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WD Red 3TB Boxshot1

WD Red WD30EFRX 3 TB NAS HDD Review

  1. Introduction
  2. Specifications and Closer Look
  3. Test Bench and Methodology
  4. AS SSD Benchmark
  5. ATTO Benchmark
  6. AIDA64 Sequential Access Time
  7. Boot Load Test
  8. CrystalDiskMark Benchmark
  9. HD Tune Pro Benchmark
  10. Transfer Tests
  11. PCMark Vantage and 7 HDD Suite Benchmarks
  12. Conclusion
  13. View All

WD came up with a newer line-up of hard drives “Red” suitable for 24/7 for NAS drives.

Since a lot of personal and SOHO NAS was featured in this year’s Computex, storage drives made specifically for NAS operations was something that was present in Enterprise Series. Consumer? Well, they had Blue, Green and Black. If you’re reading this and you are using for NAS, it is a no-brainer that you have used one of these drives for NAS.

To refresh one’s memory, a few years ago WD reorganized their branding by using Blue, Green and Black.  The black colour is noted for performance, Green is usually for low power consumption and being cool (although in the ambient temperature of 28-32 degrees, WD Greens do touch 40 degrees as a norm for very long time) and Blue is in the middle, pitched towards mainstream users. Red is NAS optimized.

One of the key differences is that one would/should/could/will bother is NASware, the firmware that WD says is optimized for NAS.

WD has this error recovery feature that’s usually present in enterprise storage optimized for 24/7 operation (along with multiple features in Enterprise Storage that has no use for end users unless you’re doing a lot of hot-swapping while under operation) called TLER- Time Limited Error Recovery (other brands uses a different terminology). TLER corrects the corrupted data while still in RAID mode.One point to keep in mind is that, depending on the NAS drive that you use if TLER is unable to repair very complex errors within few seconds to the RAID system where the NAS controllers take care of it (I think pretty much all personal NAS use software level RAID to keep the cost low, maybe some SOHO use Hardware level RAID). If the RAID system is unable to correct it, you get an error message in your NAS OS. When you press Retry, the Hard drive’s TLER gives it the first drive and if cannot work out, the controller on the NAS kicks in. In any case, WD’s TLER runs in Software Level RAID and Hardware Level RAID.

WD Red 3TB Boxshot1

As WD pointed out, Hard drives with TLER tries to correct a complex error on its own since it assumes that there is a redundant storage array running in the background. Difference between does some level of error correction in the background of the drive and TLER is that TLER is more optimized for the RAID. There’s also a chance that RAID systems with NON-TLER drives interpret an error when HDD is not able to hand over the error correction to the RAID controller. In this scenario and in this day of age, it is not very practical to mix and match hard drives with non TLER support with NAS, NAS controllers with Rev versions varying from time to time. With this, you save the headache of doing that- or that’s how it should be for NAS optimized drives.

Another feature to note is the ATA streaming command that optimizes video streaming performance- for example, if there’s a bad block and you’re streaming video from the NAS storage with these drives, it continues to stream the video to you rather than spending the time to correct the bad block.

I was told that Seagate’s SV35 does have ATA Streaming command support (not sure if it has Error correction support) but as of now- and as far what I’ve been told- SV35 is not available in India officially.

What I am curious is that how will it differentiate the files and videos of any format. What I am also curious is that the playback you would get if the bad block is in the video- but I guess it depends on the bad block rather than on the Drive or the NAS.

They are also made to stay cool and they do stay cool.

During one of the shorter Stress Testing that I do with HDD and SSD (SSD is a lot quicker than it makes me squeal when stress testing with HDD) with Anvil Endurance Test which basically writes the Data multiple times, depending on how you’ve set. In an ambient temperature of 29 degrees, the drive inside the closed system (Corsair C 70 Gaming Chassis) with WD Velociraptor on top and A single 320gigs WD Blue 320GB drive and 3 WD Green drives that I use (Yeah, it stays on most of the time, but I usually use it to read data rather than Write- I know, I know- I “should” really think of switching something like WD Red does). The lowest temperature on WD Red is 32 – 33 Degrees Celsius on idle, and highest it touch during write is 35 during a host write done by Anvil Endurance Testing.

WD Red 3TB CDI IdleWD Red 3TB CDI Load

Remember, this is a 3TB drive with a 1TB per platter. While other drives do have a knack for staying above 35 even on idle, This stays well below that.

The best way to test this would be to connect to a NAS drive and do series of other tests, especially via Ethernet connection. I really try to prevent saying it, but since I do not have a NAS drive and couple of more system (to stress testing playback in one system during read/write access to/from multiple systems would be perhaps one of the best ways to test such drives).

BUT…

As it turns out that Digit- one of the magazines in India for reviews and many stuff (I never read it read one of those magazines since the late 90s- whoops!) would be sending a Synology DS112J – and I’ll be keeping it after review (maybe get a DS112J+ if things go well). Once I get it, NAS performance on a personal NAS is also going to be one of the tests that I will include- even maybe for USB 3.0 drives. I would really like to test the Synology unit with NAS, although I have to be honest and say that while I do know some stuff about NAS and RAID, I’ll get to learn things better only when I get to spend time with it, provided I have my game face on!

Much appreciated from Digit and Synology.

The WD Red WD30EFRX 3TB drive uses SATA III interface with 64MB Cache. A 3TB drive that comes with 1TB per platter drive.

WD Red 3TB product Specification

WD Red 3TB frontWD Red 3TB Rear

As usual, the drives with all the information you’ll need+ QR Code that a lot of manufacturers irrespective of the hardware are implementing. This is a 3 TB drive with 64MB Cache made in Malaysia manufactured on 28th June 2012. As it clearly says, it comes with NASware firmware.

WD Red 3TB PCB 1

After removing 4x security Torx screws, there’s a foam with thermal pad taped in the middle to reduce Vibration between the drive and the PCB. Thermal pads are used to aid in heat dissipation.

Below the pad comes with the following:

WD Red 3TB PCB 2WD Red 3TB PCB 3

The PCB has Micron 88i9346-TFJ2 controller with 64MB Hynix DDR2 for Cache. Do note that the WD 3TB Green WD30EZRS that I’ve tested a long time ago came with DDR Cache.

It gives me great pleasure and a relief to mention this every time I put up a review. In a country where you get minimum hardware support from the manufacturers to review their own products and others on behalf of the readers, its some companies such as Asus, Gigabyte, Kingston, Western Digital and Coolermaster who give me hardware support by updating my test rig no strings attached. Thumbs up to these guys!


I would like to thank

  • Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte 890GPA UD3H Rev 1.0 motherboard
  • Asus India for providing Asus 990FX Sabertooth motherboard
  • Kingston Taiwan for providing hardware support with memory kits and SSD drive.
  • WD India for providing WD 300GB HLFS Velociraptor Hard Drive.
  • Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply

 

Test Setup for: WD Red 3.0TB SATA III Drive (WD30EFRZX)
Motherboard+ Processor Gigabyte 890GPAUD3H Rev 1.0+ AMD 965BE
Memory Kingston KHX1600C9D3P1K28G HyperX Genesis 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII
Primary OS drive WD 3000HLFS Velociraptor 300GB/WD 320GB BLUE 320AAJS
Power Supply Corsair TX750
Chassis Corsair C-70

The Benchmarks that I am using are as follows:

AS SSD– Read and Write (Pass 3)

ATTO Test File Size= 0.5 to 8MB- Read and Write Pass 3

Aida64 Write and Read Access time File Size 64KB Pass 3

Boot Load Test (Windows 7 SP1 clean installation with AMD 12.6 drivers+ AHCI drivers pre-installed with Utorrent, Avira Security Suite, Asus Xonar DX+ 7.12.8.1794 Drivers, Netgear WG111 Wireless Lan USB drive software as start-up items) Pass 1-5 (Pass 1= System start from Power Off)

Transfer Tests: 1.34GB Assorted Photos transfer Test, 11.34 ISO File Transfer Test, 1.27GB Compressed Data File Transfer Test and 98.39 Assorted Movies Folder Transfer Test with TeraCopy

CrystalDisk Benchmark with Pass 3, each with 5 re-runs 1000MB File Size

HDtune Pro Write and Read Pass 3

PCMark 7 HDD test

PCMark Vantage HDD Test

Anvil Benchmark: 4/16/32GB File Size in both 0% and 100% Fill test

Although this drive is used for AS SSD, the tests in these give a good idea of Sequential, 4K Aligned, 4K Aligned with 64Bit thread test and the Access time of the hard drive. It uses incompressible data.

WD Red 3TB AS SSD

Access Times for both Read and Write doesn’t really look very encouraging. Then again, it is not designed to be a drive primarily for a boot drive.

WD Red 3TB AS SSD Read Graph

WD Red 3TB AS SSD Write Graph

WD Red 3TB ATTO

WD Red 3TB ATTO Read Graph

WD Red 3TB ATTO Write Graph

WD Red 3 TB does seem to have an advantage over smaller File size transfers against other drives, even in comparison to Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB and WD Green 3TB EZRS Drive that I’ve evaluated before.

This is a test that I used to do it and then discontinued it for a while.

WD Red 3TB AIDA Read Access

WD Red 3TB AIDA Write Access

Recording Boot Times gives you a good idea of how quick the drive really is and to see first hand if its good enough to be used as a boot drive. This is useful since it shouldn’t be surprising since Blue Series drives and Seagate’s 7200.12 RPM drives have a habit disappearing and re-appearing regularly depending on the capacity and since the Mechanical Drive prices have gone crazy (not to mention that although SSD prices have slashed down considerably within 8 months at the time of writing a decent enough 120gig drive is not always enough to be used). People also have a habit of buying a large hard drive for Primary and Secondary storage- and having more than 1 partitions. This will also give those people a good idea as well so that they can make their purchase decisions accordingly.

WD Red 3TB Boot Load

WD30EFRX and WD30EZRS have the most curves in this test. Surprisingly, after the 3rd pass, there is an almost 10-second drop in boot load speed, even going below Seagate Barracuda XT. WD 600GB’s HLHX Velociraptor is the lowest of all amongst the mechanical drive put up in this graph.

CrystalDiskMark is set to random (incompressible data) and tests Sequential, 512K, 4KB without and WITH Queue Depth of 64MB/Sec.

WD Red 3TB CDM

WD Red 3TB CDM Read

WD Red 3TB CDM Write

WD Red 3TB goes head-to-head with Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB Performance wise in a Sequential test, but there is a slight advantage the Red counterpart has in 512K Random Write Test.

WD Red 3TB HD Tune Pro Read

WD Red 3TB HD Tune Pro Write

HD Tune reports the most lowest Access Time this drive can achieve compared to the other tests done.

WD Red 3TB HD Tune Pro Read Graph

WD Red 3TB HD Tune Pro Write Graph

Since the drive’s performance made it obvious that this is more of a drive meant for lower file transfer and Sequential transfers, this test will give a better look at how fast this drive can perform.

WD Red 3TB transfer Test Table

WD Red 3TB transfer Test graph

WD Red 3TB takes a little bit lesser time to transfer data- whether its ISO, Zipped or uncompressed- provided the file size is smaller. As you can see, transferring very large and uncompressed folders with 98.39GB of data stacked in random folders takes more time compared to other drives with 3TB capacity.

PCMark Vantage and PCMark 7 are brilliant hardware performance Benchmark tool that gives a very good idea of how the system performs overall. Both PC Mark Vantage and 7 have a dedicated HDD Test Suite. Both tests give a very good Real World Test scenario as the tests are divided into types of uses. such as application load, Windows Defender and Video Editing few more tests.

WD Red 3TB PCM Vantage HDD Suite

WD Red 3TB PCM 7 HDD Suite

I really wanted to compare PCM Vantage and 7 HDD suite scores with this drive to see where do they both stand in near Real Life tests. But the benchmarks in previous pages makes it obvious that this drive more of a 1up version of WD Green+ cooler in Idle and Load even in close pc case condition and optimized for NAS, judging by the features it’s offering. To be honest, I am more curious to test this unit on a NAS storage to see how they REALLY work under certain test condition.

It is not surprising. WD didn’t say its meant for performance. All they said is that its made for NAS systems and its cooler- and it does both. That’s the key selling point of this drive- networked storage with a feature that you see only in Enterprise drives that are unrealistically expensive for many types of end users. I am rating this drive because this drive is good for NAS systems- but that’s it. The true comparison would be installed in NAS and see how they really work.

I was hoping this drive would be more like “WD Blue+ NAS optimized” drive because people need a good hard drive that can store and be used as a primary OS drive with a partition where they dump their stuff in. You will need error correction and ATA streaming if you’re going to access a lot from your NAS.

But here’s the reality of things:

I know WD is not expecting this drive to be a primary drive (or else the performance would have at least been similar to WD Blue Series), but WD already knows that the mechanical storage drive prices are choked that it is affecting a lot of users- and OEM companies. Not everybody gets a large mechanical HDD and then uses it for everyone either- but a lot of people do because they it practical than having a smaller drive for OS and then a large drive for storage dump Also, the mass do not find it feasible to spend a good amount of money on 60/64/90gig SSD- it is not just the money, but the space it offers. Some SSD drives show hiccups in certain tests- depending on firmware, flash NAND and controller being used. Mechanical Storage drives are more like “raw materials” for one to put a system together. If you look at things, mSATA isn’t really raising any eyebrows around.

Okay- so I am whining. But so are people who think that spending so much on a 64GB SSD- no matter how good they are.

This is all the more reason I would really like to see 2.5″ drives such as WD Scorpio Blue 1TB JPVT should have significantly lower cost than the MRP (and I hope the street prices aren’t close to MRP)- and it should be available easily. Not too long ago, someone compared the HDD business scene with how cement business is in India. There was a time when many companies and agencies manufacture cement and then smaller guys were bought by the bigger guys and then they were bought by a bigger entity. Over the years, prices of cement have also increased insanely high. I’ve told this to a lot of people and many gave a nod- power users to dealers. A few decades from now, assuming that something ground-breaking and more feasible than SSD doesn’t pop up, SSD might go the same road, but then- we all would probably turn too old to remember.

But, as of now- reality is that in long-term, mechanical hard drive’s future is in NAS storage. Personal NAS might be inevitable especially with NAS units as small as WD MyBook itself. There are many from NAS manufacturers that were featured in this year’s Computex. This is a good start and this is a fitting drive for Network Storage.

India U.S. U.K.
$192.81  £177

The Red Series comes with 3 Years Warranty Period

One comment

  1. Very good review. And I’m particularly impressed with WD red in terms of its performance. Price is a bit steep but that happens with product just after launching.

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