Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives

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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recordings start with 5 to 10 seconds of ambient noise, then 10 second segments of the drive in the following states: idle, seek with AAM enabled (if applicable), and seek with AAM disabled.

Desktop Hard Drive Comparatives:


The WD Red series is a fine addition to Western Digital's cadre of low power desktop drives. Though designed to overcome the shortcomings of the Caviar Green that make them less than suitable for 24-7 use in NAS environments and RAID configurations, they also deliver reductions in power consumption and noise. Both the 3TB and 1TB version are the most energy efficient and quiet models we've tested in their respective capacities. Seek noise is almost nonexistent and vibration levels are excellent.

Performance-wise the 1TB model is nothing to write home about, more or less equivalent in speed to your typical 5,400 RPM desktop drive. The 3TB variant however, is much faster, outclassing older 7200 RPM models like the 2TB WD Caviar Black and Seagate Barracuda XT in our real world application tests. If you want it all — performance, a minimal noise footprint, and a respectable amount of capacity, the WD Red 3TB is about as good as it gets, at least for a single, one-drive fits all solution. It doesn't compare to a solid-state drive or the latest 1TB VelociRaptor but it's speedy enough that you'd be hard pressed to notice the difference compared to a standard 7,200 RPM model.

At US$180, the WD Red 3TB is easily the better choice over the Caviar Green 3TB. The Green sells for $10 less but is inferior in every measurable category. The Red isn't the cheapest 3TB model though as the 7,200 RPM Seagate Barracuda 3TB can be found for under US$150 at some e-tailers. The Red 3TB might not be as fast but it's definitely quieter, more energy efficient, supports TLER, and has a three year of warranty rather than one; for some users, this is enough to make up for the price difference.

For US$100, the WD Red 1TB offers much of the same as the 3TB variant except that its performance is decidedly lackluster. It's not very fast but it is the quietest, more energy efficient 3.5 inch drive we've ever tested, period, perfect for a simple storage/NAS drive. It carries only a $10 premium over most 1TB drives but the problem is 1TB drives in general have poor capacity to cost ratios to begin with. We imagine many consumers would skip the Red 1TB in favor of the Red 2TB for an extra $30.

Many thanks to Western Digital for the Red 3TB and Red 1TB samples.

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WD Red 3TB wins the SPCR Editor's Choice

WD Red 1TB is Recommended by SPCR

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

ADATA XPG SX910 128GB Solid State Drive
WD VelociRaptor 1TB and Scorpio Blue 500GB
Icy Dock 2.5"/3.5" Drive Accessories
Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 2TB Hard Drive
Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer
Seagate Barracuda 3TB: 1TB Platter Behemoth

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