with many features to enhance the reliability, one of which is 3D Active Balance Plus, a dual plane balancing technology pioneered by WD.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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The WD Red in the 4TB capacity comes in the standard 3.5" form factor using Advanced Format technology. Utilizing the SATA III or 6 Gb/s specification, the drive is capable of 150 MB/s sustained read/write. The spindle speed of the WD Red is listed as "IntelliPower" and is widely assumed to spin between 5400 and 5900 RPM.

All capacities of the Red feature a generous 64MB cache, along with a class leading 600,000 Load/Unload cycles. Non-Recoverable read errors per bits read is listed at <1 per 1014, with the MTBF set at 1 million hours.

At the time of writing, the WD Red 4TB is listed at $209.99 with a three-year warranty from Western Digital. Availability is quite high at this point with several online retailers offering the drive.

WD Red 4TB HDD

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The WD Red was delivered in it bare form. Capacity at the top is listed at 4TB, with a manufacture date of August 11th 2013.

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The back of the drive houses a green PCB, standard SATA connections at the bottom.

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The SATA power and data connections are placed in position for wide compatibility.

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Removing the PCB, we find a set of pins at the bottom for the heads, while the spindle carries a set of gold contacts.

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The PCB houses the 64MB DRAM cache manufactured by SK-Hynix. The drives controller is manufactured by Marvell with the model number 88i9446. To the right you will find the spindle motor controller.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

Desktop Test System

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ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

Many disk manufacturers, to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers, use ATTO.

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In ATTO, our review sample of the 4TB Red was capable of 149 MB/s read, followed by 142 MB/s write.

Benchmarks - Sequential Performance

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has gained popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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The 4TB capacity was able to retain much of the performance we found in the previous 1TB model. Here we have a peak of 144 MB/s read.

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Write performance of the 4TB capacity came in at 142 MB/s.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

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Read access times of the 4TB model were much improved from the previous 1TB capacity. Here we have a peak of 17.3ms, with an average of 16.3ms.

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Write access times improved as well, with the 4TB capacity peaking at 20.1ms.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: RC6

So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? First of all, it's a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests, you can run a full test or just the read or the write test or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K DQ16.

Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil on several international forums has been updating the software steadily and is adding new features every couple of months.

The software is used several different ways and to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

Incompressible Data

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0-Fill Compressible Data

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Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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Random read IOPS for the 4TB WD Red peaked at 471 at QD32.

Write IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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Random write had our 4TB in line with the competing Seagate NAS HDD.

Benchmarks - PCMark 8 Hard Disk Tests

PCMark 8 - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark8

PCMark 8 is the latest version in our popular series of PC benchmarking tools. Improving on previous releases, PCMark 8 includes battery life measurement tools and new tests using popular applications from Adobe and Microsoft. Whether you are looking for long battery life, or maximum power, PCMark 8 helps you find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for your needs.

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The PCMark 8, World of Warcraft application trace put the 4TB capacity right with the previously tested 1TB model.

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Battlefield 3 had the 4TB Red at 352 seconds, right in-line with previously tested WD drives.

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Photoshop under light use allowed the 4TB Red a time of 249.5 seconds.

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A heavy use scenario has the 4TB capacity slightly quicker than the 1TB model, at 512.4 seconds.

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The Excel application trace has our 4TB sample touching 37.6 seconds.

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Here we see similar numbers for the PowerPoint trace, again the 4TB comes in at 37.6 seconds.

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The Microsoft Word trace had our 4TB Red coming in at 63.9 seconds.

Benchmarks - BootRacer and Resume from S4 Hibernation

BootRacer - System Boot Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.0

Developer Homepage: Greatis

Product Homepage: BootRacer

Download here: http://www.greatis.com/bootracer/download.htm

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In our BootRacer testing, time to desktop came in at 64.5 seconds.

Resume from S4 Hibernation

Hibernation or S4 is part of the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface specification. In our custom "Resume from S4" testing, we allow the drive to enter hibernation for a period of ten minutes; from there we use our trusted stopwatch and time how long it takes for the drive to resume to a working desktop environment.

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In resume from S4, the WD Red in the 4TB capacity came in at 13.38 seconds, slightly quicker than the 1TB model.

Final Thoughts

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The Western Digital Red ushered in the next generation of reliable storage solutions aimed at the one to five bay NAS appliance market. Adding the 4TB capacity to its portfolio, WD has enabled the average consumer increased storage capacity of 20TB in a five bay appliance, all while maintaining the high performance and low power consumption that they desire.

As seen on the previous pages, the WD Red performed quite well and in most cases better than the previous 1TB capacity. Benchmarks such as HD Tune had the 4TB Red hovering around 144 MB/s read and write, while our AIDA64 read and write access times put the WD Red at the top of our charts, with a peak of 17ms read and 20ms write, a full 37ms quicker than the comparable Seagate NAS HDD.

At the time of writing, Western Digital offers the Red in four capacities. The 1TB, 2TB and 3TB models come in at $79.99, $104.99 and $139.99 respectively, while the 4TB is currently listed at $209.99.

In the future, you can expect the price of the 4TB model to decline as production ramps up and WD engages the Seagate NAS offering.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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