Some thoughts on hard drives (opinions)
RED WD HDD's certainly has a nice niche in it's targeted consumer category. If I was building a low power pre-fabricated NAS box WD RED drives would be near the top of my list because of cool and quiet operations, long warranty, and great vibration resistance. I think they are idea for that application, and not ill suited for home media servers either. The longer warranty and street prices near WD greens, newer design (1TB platters) and higher performance make them a good choice over WD GREEN- especially since WD recommends them for those purposes and does not recommend GREEN. I never suggested or pretended otherwise. I'd consider RED WD drives personally if I found them under $40 per TB, or on par with the pricing of the better Seagate 7200.14's.
I think your missing the point I am making that the Seagate is a do it all drive with clear advantages in performance that's not well represented by Asassin or in the intention of this thread; Even more is that Seagate also holds a significant advantage in price which is usually paramount in any purchase decision and they are not at all ill suited for use in a HTPC, PC, mediaserver or NAS box- Making them highly attractive.
I understand completely WD's product strategy. They have differentiated and made specific certain product lines for certain types of applications. This "specialized" approach makes sense if your looking for certain attributes in your drive for very distinct applications. Example being your right about the RED being a fine product for it's intended purpose. But- I am not sure I see the benefit or advantage to this approach. I think it hurts WD and helps Seagate. Seagate uses a one drive for all approach that is very different. It's a good balance on most characteristics, and it's got economies of scale in it's favor.
Here is how I sum up my understanding of the WD line:Black
- High performance. Energy pigs. Equivalent of an older muscle car with a modified supercharged V8 engine. Not going to deliver good gas mileage, and not as efficient in design as newer models- but excellent at it's specialized area. Like a muscle car is good at acceleration, power and speed- A black drive is too- but in seek times. They have overbuilt cache, boards, use 7200rpm and place seek time as a priority. This used to make them great OS drives before SSD stole that market. Today they are still good at seek times, but really do not hold any advantage in sequential speeds like copying a big movie file, making them terrible choices for media servers, and HTPC's. A Seagate 7200.14 is faster in comparision. The high price, high heat, high noise, and high energy consumption makes this drive a poor choice for most in this forum.Blue
- Used to be the bread and butter of WD. The normal 7200rpm drive. Lost much of its thunder these days. Market shifted in 2010 towards the lower heat, noise, and better energy profile of the green 5400rpm drives. In 2010 when we were at 500GB platters- the GREEN drives debuted as newer more efficient designs that could compete on performance, and win on energy profile. Green also had aggressive pricing. Most switched from the older blue's to the newer greens - and rightfully so. Blue has not regained it's former glory in the current day market place.Green
Debuted as an energy saving, low cost, low heat and low noise drive. Found good success in basic storage applications where it's benefits were appreciated. (HTPCS's
) Remains a great choice for basic storage in a PC or HTPC today for the same reasons it always has been. But if we peel away the layers we'll see that 2 years ago Green drives had a higher platter density, newer more modern design and could hang with the 7200rpm drives of yesterday in performance while being better at energy and selling cheaper. Today, opposite is true. They are less advantaged because new 7200rpm drives with even more modern designs and higher density have hit the market taking back the performance advantage and also the price advantage. Two big blows to the viability of Green drives; also the newer 1TB platters and more efficient designs have allowed 7200rpm drive to operate with a better energy profile too making them even more attractive. Green drives are basic storage specific and are not recommended for media servers, NAS boxes or many of the duties storage drives are used for today. The market has shifted from internal bare HDD storage to NAS- with NAS boxes and home servers which typically hold many HDD's. Green drives do not have advanced anti vibration technologies like RED making them a poor choice in those applications. They also have a shorter warranty which sucks. They suffer from TLER issue and should never be used in RAID set ups. Lastly, it is a controversial topic but the green drives have a few power savings features that lower total reliability- specifically in 24/7 applications like NAS boxes and Servers. For this reason- WD does not recomend green drives for those purposes and the change in the market to those purposes was the main reason for the introduction and design of the RED drive line that is recommended for those purposes. The controversial issue the agressive settings in the "intellipark" head parking feature that parks the heads on a green drive after 8 seconds. The idea is to shut down the drive quickly when not in use and save on energy consumption; But this feature has a side effect in 24/7 applications like NAS boxes, File servers, and linux based machines. The side effect is the drive gets subjected to an excessive amount of ON/OFF cycles which causes premature wear and lower endurance. It's not going to die instantly if you use a green drive in a NAS box, linux box, Unraid/ubuntu or a media server- but it's probably not an ideal use for them per WD and MFG recommendations. You can disable this feature with WDidle8 or WDidle3 firmware hack which also removes the "click" of the head parking which is nice for internal HTPC applications if it bothers you. The click is not loud, but it can be annoying.
Here is some info on the WD GREEN head parking and reliability issues:
Straight from WD themselves:If you wanted to know more there is tons more information here: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=WD+Green+head+parking+issue
*disclaimer- My goal is not to disparage or denounce Green drives as I believe they are good choices for their intended and MFG recommended purposes; I just want create some awareness on the specificity of their intended purpose and possible complications of using them outside that purpose.
The newest product line WD offers with a specialized design and recommended purpose for NAS boxes, Mediaservers, 24/7 operations. They do not have the TLER issues of green drives making them much better for these purposes and for any RAID set ups. They are designed and certified for use in server cases, and cages with >5 HDD's and feature advanced anti vibration technologies making them more appropriate solution in such configurations. RED uses the same 5400rpm rotational spindle speed of the GREEN drives making them very attractive on energy profile. RED uses 1TB platters and is a newer design so it's normal to see both energy figures and performance figures superior to Green drives. RED is basically the evolution of the green drive into today's market that has a strong need for NAS, 24/7 media servers and applications that are more common than a few years ago- RED offers a longer warranty which is nice too. They still have the 5400rpm speed so the performance is acceptable but below what you see from a modern 7200rpm design with 1TB platters, making them a good low performance solution.RE and AVG/P
Expensive to the point I'll not make much of these two lines. WD makes a audio/video drive with wear leveling and high endurance for use in DVR and constant video recording applications and also makes many enterprise level drives that do not have head parking or TLER issues and are designed for high endurance in demanding enterprise applications like servers and data RAID set ups. The price of these drives makes them a poor choice for HTPC's and cheap home storage.
That is basically how I'd sum up my personal understanding of WD lines- but I for sure appreciate the singular and simplistic approach of Seagate by comparision.
Seagate has designed a one size fits all drive that tries to balance everything into a very attractive product. Enter the 7200.14. It's a modern design with (3) 1TB platters making it both higher performance AND more energy efficient. It does not have any head parking issues or TLER issues. It's a good solution for internal PC and HTPC storage. It's a great solution for home media server or NAS too. It's faster than 5400rpm drives, it's on par and competitive with energy (something 5 platter older 7200rpm are not) and because of the one size fits all approach it benefits from significant economies of scale and aggressive market pricing making it the highest value HDD. It's typically the lowest cost per TB today ($40 per TB).
Toshiba has a 3TB that has some buzz and the Hitachi drives are very good but use more energy.Edited by Mfusick - 3/4/13 at 12:57pm