Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives

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Overall Performance

To accurately represent the overall performance of the drives, we gave each model a proportional score in each real world benchmark series (loading, application, file copying, and installation), with each benchmark set equally weighted. The WD Red 3TB was used as a reference point, assigned 25 points in each category for a total of 100 points.

Using this scoring system, the WD Red 3TB triumphs over 7200 RPM models like the Barracuda XT 2TB and Caviar Black 2TB. Both of these drives are older, 4-platter drives, but it's still quite an accomplishment given the Red's lower rotational speed which we confirmed as ~5,400 RPM via acoustic testing. We're not half as impressed by the 1TB Red. It managed to beat out a Caviar Green by several points but the WD20EVDS is a three year old drive.

HD Tune Performance

Real world benchmarks are useful but they don't portray the whole picture as drive speed varies across a drive's span. HD Tune's transfer rate benchmark measures speed across the entire disk.

Both drives have very poor access times above 20 ms which is poor even for a sub-7200 RPM model. The transfer rates were noticeably higher on the 3TB sample. The 3TB's read speed only dropped under 100 MB/s over the last quarter of the drive while the 1TB model crossed this same threshold with a third of its capacity remaining.

Power Consumption

Note: the above idle figures don't account for headparking; the WD Caviar Green 2TB and 3TB's power consumption drops by an additional 0.4 W when their heads are parked.

The new Red drives perform better than their Green descendants (especially the 3TB model) but there doesn't appear to be any cost in energy savings — both drives are incredibly power efficient. The 3TB model is particularly frugal compared to its predecessor with a savings of 35% in seek mode.

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