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Background

You probably have heard of WD's new Red drives by now, which the company says are designed specifically for use in NASes. The primary claim to fame for these drives is improved reliability and broader NAS compatibility than its competitors. Power consumption is lower, too, but not as low as WD's Green drive family. And like WD's Green drives, the Reds' spin rate is lower than 7200 RPM.

WD Consumer hard drive families

WD Consumer hard drive families

If you follow WD's plan, you'll no longer use its Green drives in your NASes. As the chart below suggests, you'll use Reds for consumer NASes and its RE drives for heavier duty / business use.

WD NAS market segment definitions

WD NAS market segment definitions

SNB readers often wonder which drive they should be using in their NASes. Our last stab at this question over five years ago concluded that it didn't make much sense to put high-performance drives in your NAS, at least in hopes of improving NAS performance. At that point, NASes were simply too underpowered to come anywhere near bumping into limits imposed by hard drive performance.

How things have changed in five years! Some of today's NASes built on multi-core Intel processors with multi-gigabytes of RAM easily overrun the bandwidth of even dual aggregated Gigabit Ethernet ports. But by throwing in a 10 GbE adapter, the connection bandwidth limit moves out to 1.25 GB/s, well above the 150 MB/s transfer rates of many of today's even moderate-performance hard drives. WD's SKU chart below shows that Red drives fit this bill with Host to/from buffer throughput of 145 - 150 MB/s.

WD Desktop hard drive spec summary

WD Desktop hard drive spec summary

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