WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

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WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Apoptosis » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:10 pm

WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Earlier this year Western Digital (WD) announced the WD Red NAS hard drives that are a line of SATA III 6Gbps hard drives specifically designed for home and small office NAS (network attached storage) systems. We got our hands on the WD Red 3TB (WD30EFRX) and tried it out on a desktop as a storage drive and then in a NAS device in a RAID 5 array. Read on to see if the WD Red drive series is right for you!

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The Western Digital Red series was designed for NAS servers and it leaves us wondering why no one did this before! Industry analysts believe that the NAS market will greatly expand in the years to come and WD now has a product to fill the void that was present. Buying the least expensive drive at your desired capacity and using it in a NAS was the popular way to find drives to populate a NAS, but now there is a hard drive series made just for NAS and RAID environments...


Article Title: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/2092/1/
Pricing At Time of Print: $157.90 Shipped
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby bubba » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:34 pm

Glad they have come out. Just bought one of these in 1TB to replace a green that crapped out on me in my NAS. Planning on 1 a month (ah budgets) to replace the other 4 in my NAS.

Don't use greens in a NAS. Yeah the will work, but not for more than 6 months to a year.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby egloeckle » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:20 pm

Green drives are missing the TLER which is the issue. Dont run any non TLER drive in RAID if you care about your data and sanity.

On that note, with drives this large, stop using RAID-5 already. There are plenty of articles out there with the math describing why, but basically the chance to lose data becomes greater the larger your drive size becomes.

In my experience in practice these drives have fairly poor performance though. The access time for them is absolutely horrific which will be greatly amplified when in use. Sure in a benchmark that keeps the drives spinning they will appear pretty quick (though if 5 drives werent capping a single 1gb nic I would be worried) when in actual use they tend to not be great. Though for the price they are pretty good so if you dont need low latency and are looking for lots of space on the cheap I guess they would be fine.

Nate, you really need to test this setup with some nic bonding at least. I know I tend to look for very different things then most of the LR readers but that should be a fairly realistic setup for a nas unit.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby KnightRid » Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:38 am

egloeckle wrote:On that note, with drives this large, stop using RAID-5 already. There are plenty of articles out there with the math describing why, but basically the chance to lose data becomes greater the larger your drive size becomes.

In my experience in practice these drives have fairly poor performance though. The access time for them is absolutely horrific which will be greatly amplified when in use. Sure in a benchmark that keeps the drives spinning they will appear pretty quick (though if 5 drives werent capping a single 1gb nic I would be worried) when in actual use they tend to not be great. Though for the price they are pretty good so if you dont need low latency and are looking for lots of space on the cheap I guess they would be fine.


Snipped the quote

RAID 5 is used most often (even for me) due to the cost/available space benefits for users. It is crazy to buy 4 hard drives and only be able to use the storage space of 2 due to the RAID level you choose. I still think RAID-5 is reliable enough for media streaming in a home environment. I constantly hear about losing data, horror stories, etc but until someone comes up with a solution to give me the space I need with having at least a partial rebuild possible, at a low price, then I will keep using RAID-5 for my stuff. I will add, if someone would come out with a RAID card that could handle 16+ drives at a reasonable price for home users then it may be feasible to run RAID 6 with lower sized drives to get better fault tolerance but I dont see that happening.

Slower performance than some? Sure but the next level of TLER drives cost quite a bit more I believe. Still, like i said above, for a home environment where cost is a major consideration, these will work just peachy.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:14 am

egloeckle wrote:Green drives are missing the TLER which is the issue. Dont run any non TLER drive in RAID if you care about your data and sanity.

On that note, with drives this large, stop using RAID-5 already. There are plenty of articles out there with the math describing why, but basically the chance to lose data becomes greater the larger your drive size becomes.

In my experience in practice these drives have fairly poor performance though. The access time for them is absolutely horrific which will be greatly amplified when in use. Sure in a benchmark that keeps the drives spinning they will appear pretty quick (though if 5 drives werent capping a single 1gb nic I would be worried) when in actual use they tend to not be great. Though for the price they are pretty good so if you dont need low latency and are looking for lots of space on the cheap I guess they would be fine.

Nate, you really need to test this setup with some nic bonding at least. I know I tend to look for very different things then most of the LR readers but that should be a fairly realistic setup for a nas unit.


So, what RAID mode and stripe size would you suggest?

Also, why would I do NIC teaming? The Thecus N5550 has two Gigabit ports and you can link them:

thecus-network.jpg

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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby bubba » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:15 am

From what I understand, for load balancing you need a managed switch. Your average home wont run a managed switch.

As for me using greens, it is what I could afford at the time (just before the tsunami) getting 5 in one shot. The red drives didn't even exist yet, couldn't lay out the cash for the black drives.

Now the 1tb reds have been out a while, and only ~$90ish, I'll start swapping them out. Was hoping to wait till tax time but the one green throwing I/O errors forced my hand.

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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:18 am

bubba wrote:From what I understand, for load balancing you need a managed switch. Your average home wont run a managed switch.


Nah, for teaming you can just link the two ports together on the OS side of things for improved performance.

I don't think my Netgear WNDR4500 Router supports 802.3ad though - http://www.netgear.com/home/products/wi ... 0.aspx#two

Just like RAID modes, there is a ton of bonding modes:

Network bonding (modes of bonding)

Mode 0 (balance-rr)
This mode transmits packets in a sequential order from the first available slave through the last. If two real interfaces are slaves in the bond and two packets arrive destined out of the bonded interface the first will be transmitted on the first slave and the second frame will be transmitted on the second slave. The third packet will be sent on the first and so on. This provides load balancing and fault tolerance.

Mode 1 (active-backup)
This mode places one of the interfaces into a backup state and will only make it active if the link is lost by the active interface. Only one slave in the bond is active at an instance of time. A different slave becomes active only when the active slave fails. This mode provides fault tolerance.

Mode 2 (balance-xor)
Transmits based on XOR formula. (Source MAC address is XOR'd with destination MAC address) modula slave count. This selects the same slave for each destination MAC address and provides load balancing and fault tolerance.

Mode 3 (broadcast)
This mode transmits everything on all slave interfaces. This mode is least used (only for specific purpose) and provides only fault tolerance.

Mode 4 (802.3ad)
This mode is known as Dynamic Link Aggregation mode. It creates aggregation groups that share the same speed and duplex settings. This mode requires a switch that supports IEEE 802.3ad Dynamic link.

Mode 5 (balance-tlb)
This is called as Adaptive transmit load balancing. The outgoing traffic is distributed according to the current load and queue on each slave interface. Incoming traffic is received by the current slave.

Mode 6 (balance-alb)
This is Adaptive load balancing mode. These include balance-tlb + receive load balancing (rlb) for IPV4 traffic. The receive load balancing is achieved by ARP negotiation. The bonding driver intercepts the ARP Replies sent by the server on their way out and overwrites the src hw address with the unique hw address of one of the slaves in the bond such that different clients use different hw addresses for the server.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby egloeckle » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:23 am

KnightRid wrote:RAID 5 is used most often (even for me) due to the cost/available space benefits for users. It is crazy to buy 4 hard drives and only be able to use the storage space of 2 due to the RAID level you choose. I still think RAID-5 is reliable enough for media streaming in a home environment. I constantly hear about losing data, horror stories, etc but until someone comes up with a solution to give me the space I need with having at least a partial rebuild possible, at a low price, then I will keep using RAID-5 for my stuff. I will add, if someone would come out with a RAID card that could handle 16+ drives at a reasonable price for home users then it may be feasible to run RAID 6 with lower sized drives to get better fault tolerance but I dont see that happening.

Slower performance than some? Sure but the next level of TLER drives cost quite a bit more I believe. Still, like i said above, for a home environment where cost is a major consideration, these will work just peachy.



I guess it just depends what your data is worth to you. You do have a backup also right? (RAID is not a backup) if not then I guess it really doesn't matter much if you lost some things but for me it really matters even at the home level. We are the category of people that will spend $350 on a video card (or whatever on a "performance" part), I personally wouldn't think spending an extra $100 on an extra level of data redundancy wouldn't be thought of as a waste. But we all have different thoughts though. Oh and if you are in the market to buy 16 drives to begin with, why balk at the price of what it takes to run them? This is like buying a $1000 processor and complaining about buying the $300 motherboard to use it.

And I did say that for home use the performance was probably fine, it's more if you are a heavy user of the nas that you should probably consider actual enterprise sata drives.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby FZ1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:28 am

I have 2 1TB red drives in my NAS now. So far, so good.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby egloeckle » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:31 am

Apoptosis wrote:So, what RAID mode and stripe size would you suggest?

Also, why would I do NIC teaming? The Thecus N5550 has two Gigabit ports, but there is nothing in the admin panel for bonding/teaming of the two as shown below. Is that something average home user/small business would be doing with a sub $500 NAS? This isn't enterprise


Raid 6. Give yourself the extra level of redundancy when disk space is so cheap.

As for bonding, it's obvious from your tests that your results are nic capped. Your performance numbers only prove with this setup you can max a single gb connection, not what the actual performance numbers of the setup. Nic bonding would allow for your numbers to be a better basis on what the setup is capable of though there is always the chance for that to be capped as well. Your test on the nas setup is akin to running a modern SSD on sata1/2. The results are being limited by something other than the drive itself.

No this isn't enterprise, but spending a grand on a nas (nas + drives) and not using it to its fullest is just wasteful, even at the home level. Especially for tech savvy people as I like to think this this community is.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:33 am

RAID 6 uses two parity drives instead of just one, so you'll take a performance hit.

Would you suggest a 5 drive RAID 6 array or keep on as a spare? Also, what stripe size do you lean to for home use (backing up pictures and movies).
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby KnightRid » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:00 pm

egloeckle wrote:I guess it just depends what your data is worth to you. You do have a backup also right? (RAID is not a backup) if not then I guess it really doesn't matter much if you lost some things but for me it really matters even at the home level. We are the category of people that will spend $350 on a video card (or whatever on a "performance" part), I personally wouldn't think spending an extra $100 on an extra level of data redundancy wouldn't be thought of as a waste. But we all have different thoughts though. Oh and if you are in the market to buy 16 drives to begin with, why balk at the price of what it takes to run them? This is like buying a $1000 processor and complaining about buying the $300 motherboard to use it.

And I did say that for home use the performance was probably fine, it's more if you are a heavy user of the nas that you should probably consider actual enterprise sata drives.


No backup as there is no way I am going to backup TB upon TB of my dvd/bluray rips. I have the physical media so I can always re-rip it if something catastrophic happens. I am not in the market for 16 drives, it was just an example of how using more drives would seem less wasteful of space when they are lower sized. I wish I was in the market for 16 drives LOL - wife would have to give me a raise though [-o<

$350 for a video card? are you insane?? I am the cheap bastard on here hahahaahhaa I just got a GTX660 for around $200 for my new build - I wouldnt even spend the money to go for the Ti version.

Performance wise - as long as it could stream a bluray to a max of 3 locations from the NAS at once through a gigabit NIC, I am happy - Mostly will just be 1 location streamed at a time.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:55 pm

working on a budget build guide right now... nothing wrong with being on a budget! Hope to have it posted Friday next week. Just got the last part in today and have two reviews to write before i get to building it.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby egloeckle » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:33 pm

KnightRid wrote:No backup as there is no way I am going to backup TB upon TB of my dvd/bluray rips. I have the physical media so I can always re-rip it if something catastrophic happens. I am not in the market for 16 drives, it was just an example of how using more drives would seem less wasteful of space when they are lower sized. I wish I was in the market for 16 drives LOL - wife would have to give me a raise though [-o<

$350 for a video card? are you insane?? I am the cheap bastard on here hahahaahhaa I just got a GTX660 for around $200 for my new build - I wouldnt even spend the money to go for the Ti version.

Performance wise - as long as it could stream a bluray to a max of 3 locations from the NAS at once through a gigabit NIC, I am happy - Mostly will just be 1 location streamed at a time.


No backup for that is fine and all, but do you keep anything else on that drive that you do care about? I know I keep things like quicken files, pictures, and other documents (lots actually I got a duplex scanner for doing some training so I scan and shred everything) that would really suck to lose. DVD and Bluray rips are one thing, actual personal data is another. $350 was just a random number, the point is I think still valid. If you are spending the cash on enough drives to run raid 5 (3 drive setups excluded, those make little sense typically anyway) then why not spend the small % more and help avoid potential issues?
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Calamar » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:35 am

I agree 100% with him.

No mater if its your personal home made videos, pictures, or whatever. Everybody find his stuff important. Rebuild a RAID5 5 drive 3TB its dangerous once one drive has failed, specially if all come from the same lot. W8 and some linux distros come with x-raid or similar disk structures that are safer for the whole info structure than raid 5.

And to test the "true speed" those drives can deliver under a raid/nas, it should be tested under hardware raid controller and a high grade nic.

@egloeckle: well actually the idea of the red series its actually that: pay for TLER :D

egloeckle wrote:Green drives are missing the TLER which is the issue. Dont run any non TLER drive in RAID if you care about your data and sanity.

On that note, with drives this large, stop using RAID-5 already. There are plenty of articles out there with the math describing why, but basically the chance to lose data becomes greater the larger your drive size becomes.

In my experience in practice these drives have fairly poor performance though. The access time for them is absolutely horrific which will be greatly amplified when in use. Sure in a benchmark that keeps the drives spinning they will appear pretty quick (though if 5 drives werent capping a single 1gb nic I would be worried) when in actual use they tend to not be great. Though for the price they are pretty good so if you dont need low latency and are looking for lots of space on the cheap I guess they would be fine.

Nate, you really need to test this setup with some nic bonding at least. I know I tend to look for very different things then most of the LR readers but that should be a fairly realistic setup for a nas unit.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:42 am

Calamar wrote:Rebuild a RAID5 5 drive 3TB its dangerous once one drive has failed, specially if all come from the same lot.


How so?
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby egloeckle » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:01 am

Calamar wrote:@egloeckle: well actually the idea of the red series its actually that: pay for TLER :D


I know, that part of my post was in reply to someone earlier stating they had green drives fail in raid constantly. The missing TLER is the reason for that most likely. Red drives main benefit is the TLER support, so yes we agree again!

Edit: the one thing I don't really agree on is the requirement to test these drive under a decent raid adapter and high grade nic. A decent nas unit will easily run the drives at close enough to their max, I really doubt anyone who spends the cash to buy a proper raid controller would buy these drives anyway. On the nic part, to me it looks like Nate's testing already hit the limit for a single nic (125MB/s - tcp and other overhead) so no nic will improve that. A standard testing box with bonded nics would be much more useful IMO

Apoptosis wrote:
Calamar wrote:Rebuild a RAID5 5 drive 3TB its dangerous once one drive has failed, specially if all come from the same lot.


How so?


Google raid 5 end of life and you should get some sites that break this down. I'd deals with MTBF, drive sizes and a few other things. I would get the link for you but I'm stuck on my phone right now.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby bubba » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:12 am

Apoptosis wrote:
Calamar wrote:Rebuild a RAID5 5 drive 3TB its dangerous once one drive has failed, specially if all come from the same lot.


How so?


Read errors come into play that keep the RAID from rebuilding, If you have all the drives form the same lot, chances are that the drives will all fail the same way. So in the middle of the rebuild a read error pops up and boom, the rebuild eats its own head. Larger the disk, more data, bigger chance of failure.

which is why you have backups for such occasions.

As for having a 5x 3TB RAID6 (9TB of space) that is a LOT of data for home use. Rivals some small-medium business. If your rocking that much storage, and actually filling it, you better have some backup process in place. The only thing I can think of that would require that much space is ripped DVD/Blu-ray's, and a lot of them.

If you are into video production or a photographer I could see you needing the space, but you will most likely have backups of your work.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Bhench » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:37 pm

Two things:

1) Nate, the item on the left of the menu that says "Link aggregation" is your port bonding to get a dual GIG connection and no, I do not believe the netgear support it.
2) TLER has to be supported by the raid controller and I am pretty sure the Thecus does not support it. Most small NAS boxes assume your going to use SOHO drives so they have their own scheme for handling drive response and marking a drive out of service. They don't talk TLER or CCTL.

I have 4 2TB Green drives that have been running in Raid 5 for over a year and a half with no issues. For my setup I use a 3TB black drive in my rig and have Bvckup sync that to my 8TB NAS for instant redundancy. Then I use Crash Plan to backup to the cloud. Works for me and is plenty fast at 68 read 48 write for anything I do.
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Re: WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Drive Review

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:03 am

1) Duh
2) I have asked Thecus about support of TLER and CCTL, but it is midnight on Saturday in taiwan (no response soon)
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