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WD Red 6TB and 1TB (2.5-inch) Hard Drives

WD Red 6TB and 2.5-inch Red 1TB HDDs

September 2, 2014 by Lawrence Lee

Product
WD Red 6TB

3.5" Hard Drive
WD Red 1TB

2.5" Hard Drive
Manufacturer
Western Digital
Street Price
US$300 US$80

The launch of Western Digital's Red line of hard drives is a notable water mark in in the history of PC storage. Essentially, WD took the popular Caviar Green series, which had helped bring affordable high capacity and energy efficient drives to the masses, and optimized the firmware for 24x7 operation and better compatibility in RAID/NAS devices for the growing SOHO and consumer markets. Up to that point, the best option for this type of usage was overkill: Pricey, high performance Enterprise models. WD helped create a whole new category of desktop storage and the rest of the industry (namely Seagate) followed suit.



The WD Red 1TB (2.5 inch) and 6TB.



Undersides.

The Red drives we're going to examine today come in starkly different form factors. The Red 6TB is more of what we've seen before, the latest high capacity desktop flagship for users with limited drive bays who want to maximize their storage potential. The drive features 1.25TB platters, 64MB of cache, and NASware 3.0. WD claims the new firmware version improves reliability, performance, and includes optimizations for larger NAS setups (up to 8 drives).

The second drive is a 2.5 inch model that is somewhat confusingly called the Red 1TB (there's a desktop version with the same name). Despite its form factor, it's not meant for use in notebooks but is rather targeted at a relatively new segment of ultra small/slim NAS devices. The idea behind it is actually more interesting than the drive itself. It's a standard 9.5 mm thick drive with a pair of 500GB platters (notebook drives seem to have stalled at this 1TB configuration for some time now), 16MB of cache, and running the older 2.0 firmware.



Closer look at the Red 6TB.

In our Seagate's Enterprise Class 6TB review, we remarked on how its large casing was almost flush with the controller board due to its six 1TB platters. The Red 6TB by comparison isn't quite as chunky, though the recess on the underside is not as pronounced as lower capacity versions. Fewer platters also results in a lighter product, with the 6TB model weighing 730 grams (vs. the Seagate's 780 grams) according to our measurements. The 1TB version tipped the scales at 110 grams, which unsurprisingly, is more or less the same as other 1TB notebook models.



Labels.

According to the labels, the 6TB and 1TB samples rolled off the assembly line in July 2014 and August 2013 respectively.


WD Red 6TB & 1TB Specifications

(from the product line data sheet)
Model number WD60EFRX WD10JFCX
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s
Formatted capacity 6 TB 1 TB
Form factor 3.5-inch 2.5-inch
Max. data transfer rate 175 MB/s 144 MB/s
Cache 64 MB 16 MB
Rotational speed IntelliPower
Avg. power requirements
(read/write / idle / standby/sleep)
5.3 / 3.4 / 0.4 W 1.4 / 0.6 / 0.2 W
Avg. acoustics, idle / seek 25 / 28 dBA 24 / 25 dBA
Physical dimensions
(H x L x W)
1.028 x 5.787 x 4 in

26.1 x 147 x 101.6 mm
0.374 x 3.94 x 2.75 in

9.5 x 100.2 x 69.85 mm
Weight 1.65 lb

0.75 kg
0.25 lb

0.115 kg
MTBF 1,000,000 hours
Limited warranty 3 years

As usual, WD plays coy with the rotational speed in the specifications but we've confirmed all previous members of the Red family have a rotational speed of 5400 RPM and we expect these two drives to be no different. The rest of the numbers seem par for the course, though the power consumption figures stand out as particularly optimistic.

Reliability is one of the key selling points for the Red series and WD's strategy for inspiring confidence includes a 3 year warranty and 24x7 support. They also claim the Red line has an exceptional MTBF (mean time before failure) of 1,000,000 hours (a 35% bump over standard models).

TESTING

Our samples were tested according to our standard
hard drive testing methodology
. As of mid-2008, we have been conducting
most acoustics tests in our
own 10~11 dBA anechoic chamber
, which results in more accurate, lower SPL
readings than before, especially with sub-20 [email protected] devices.

Two forms of hard drive noise are measured:

  1. Airborne acoustics
  2. Vibration-induced noise.

These two types of noise impact the subjective
perception of hard drive noise differently depending on how and where the drive
is mounted.

Both forms of noise are evaluated objectively and
subjectively. Airborne acoustics are measured in our anechoic chamber using a lab reference
microphone and computer audio measurement system
. Measurements are taken at a distance of one meter from the top
of the drive using an A-weighted filter. Vibration noise is rated on a scale
of 1-10 by comparing against our standard reference drives.

As of late-2011, we have been conducting performance testing. A combination of timed real-world tests is used to represent a workload of common activities for a boot drive including loading games, running disk-intensive applications, copying files, and installing programs. Synthetic tests are also run to better judge the performance across the entire span of the drive.

Summary of primary HDD testing tools:

Key Components in LGA1155 Heatsink Test Platform:

Real World Performance Test Tools:

Real World Benchmark Details:

  • Boot: Time elapsed between pressing the power button to the desktop and the Windows start sound playing (minus the time for an average SSD to get to the "loading Windows" screen, 12 seconds on our test system)
  • COD5: Combined load time for the "Breaking Point" and "Black Cats" levels.
  • Far Cry 2: Load time for one level.
  • ExactFile: Creating a MD5 check file of our entire test suite folder.
  • TrueCrypt: Creating a 10GB encrypted file container.
  • 3DMark Vantage: Install time, longest interval between prompts.
  • PowerDVD 10: Install time, longest interval between prompts.
  • Small File Copy: Copy time for a variety of small HTML, JPEG, MP3, ZIP, and EXE files.
  • Large File Copy: Copy time for 4 AVI files, 2 x 700MB and 2 x 1400MB
    in size.

A final caveat: As with most reviews, our comments
are relevant to the samples we tested. Your sample may not be identical. There
are always some sample variances, and manufacturers also make changes without
telling everyone.

Ambient conditions at time of testing were 10.5 dBA and 20~23°C.

Synthetic Performance

We start off with synthetic tests results. They don't tell the whole story of course, but it's a quick and dirty way of gauging relative performance between drives and of course, it's easily reproducible by our readers at home.

HD Tune



HD Tune main benchmark: WD Red 6TB.



HD Tune main benchmark result graph: WD Red 1TB.






With an average result of ~130 MB/s in sequential transfer speed, the Red 6TB showed a remarkable improvement over the 4TB model, falling just short of the Seagate NAS HDD 4TB. 2.5 inch drives are in a lower class performance-wise, but the Red 1TB stayed ahead of both the Scorpio Blue 1TB and Momentus XT 500GB, an early hybrid drive from Seagate. With average access times above 16 ms, latency was poor for both drives.

CrystalDiskMark



CrystalDiskMark benchmark results. WD Red 6TB on the left, 1TB on the right.






Both drives were best in class when it came to random performance with a 512K block size, but with 4K blocks, things got more interesting. Slow writes brought the 6TB model down a few notches, while the 1TB variant pulled ahead, matching the average read/write performance of the 7200 RPM WD Se 4TB and the WD Red 4TB.

Real World Performance

Our real world performance testing begins with a Windows 7 image, loaded with our test suite, being cloned to a 50GB partition
at the beginning of each drive. The suite is run start to finish three times with a defragmentation (except for SSDs and hybrid drives) and reboot
between runs.
Average times were collected for comparison.

Loading performance was one of the Red 6TB's biggest strengths, with it placing just behind the Momentus XT hybrid drive. For the 1TB model, gaming loading times were not too bad but booting from a cold start took a brutal 52 seconds. Notebook drives, particularly 5400 RPM models, are notoriously slow at these types of tests.

The Red 6TB also excelled at our application tests, especially the ExactFile test, which helped it produce the best overall results ever for a mechanical hard drive. The Red 1TB was also impressive, finishing superbly for a 2.5 inch model.

The Red 6TB was strong in our file copy tests as well, posting a modest improvement over the 4TB model. The Red 1TB was much slower, but it chewed up the other 2.5 inch drives compared; it completed the small file copy test in less than half the time of the Momentus XT.

Our installation tests are characterized by very tight results, often with margins of fractions of a second. Here, both drives performed admirably for their respective classes.

To get a sense of the overall performance of the drives, we've given each model a proportional score in each real world benchmark series (loading, application, file copying, and installation), with each set equally weighted. The scale has been adjusted so that a completely average performing drive would score 100 points.

With this scoring system, the both Red drives appear to be fine additions to the pantheon. The 6TB scored 122.6, giving it a a 9% advantage over its smaller 4TB brother, and putting it almost on par with the Se 4TB from WD's Enterprise lineup. The 1TB model is considerably slower but for a notebook sized drive, it acquitted itself nicely, blowing away its older Scorpio Blue cousin. The Momentus XT couldn't keep up either, even with its Flash memory cache and 7200 RPM motor.

Power Consumption

The Red series have also proven to be masters of energy efficiency and the 6TB model continues this tradition. The 6TB variant used 0.4W more than the 4TB model at idle, but there was 0.8W reduction when seeking. Power consumption was also less than 60% that of the Seagate Enterprise Class 6TB drive. Meanwhile, the 2.5 inch 1TB model was unremarkable in this metric; it used about the same amount of power as the Scorpio Blue 1TB.

We also found that the Red 6TB did not head-park, a strategy used by many "green" and notebook hard drives to lower power consumption after a certain period of idleness. Interestingly, we found that the 1TB model's head-parking feature didn't kick-in until an inordinate amount of time had past, about 50 seconds, much longer than most. The power savings was a mere 0.13W, a drop in the bucket for any NAS.

Acoustics

A look at the frequency analysis reveals a strong tone at ~90 Hz, confirming that both drives spin close to 5400 RPM. For their respective form factors and capacities, they're very quiet drives. At idle, the 6TB drive measured 14~15 [email protected], while the 1TB drive generated 1 dB less. The acoustics emitted by both drives was pleasant but the 2.5 inch drive had a more noticeable, hollow whoosh-type sound. This was balanced out by almost imperceptible seeks that barely raised the overall SPL. The 6TB model exhibited strong, clearly audible seeks, though like most "green" drives, the tone was not as sharp/annoying as most higher RPM drives.

The vibration level on both drives was excellent, with each scoring an 8 on our subjective scale. This was particularly impressive for the Red 6TB as the Seagate 6TB drive we reviewed recently was atrocious in this department (though it is a 7200 RPM model).

Comparison Charts: Environmental Characteristics

1TB+ DESKTOP HARD DRIVES
Drive

Mfg date

firmware version
Vibration

1-10

(10 = no vibration)
Activity State

Airborne Acoustics

([email protected])

Measured

Power

WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EARS

August 2010

firmware 01.00A01
9
Idle
12~13
2.8 W (2.4 W heads parked)
Seek
6.5 W
WD Red 1TB
WD10EFRX-68JCSN0

June 2012

firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
12~13
2.9 W
Seek
4.1 W
Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB HD204UI

August 2010

firmware 1AQ10001
7
Idle
13
4.0 W
Seek
15
5.6 W
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EVDS-63T3B0

February 2009

firmware 01.00A01
8~9
Idle
13~14
3.9 W
Seek
6.5 W
WD Red 3TB
WD30EFRX-68AX9N0


June 2012

firmware 80.00A80
9
Idle
13~14
3.6 W
Seek
4.9 W
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADS

February 2009

firmware 01.00A01
7
Idle
14
2.8 W (2.4 W heads parked)
Seek
13~14
6.5 W
Hitachi Deskstar
7K1000.C 1TB HDS721010CLA332


February 2010

firmware JP4OA39C
5
Idle
13
4.6 W
Seek (AAM)
15~16
6.4 W
Seek
17
9.6 W
WD Caviar Green 3TB WD30EZRS

September 2010

firmware 01.00A01
8
Idle
14~15
4.1 W (3.7 W heads parked)
Seek
7.5W
WD Red 4TB
WD40EFRX-68WT0N0


August 2013

firmware 80.00A80
8~9
Idle
15
4.0 W (3.2 W heads parked)
Seek
15~16
6.2 W
Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 2TB HDS5C3020ALA632

April 2011

firmware 580
7
Idle
14~15
4.1W
Seek
15
5.6 W
Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB ST2000DL003

November 2010

firmware CC31
8
Idle
14~15
4.6 W
Seek
17~18
7.3 W
WD Red 6TB
WD60EFRX-68MYMN1

July 2014

firmware 82.00A8
8
Idle
14~15
4.4 W
Seek
18
5.4 W
WD Caviar Blue 1TB WD10EALS-002BA0

August 2010

firmware 05.01D05
7
Idle
14
5.2 W
Seek (AAM)
16~17
6.6 W
Seek
20
8.2 W
Seagate NAS HDD 4TB ST4000VN000-1H4168

September 2013

firmware SC43
7~9
Idle
15
4.8 W (4.1 W heads parked)
Seek
16~17
5.5 W
Seagate Barracuda 3TB ST3000DM001-9YN166

November 2011

firmware CC47
8
Idle
16
6.4 W

(5.6 W after 30 secs)

(3.9 W after 50 secs)
Seek
16~17
9.9 W
WD Se 4TB WD4000F9YZ-09N20L0

October 2013

firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
16
8.1 W
Seek
18~19
9.7 W
Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 2TB HDS723020BLA642

August 2011

firmware MNGOA5C0
5
Idle
17
5.3 W
Seek
18
7.8 W
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB ST32000651AS

May 2010

firmware CC13
7~8
Idle
17
7.0 W
Seek
18~19
7.9 W
WD VelociRaptor 1TB WD1000DHTZ-04N21V0

March 2012

firmware 04.06A00
7
[bare]

Idle
[16~17]

18
4.0 W
[bare]

Seek
[27]

32
5.3 W
Seagate Enterprise Class 3.5 HDD v4 6TB ST6000NM0024-1HT17Z

May 2014

firmware SN02
3
Idle
19~20
7.5 W
Seek
20~21
9.2 W

Compared to the other high capacity 3.5 inch drives we've reviewed over the past few years, the Red 6TB lands somewhere in the middle in terms of noise, though it's one of the quieter drives if you discount how it sounds during seeks. Wwe certainly wouldn't complain considering how much capacity it offers.

NOTEBOOK HARD DRIVES
Drive

Mfg date

firmware version
Vibration

1-10

(10 = no vibration)
Activity State

Airborne Acoustics

([email protected])

Measured

Power

WD Scorpio Blue 500GB WD5000LPVT-22G33T0

March 2012

firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
12
0.79 W (0.69 W heads parked)
Seek
14~15
1.65 W
WD Red 1TB
WD10JFCX-68N6GN0

August 2013

firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
13~14
0.92 W (0.79 W heads parked)
Seek
14
1.95 W
Seagate Momentus XT 500GB ST95005620AS

June 2010

firmware SD22
7
Idle
13~14
1.34 W (1.16 W heads parked)
Seek
14~15
2.08 W
Hitachi Travelstar
5K500.B 500GB


February 2009

firmware PB4OC60G
8
Idle
14
0.7 W (0.6 W heads parked)
Seek
15
2.2 W
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB ST9500420AS

March 2009

firmware 0002SDM1
7
Idle
14
1.1 W (0.9 W heads parked)
Seek
15
2.35 W
Seagate Momentus
750GB ST9750420AS

October 2010

firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
15
1.06 W (0.85 W heads parked)
Seek
15~16
2.60 W
WD Scorpio Blue 1TB WD10JPVT-00A1YT0

July 2011

firmware 01.01A01
8
Idle
15
0.89 W (0.75 W heads parked)
Seek
16
1.86 W
WD Scorpio Blue 640GB WD6400BEVT

September 2009

firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
15~16
0.87 W (0.74 W heads parked)
Seek
16
1.95 W
WD Scorpio Black 750GB WD7500BPKT

November 2010

firmware 01.01A01
7
Idle
16
1.18 W (1.01 W heads parked)
Seek
16~17
2.28 W
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB ST9500325ASG

February 2009

firmware 0001SDM1
8
Idle
16
0.8 W (0.65 W heads parked)
Seek
18
2.2 W

We don't have many modern 2.5 inch drives to compare to the Red 1TB, but it's one of the quietest we've ever tested. At 13~14 [email protected] it's only 2~3 dB away from our anechoic chamber's noise floor, so it should be tough to beat acoustically.

AUDIO RECORDINGS

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 5 to 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:

Notebook Hard Drive Comparatives:

FINAL THOUGHTS

WD Red 6TB

There's very little to dislike about the WD Red 6TB. It generated excellent results in most of our performance tests, especially compared to other sub-7200 RPM models. It's a fairly fast drive, both as a bulk storage repository and as an O/S drive. Its energy efficiency is exceptional; it uses about the same amount of power as some 4TB models. As for acoustics, idle noise is superb, but seeks are louder than we're used to seeing from the Red line, though this is easily forgivable when you take its capacity into consideration.

The Red 6TB is currently selling for about US$300, almost the same price as cheapest 6TB model, the WD Green. Even if NASware holds no appeal to you, the price difference is negligible and you get an extra year of warranty and 24x7 support. The only question is whether you should be shopping for a 6TB drive at all, as they don't offer much bang-for-your-buck. If the number of available drive bays isn't an issue, 3TB, 4TB, and 5TB drives all offer a much better value.

WD Red 1TB (2.5 inch)

The 2.5 inch version of the WD Red 1TB is being marketed as a niche product, an extension of the Red series to a more compact form factor for the few small, slim NAS devices on the market. Its a perfect fit for these types of products but we can't see this genre blowing up. Space has be at an extreme premium to make it worthwhile over a traditionally sized NAS.

In any event, this smaller 1TB drive is equally as impressive as the larger 6TB model, performing admirably for a 2.5 inch variant, and producing barely any noise. While it's not intended for SFF PCs like a NUC or notebooks, we don't see any downside for its use in either scenario. Priced at US$80, it's only about $10 more expensive than competing 1TB notebook drives and thus should warrant serious consideration.

Many thanks to Western Digital for the WD Red 6TB and 1TB hard drive samples.



WD Red 6TB
and Red 1TB (2.5 inch) receive the SPCR Editor's Choice Award

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Seagate Enterprise Class v4 6TB Hard Drive

QNAP TurboNAS TS-469L 4-Bay NAS Server

HP Proliant MicroServer Gen8

Seagate NAS HDD 4TB


Western Digital Red 4TB & Se 4TB Hard Drives

Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives

* * *

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