Western Digital RED drives

October 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm Leave a comment

Recently I had time machine fail several times on my main machine. This was not long after I had deleted my previous backup, to start fresh. I use a ReadyNAS and it occasionally seems to have difficulties with Time Machine. Since the backups for this machine were quite large, and extremely important, I decided to try something different. I would go to a dedicated external drive, what Time Machine was designed for. I initially looked at your typical external drives from all the major makers, but was surprised to see that the industry seems to have moved to 1 year warranties for external consumer drives, which is insane.

I recently read a bit about the new RED series of drives built with NAS features but for more budget minded users. My drive of choice for NAS use has been the RE4, but they are awfully expensive. The idea of an affordable drive that could be used in my NAS was attractive. However, one comparison I saw about RED drives wasn’t flattering.

One article essentially painted them (pun intended) as modified GREEN drives. Of course, those drives are a NAS nightmare, with their long timeouts which can cause an entire drive to be dropped out of an array. This article basically said that the RED drives don’t have that fatal flaw, and they don’t over aggressively try to park the heads.

From what I can tell, they use a variable spindle speed, between 5400 and 7200 RPM, so in that respect, they are better. Finally, they have a 3 year warranty.
The reviews I read stated that they were quiet and operated at a low temperature, all pluses for NAS use.

On Newegg, I found a special on the 1TB RED model for 79.99. I got a thermaltake enclosure for another 39. After shipping, it came to about 127.

Yes. I ordered a drive made for NAS use specifically for a standalone drive. Mostly, I wanted to try it out and see if the claims were true, without the big investment in a pack of drives.

It arrived today and I quickly had it installed, hooked to my Mac, and started a time machine backup. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. I could barely hear it at all. After backing up for about 2 hours, I felt the metal of the fan-less drive enclosure, and it was barely warm.

So far I am impressed. Hopefully it will live up to the warranty as well. If so, these drives could replace my RE4s in another 6 months or so.

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