back to article WD sees red, flogs NAS niche drives to SOHO punters

WD has spotted a NAS niche in the SOHO (small office/home office) market and introduced its Red drive specifically for such customers, simultaneously bringing colour-code branding to the fore, ahead of its Caviar and Scorpio brands. The Red hard drives are 1, 2 and 3TB 3.5-inch drives with a 6Gbit/s SATA interface and they are …


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  1. AJ MacLeod

    1 million hours MTBF? Right.

    1. Swisskid

      MTBF Red

      Yes 1 million - Danny, WD Munich

      1. AJ MacLeod

        Re: MTBF Red

        Sorry, that comment probably conveys more to other native English speakers who have worked with reasonable numbers of hard disk drives in the real world for any length of time.

        I am certain that wherever that figure was plucked from (and I do know how MTBF works) it bears absolutely no relation to reality. Quite amazingly convenient sort of number for marketing purposes, isn't it?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £19 for 2TB, sign me up :)

    should be £109?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £19 for 2TB, sign me up :)

      I was assuming that it was the price that made these so attractive to buyers with multiple drive bays to fill.

      2TB certainly seems to be the sweetspot....

    2. Levente Szileszky

      Re: £19 for 2TB, sign me up :)

      Yes, let me have 10 drives, please.

  3. AbortRetryFail

    If they do what they purport to and the street price comes out competitively, then I'd be very interested in these.

    I currently have 4 pretty old WD Caviars at 500Gb capacity in my NAS and am looking to upgrade them.

    1. Captain Scarlet

      If you do

      Make sure your NAS supports the new "advanced" 4k sector format

  4. Preacher

    Cheap as chips

    "..retail prices are £90 for the 1TB drive, £19 for the 2TB one and £159 for the 3TB model."

    I'll have a dozen of the 2TB ones please

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Red means danger

    Something inside me says, "Don't touch these with a barge pole" - perhaps they could have gone with yellow?

    1. Swisskid

      Re: Red means danger

      Our product line is based on providing customers with clear choices when it comes to their storage needs. Our easily identifiable colors eliminate the confusion and make it simple. We believe in the Power of Choice and making the choices easy to understand and differentiate delivers on our commitment to deliver better solutions to the market.

      In the age of connectivity, the color red best reflects the energy, speed, and power associated with movement of data across network attached storage.

      Danny, WD Munich

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Red means danger

        Yes, and I enjoy the greens very much indeed; although the blues have caused a number of issues over the years. However, red ... nature for danger.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Red means danger

        Let me put this another way. My history of using hard drives goes back to when they were twice the size they are now and held 5 meg. If you dropped one on your foot, you'd cause more damage to your toes than you would to the drive.

        Every manufacturer has had its good drives and its bad drives. Unfortunately, there has been no way of telling until the aftermath of the event. This kind of behaviour puts the whole experience down to being one of gut feeling.

        Call me whatever you want ... but let me tell you this ... after twenty years of dealing with hard drives it has come down to one thing ... gut instinct. Colouring a drive red sends out signals to me that mean I won't be touching these with a barge pole for no other reason than they are coloured red. - ESPECIALLY - after WD have reduced their warantee period.

        ... unless they start getting rave reviews, and even then I'll be cautious.

        I've got one 2tb Green winging its way to the WD replacement department as I type. It did last a year and a half, though, and its two bretheren are still spinning.

        Michelle Knight - moron end user - UK.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Red means danger

          Drat. Make that 25 years. Ouch. I feel old all of a sudden.

        2. Old Tom

          Re: Red means danger


          Are you into Feng Shui as well? Seriously, you will avoid this range because they're branded red?

          Though, I guess I wouldn't want to drink Red Bull or Watney's Red Barrel - so maybe you're right.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Red means danger

            Old Tom

            I agree with you on the Red Bull analysis.

            To be honest, I've just bought three 3tb greens at £150 each, so I won't be buying any reds for some times to come. Also, my recent experience with a Buffalo NAS unit means that in future, I'll actively be avoiding pre-built NAS boxes in favour of home built NAS from a PC, probably continuing to use OpenIndiana or else looking in to FreeNAS. (I'm the one with the "I Love ZFS" tee)

            My experience of hard drives is such that each manufacturer is as bad as the other; every manufacturer has their failure lines, and for WD in my humble experience, their blues are terrible. If any new colour comes in to the range, I'm very sceptical of it until it has earned its spurs.

            I have no experience of the blacks.

            So far, the greens have a reasonable return rate, I think my current ratio is 1 in 3-ish returned in, say, one to two years of operation. Their power consumption in my home server is actually quite nice. I don't need blistering performance. I hope the 3tb live up to at least what I got out of two of the 2tb drives (the other one was sent back to WD on Tuesady.)

            HOwever, WD itself have shot themselves in the foot with their revamped web service. I logged a case with them about the drive and, despite saying their response is 1 to 3 days, I was waiting about 7 days before giving up and logging an RMA; and after about a week of not receiving the RMA PDF, I had to telephone them, becuase time was ticking on the RMA. They e-mailed a URL to my RMA PDF while I was on the phone to them. It shouldn't have come to that.

            Before, it was a case of log the RMA, the return ticket was there on the screen for you to print and use. These days, they've really messed it up, and reducing their warantee from three to two years means I put them through even more rigorous testing before inserting them in to a server ... and then I watch them for a number of months before that twitch in the corner of my eye starts to fade.

            If WD have come up with a drive specifically meant for SOHO, then I have to wonder how these drives will perform in real life; ie. how much the knowledge that they will be used in RAID systems has affected the design/cost ratio.

            So after considering all this ... for me, red certainly means danger. I hope you'll forgive me for being a cynic.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: Red means danger

              Ah well, it looks like Danny didn't want to speak up for WD too much :-) If he's anywhere near Ostbahnhoff, there are a good few evening eateries in that area, especially just up Rosenheimer Strausse, if I remember that spelling correctly.

              I don't envy him the marketting line of chatter, but I do envy the ability to get a nice kebab and a weissbier if the weather is good.

              Ah well, we might see him again once he has some performance figures to share ... but I doubt it.

              1. Super Fast Jellyfish

                Re: Munich eats and drinks

                I'd go to the Augustiner Brauhaus on Landsberger Strasse whenever I was over; been a while though...

        3. Return To Sender

          Re: Red means danger


          Ypu, I remember those full height 5.25" 5MB drives. Much fun adding them to early IBM PCs with 3rd-party controllers and external cabs etc.

          I'm with you on the instinct thing. MTBF figures are fairly meaningless in real life, it's the warranty period that matters. You tend to get a feel for which kit to trust in your own environment, and which vendors actually behave themselves on returns. Since the judgement is at least partly subjective, who knows what might affect it.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Red means danger


          Seagate has also been reducing the warranty period of its drives.

          Perhaps they (hard disk companies) are pushing the aftersales support costs onto customers, as the disks manufactured with salvaged equipment in the post-flood Thai factories are perceived to be of crap quality.

          There needs to be a breakthrough in storage technology to relegate magnetic hard disks to obsolescence, just like what happened to floppies. SSDs are not quite there yet.

      3. Steve Knox

        Oh Danny Boy

        Welcome to The Register, and thank you for that excerpt from what I am sure was a very expensive color branding analysis produced by a very prestigious marketing firm.

        It might help you to know that the Register and its associated forums are populated primarily by engineers, geeks, nerds, and jerks like me. Using marketing language is likely to earn you disdain, dislike, disgust, and ridicule, respectively, from those groups.

        Now if you want to get on our good side, start talking about the internal mechanisms of the drive, any remotely related quantum effects (we love quanta!), or how many episodes of Doctor Who can fit on the drive.

        Just don't pick a side in the tablet OS wars. You have been warned.

        1. Swisskid

          Re: Oh Danny Boy

          The pipes the pipes are calling...

          here might be a good starting point Steve:


    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Red means danger

      Michelle, I totally agree. My first, and only, ever purchase of a WD drive with intellipower was a disaster. Worked ok for a year or so then the intellipower circuitry shat itself. Spin up, spin down, spin up, spin down, repeat ad-nauseum. Took me days to copy the data off in order to very against backups. That's when I bought a NAS and I certainly wouldn't be sticking any of these in it. Seagates or Samsungs thanks.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the load cycle count going to be for the drive? Some disks I've used before have increased at a very rapid rate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What's the load cycle count going to be for the drive? Some disks I've used before have increased at a very rapid rate."

      I assume that this is one of the features that will differentiate the Red drives from the Green ones.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Previously users and suppliers building such systems – like Synology, Thecus and Dobo – could use desktop drives that don't have the reliability needed but are low-cost"

    .... also WD have sold NASes .... wonder if they were using drives that they now deem to be unsuitable for this purpose!

    1. Steve Evans

      My Thecus is very happy with very cheap Samsung drives... I've just posted a comment about what happened when I used 400gig and 500gig WD RE rated drives in it.

      At the end of the day, RAID is about availability, it is not a backup solution. You can look at a drive failure in a RAID as a warning if you like, and in some ways it is, but you should still have a backup.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        True, but if you have a NAS how do you do your backups? Another NAS? It's an interesting question in the home user (or small business) space as we accumulate more and more data that is not necessarily throw away like DVD rips. Photos and home videos are taking up ever increasing space as the pixel count rises. I sometimes wonder if at some point I'm going to need to buy an LTO5 drive.

        What do others do? Would El Reg perhaps run a piece for those of us that have say 4+TB RAIDed NAS space but aren't sure how to back it up effectively - 2x4/5 bay NAS and disks is an expensive way to do it?

  8. Steve Evans


    As much as a trust WD drives in a desktop environment, all my desktop machines and my laptop have WD primary drives, I've had two very bad experiences with their RE drives. First two 400Gig Sata RE drives failed after a month within hours of each other, trashing a RAID 5 array before I could rebuild from the first failure, then after rebuilding the array with all new 500gig RE2 drives, one of them failed within a month.

    I then gave up paying a premium for Raid Edition drives that kept failing, and decided to concentrate on the "I" of RAID, i.e. CHEAP! Sorry, Inexpensive.

    So in went a set of Samsung 1gig desktop drives and they ran for over 18 months before I finally replaced them, and only then because I wanted bigger drives. I still use the 1gig drives in USB enclosures for various backups. I tried the same with one of the WD 500gig RE2 drives and it died after a couple of months.

    I'm sure they have sorted out whatever problem occurred, but the fact there was very little mention of this anywhere on the intarweb didn't fill me with confidence. I know nobody likes publicising failure, but at least when it is publicised you can get a feeling for reliability. When nothing is said all you can do is look at your own experience, and in mine that means I have 100% distrust of RE drives.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm...

      My NAS is Samsunged and I've never had a problem in the 4 or so years I've had it.

      +1 (or 4 in this case) for Samsung Spinpoint.

  9. petur

    WD failed big-time in NAS market

    Ever since they changed the firmware of their desktop drives to be very much NAS (RAID) incompatible by having delays of up to 30 seconds when a bad block is detected, I've seen everybody move to other brands that didn't do such insane things.

    As a consequence, WD lost most of the NAS public, and I'm not buying them even if they come up with such a sorry plan to win people back. Shouldn't have pulled that firmware trick in the first place..

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really worth it

    I would be straight on these drives for my home server RAID enclosure, but they use intellipower....

    I would want 7200rpm for the same price to consider these.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: Not really worth it

      Agree completely. 7200 is a minimum. I've used Samsung and now Hitachi 7200 and have been very happy with both. I was warned off the WD line because the drives fail for times of up to 7.5 minutes (measured) if they have a hiccup, and their RE drives are just too expensive with no benefit in performance or likely reliability.

      WD missed the boat a long time ago, and might only be saved when the Hitachi and Samsung brands disappear.

  11. Chris Walsh

    5400rpm is okay

    The 7200rpm issue is not a problem IMHO. 5400-5900rpm provides quieter and more reliable (long term) for the same cost. At the end of the day, they are for mass storage, not high performance.

    I'm waiting to order 3 x 2TB WD RED for my brand spanking new QNAP TS-412. Not sure if they have hit the UK yet though.

    £109 for 2TB - a clear mark-up on the US costs. Maybe related to VAT.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: 5400rpm is okay

      Why only 3 for a 4 slot NAS? They go quicker when full and work better with matched drives (spindle rate, cache size etc). I seriously hope you never have to post your regrets on this site about buying intellipower though.

  12. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Better dead than Red!

    Yeehaw! I ain't havin' no stinkin' REDS in my NAS! There ain't no room for goddamn communistic leanin' drives in these parts!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear WD (and Seagate)

    Your hard disk prices have not yet returned to the pre-Thailand flood levels.

    How about stopping this silly profiteering already?

  14. J. Cook Silver badge

    All drive brands suck, in turn.

    All drive manufacturers have had bad lots over the years:

    Seagate had their 'little' problem with the barracuda 7200.12 line a couple years ago.

    WD's had problems with their green line for a while. (I've also seen premature deaths with their black line as well.)

    Maxtor had a few issues with bad drives before they got bought out by.. Seagate, IIRC.

    Samsung (Their spinpoint line, IIRC) has had some problems.

    Fujitsu had some serious problems with their desktop line in 2002, largely due to a faulty controller chip. There was a lawsuit involved, IIRC.

    Toshiba primarily makes laptop drives, but they've had problems in the past with both laptop and desktop lines.

    My spotty memory doesn't recall anything bad with quantum drives before maxtor bought them, but I'm sure they've had them.

    IBM / Hitachi Deskstar aka "Deathstar"- I seem to recall a reason why that brand got that nickname, but memory fails me again.

    I have a friend of mine who owns a small PC repair shop, and he's not sure who to use as a primary vendor- he's lost faith in all of them, and with WD gobbling up hitachi, there's all of three companies left that still make 3.5" drives, and SSDs are till not there for capacity/price ratio.

    1. petur

      Re: All drive brands suck, in turn.

      IIRC, Samsung had one issue on one eco-drive, and that got fixed pretty quickly. Other than that, I'm still waiting for my first Samsung spinpoint to crash, so for now those are the drives I buy (except for SSD boot disks and WD Velociraptors for price/speed)

  15. unitron

    Hey, Danny in Munich

    It's not necessary for anything 2TB and under to be "advanced format", so why do they all have to be now?

    And why are you people making AF drives and putting model numbers on them, like WD10EADS, that used to guarantee 512 byte sectors?

    It's bad enough that the retail box model number is no guarantee that the model number of the actual drive inside is going to be the same as what was in there 2 months previous, so that you don't know if you're getting an AF drive or not, but have to buy it, open it, look through the silver bag, and then hope you can get your money back, but now you've got to try to read the small print through the bag as well.

    1. Swisskid

      Re: Hey, Danny in Munich

      AF is an industry standard and not a WD invention.

      EADS has absolutely nothing to do with AF:

      E: TB/3.5-inch

      A: Desktop

      D: Intellipower with 32 MB cache

      S: SATA 3 Gb/s with 22-pin SATA connector

      The only potential issue you might face is if you partition under XP - even in this case there is a solution with our WD align tool

      I hope this is not marketing lingo anymore Steve

  16. h3

    I have some WD RE's that are probably 4 1/2 years old now (5 year warranty).

    I think the price premium was worth it (I will have 2 new drives fairly shortly).

    I think 5 years is a reasonable length of time to expect a drive to last for a NAS type application.

  17. Swisskid

    Just in: THG review of WD Red drives:,3248.html

  18. AbortRetryFail

    Just ordered

    Well, I've just taken a punt on four of the 2TB drives to go in my FreeNAS box (HP Microserver FTW!) and it'll be interesting to see how they work out.

    Novatech aren't yet stocking them so I bought from Dabs.

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