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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:
Western Digital Red 4TB
The 3TB and
1TB Red drives we reviewed last year had excellent energy efficiency,
whisper quiet operation, and very low vibration levels. The new 4TB version
is a bit noisier and uses more power but the differences are proportionate to
its higher capacity and it still sounds pretty good. Its performance as a boot/OS
drive is particularly impressive, surpassing older 7,200 RPM drives, and improving
on the Red 3TB variant by about 10% in real world tests.
It's also equipped with firmware specifically to play well in multi-drive NAS/RAID configurations, and has been tested for compatibility with a variety of popular NAS devices. At 3 years, the warranty is also longer than typical as well and Red drives qualify for 24x7 support.
The WD Red 4TB is selling for about US$200, which isn't great in terms
of sheer capacity:cost compared to a typical 3TB model, but for a 4TB eco-friendly
sub-7,200 RPM drive, it's more than fair. Seagate has a similar 4TB NAS drive
on the market for the same price but it lacks the extra support and warranty.
Cheaper models lacking RAID-optimized firmware like the WD Green and Seagate
Desktop 4TB are viable alternatives for basic desktop use, but you don't really
save much, about $10~$30. If we were talking about a US$100 drive,
this would be significant difference but at the much higher price-point, we
have little hesitation recommending paying a bit more.
Western Digital Se 4TB
The WD Se 4TB exhibited exceptional performance, producing the best real world
results we've obtained from a 7,200 RPM drive, beating out the previous generation
10,000 RPM VelociRaptor
600GB. It's not particularly quiet by modern standards but the sound
it produces isn't unpleasant and shouldn't bother the average user. It does
vibrate more than the Red series, and used in a desktop, it would definitely
benefit from suspension. That being said, if used alone as a single drive, it's
probably not worth the bother if the drive cage is well-secured and at least
damped with good rubber grommets.
The Se line is RAID-optimized but it hasn't been tested for consumer NAS operation,
nor does it have day and night support. It does go through a rigorous testing
and burn-in phase to ensure reliability, comes with a 5 year guarantee, and
has a multi-axis shock sensor which allows the drive to take steps to protect
data when shock events occur. While you should always have backups, if you want
peace of mind, this is a pretty solid bet.
The WD Se 4TB can be found for US$260 and surprisingly, despite its
extra features, isn't any more expensive than WD's standard high performance
desktop drive, the WD Black, or most 4TB 7,200 RPM model in general. It's cost-effective
enterprise storage marketed for high-end NAS and data center operation where
performance is key. The speed is overkill for a typical home server or NAS but
it certainly wouldn't be out of place as a standalone performance drive in a
Many thanks to Western Digital for the Red 4TB and Se 4TB
* * *
WD Red 4TB
wins the SPCR Editor's Choice
WD Se 4TB
is Recommended by SPCR
SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives
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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