Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital
Tagged: wdc, WD, Red Pro, red, hdd, 6tb, 4TB

Introduction and Specs

Introduction:

*** NOTE ***

In the preparation for this review, we noted abnormal behavior with the 6TB Red. After coordination with Western Digital, they replicated our results and will be issuing a firmware to correct the issue. We are publishing this piece as-is, with caveats added as appropriate. We will revisit this piece with an additional update once we have retested the 6TB Red on the updated firmware / configuration. More information / detail is available in our related news post on this matter.

*** END NOTE ***

Last year we covered the benefits of TLER enabled drives, and the potential for drive errors in a RAID can lead to the potential loss of entire arrays. Western Digital solved this problem by their introduction of the WD Red series. That series was since incrementally updated to include a 4TB capacity, and other Western Digital lines were also scaled up to 4TB capacities.

20140715-195152.jpg

This week the Red line was updated to include both 5TB and 6TB models, sporting 1.2TB per platter. Performance is expected to be slightly improved over the older / smaller capacities of the Red. The upgraded line will use an improved 'NASware 3.0' firmware, which makes improvements to Western Digital's software based vibration compensation. These improvements mean WD can now support up to 8 Reds in a single chassis (up from 5 with NASware 2.0).

Also announced was the new Red Pro line, available in capacities up to 4TB. The Red Pro is just as it sounds - a 'Pro' version of the Red. This model borrows more features from WD's enterprise line, making it very similar to an SE series HDD. Imagine a Red, but at 7200RPM and more aggressive seek times. The Red Pro also borrows the enterprise-grade 5-year warranty and is supported in chassis up to 16 bays, thanks to built-in hardware vibration compensation. When all is said and done, the Red Pro is basically a WD SE with firmware tweaked for NAS workloads.

As a recap of what can potentially happen if you have a large RAID with 'normal' consumer grade HDD's (and by consumer grade I mean those without any form of Time Limited Error Recovery, or TLER for short):

  • Array starts off operating as normal, but drive 3 has a bad sector that cropped up a few months back. This has gone unnoticed because the bad sector was part of a rarely accessed file.
  • During operation, drive 1 encounters a new bad sector.
  • Since drive 1 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
  • The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 1 and marks it offline.
  • Array is now in degraded status with drive 1 marked as failed.
  • User replaces drive 1. RAID controller initiates rebuild using parity data from the other drives.
  • During rebuild, RAID controller encounters the bad sector on drive 3.
  • Since drive 3 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
  • The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 3 and marks it offline.
  • Rebuild fails.
  • Blamo, your data is now (mostly) inaccessible.

I went into much further detail on this back in the intro to the WD 3TB Red piece, but the short of it is that you absolutely should use a HDD intended for RAID when building one.

Continue reading our review of the new WD 6TB Red and 4TB Red Pro!!

Western Digital launches 6TB Red and 4TB Red Pro - with a configuration issue

Subject: Storage | July 23, 2014 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Red Pro, red, 6tb, 4TB

Western Digital has extended its Red line with 5 and 6TB models, sporting 1.2TB per platter. Performance is expected to be slightly improved over the older / smaller capacities of the Red. The upgraded line will use an improved 'NASware 3.0' firmware, which makes improvements to Western Digital's software based vibration compensation. These improvements mean WD can now support up to 8 Reds in a single chassis (up from 5 with NASware 2.0).

20140715-194643.jpg

Also announced was the new Red Pro line, available in capacities up to 4TB. The Red Pro is just as it sounds - a 'Pro' version of the Red. This model borrows more features from WD's enterprise line, making it very similar to an SE series HDD. Imagine a Red, but at 7200RPM and more aggressive seek times. The Red Pro also borrows the enterprise-grade 5-year warranty and is supported in chassis up to 16 bays, thanks to built-in hardware vibration compensation. When all is said and done, the Red Pro is basically a WD SE with firmware tweaked for NAS workloads.

We typically have our WD reviews post right at the NDA. On this piece, we opted to hold back as we've been working with Western Digital on some abnormal performance results we saw with the 6TB Red. Below are the results seen in Iometer. Note that the 6TB Red failed to demonstrate the expected 'ramp up' seen with other drives. HDDs normally show increased performance as Queue Depth increases. This is because the HDD controller is able to see multiple pending requests and optimize its access pattern. The more commands in the queue (higher QD), the more the HDD can optimize the pattern, and therefore the higher resulting IOPS seen.

iometer-ios-file.png

As you can see above, the 6TB Red appears to behave as if NCQ is disabled. Some might argue (in reviews that have already published) that the drive still performs well, but the plain truth of the matter is that a HDD effectively operating without NCQ removes the drives ability to scale when multiple commands are issued. Any test issuing more than one command simultaneously will see a lesser result as compared to a properly configured drive, so things like streaming multiple videos or several users actively simultaneously accessing a NAS will see a negative impact on performance.

The 4TB Red Pro did not demonstrate the issues noted above, and Western Digital has just issued this statement in response to our feedback. Here it is:

WD has learned that initial production units of WD Red 5* and 6 TB drives perform below our expectations in random-read benchmark tests when measured with specific testing software. We have found a configuration setting to be causing these particular test results, for which we are developing a firmware update to correct the configuration setting. In the intended application -- multi-drive NAS systems -- the drives have performed to our high expectations in WD’s labs and by our system partners; users will experience normal WD Red performance.

WD is committed to providing optimally performing storage products, designed for intended applications, and we will have a firmware update available through the WD Red Product Customer Service support line as it becomes available.

*Limited quantities of 5 TB have shipped with the earlier configuration setting.

We have decided to publish the full article covering both new drives, including the 6TB Red in its (currently shipping) misconfigured form. It will go live once I add the necessary verbiage explaining the misconfiguration seen on the 5TB and 6TB Red. Stay tuned for that piece later tonight (**EDIT** our review is now live **EDIT**), as well as a follow-on piece to be published as soon as we have the updated firmware from Western Digital.

Full press blast on the 6TB Red and 4TB Red Pro appears after the break.

Podcast #305 with Guest David Hewlett - Richard Huddy Interview, Seagate 4TB SSHD, SSD Endurance and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 19, 2014 - 10:20 AM |
Tagged: watch dogs, video, steamboy, sshd, richard huddy, podcast, openworks, game works, g1 sniper a88x, fusion io, David Hewlett, amd, 4TB

PC Perspective Podcast #305 - 06/19/2014

Special guest David Hewlett joins us this week to discuss our interview with AMD's Richard Huddy, the Seagate 4TB SSHD, SSD Endurance and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Maleventano and David Hewlett

Program length: 1:31:16

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

 

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Seagate
Tagged: sshd, Seagate, hybrid, 4TB

Introduction

Introduction

We've looked at many hybrid options over the past few years. First we checked out Intel's RST Caching solution, introduced on the Z68 chipset. Then we looked into Seagate's first few rounds of SSHD's, which were basically a standard HDD with an 8GB cache tacked on to the controller. Despite larger adoption of SSD's taking place, Seagate continues to push further into the hybrid market, with the addition of dual mode caching and other advancements. Today we take a look at their most recent push:

DSC01466.JPG

Yup, that's 4TB of hybrid goodness right there. No doubt this is a desktop class product, but how well can it handle desktop workloads?

Read on for the full review!

When size trumps speed; the WD Black 4TB HDD

Subject: Storage | February 17, 2014 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: western digital, Black, 4TB, hdd

There are still many times when having a huge amount of storage at a low price is more important than having the speed of an SSD and the Western Digitial Black family of drives is perfect for those scenarios.  This 7200RPM HDD has five 800GB platters and a 64MB cache in the 4TB model TechARP reviewed though you can get smaller models if you so desire.  While the drive will not compete against and SSD you can see in the review that this drive tops the other platter based models performance by a noticeable margin.  If you need a large amount of space but can't pay around $1.00/GB then don't forget that HDDs are also still evolving.

drive_diagonal_01.jpg

"The new-generation Western Digital Black family differs from the previous generation by its use of Advanced Format Technology, which allows for greater capacity and throughput. The new Western Digital Black family now consists of five models, which differ only in their storage capacities."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: TechARP

Seagate's supersized NASty specialized spinning disks

Subject: Storage | October 23, 2013 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: NAS, Seagate, 4TB, hdd

Seagate's aptly named NAS HDD looks very much like their 4TB Desktop model but internally it has enhanced vibration reduction as well as parts that are more resistant to vibration which should create a quieter and longer lasting drive.  It also shares 5900 RPM and a 64MB cache but Seagate claims slightly higher seek times, 8.5ms read and 9.5ms write and time-limited error recovery which makes these drives far less dangerous to use in a RAID than the desktop model in scenarios such as Al has mentioned numerous times.  The Tech Report's testing put it against Seagate's Desktop version as well as the WD Red that is also optimized for use in NAS devices, read on to see which gets recommended.

TR_compare-bottom.jpg

"Seagate's NAS HDD 4TB is optimized for network-attached storage and desktop RAID implementations. It promises better reliability than typical desktop drives, too. We take a closer look to see how the NAS HDD compares to its WD Red counterpart."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

When only 4TB will do

Subject: Storage | April 9, 2013 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wd black, hdd, 4TB

SSDs may be the speed kings but when you need a lot of storage space they quickly become quite expensive which is where the new WD Black 4TB HDD shines as it is only $85 $300.  It spins at 7200RPM and has a 64MB cache which ought to make it a bit faster than other high density HDDs which are on the market though the 800GB platters could slow that expected performance somewhat.  It also comes with a 5 year warranty which is much better than the usual 2 year warranty many companies have adopted as standard for their platter based drives.  Check out the full review at The Tech Report.

TR_drive.jpg

"Western Digital's Black 4TB the only desktop hard drive to combine that top-of-the-line capacity with a 7,200-RPM spindle speed and five years of warranty coverage. We take a closer look."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Seagate Launches 4TB, Four-Platter Hard Drive For $200

Subject: Storage | April 3, 2013 - 03:26 AM |
Tagged: Seagate, 1TB Platter, 4TB, Hard Drive, storage

Seagate recently took the wraps off of a new 4TB hard drive. The new drive uses the company's 1TB platters, and the ST4000DM000 uses four 1TB platters. Other characteristics include a 7,200 RPM spindle speed, 64MB cache, and support for the SATA III 6 Gbps interface.

According to the company, the 4TB drive boasts an average read/write data rate of 146MB/s (which is good for a mechanical hard drive), max sustained transfer speed of 180MB/s, and sub-8.5ms and 9.5ms average seek times for read and write operations respectively.

Seagate Desktop Hard Drive.jpg

The drive is compatible with Seagate's DiskWizard technology, allowing the full 4TB to be used on legacy operating systems. At 4TB, this drive is perfect for digital pack rats and media enthusiasts.
The 4TB Seagate drive can be found for around $190 USD online for the bare-bones drive, or approximately $205 for retail packaging. You can find more information on the 4TB mechanical hard drive on this Seagate data sheet (PDF) or the drive's product page.

I have to admit that I'm tempted by this, despite not having filled my 2TB drive yet.

Source: Seagate

Western Digital releases 4TB Black series HDD

Subject: Storage | November 20, 2012 - 07:35 AM |
Tagged: WD, western digital, Black, 4TB, hdd

Today Western Digital announced their new 4TB Black Series HDD. This new drive boasts some features normally reserved for their RE (enterprise) series drives, such as dual processors and dual stage actuator tech. This 7200 RPM unit comes with the now standard 64MB cache and SATA 6Gb/sec interface. We will be reviewing a sample upon its arrival, but I suspect performance will be close to the RE series, albeit without the additional enterprise-specific features.

WDBlack_CoverOn_UprightLeft_4TB_HiRes.jpg

The 4TB Black kicks off at an MSRP of $339. Hopefully we see some 4TB Greens and Reds out of Western Digital shortly - as those should be at a lower cost and be more suited to the typical mass-storage applications of such a high capacity drive.

Press blast after the break:

Podcast #222 - NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti, Western Digital RE 4TB, Windows 8 Tablets, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2012 - 11:17 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, WD, RE, podcast, Iconia, gtx 650 Ti, acer, 7990, 650ti, 4TB

PC Perspective Podcast #222 - 10/11/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti, Western Digital RE 4TB, Windows 8 Tablets, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:15:10

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:01:15 Corsair Dominator Platinum Contest!
    2. 0:03:30 ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe Motherboard Review
    3. 0:04:45 Interface Design: Think like an Engineer
    4. 0:06:50 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Review
    5. 0:21:30 Seasonic X-Series 1250W Gold PSU Review
    6. 0:23:55 Western Digital RE RAID 4TB Review
  2. 0:29:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:30:33 AMURICA! JERBS! Lenovo Opening Line in US
    2. 0:31:15 Qualcomm Joins HSA Foundation
    3. 0:36:00 Acer Talks about Their Windows 8 Tablets
      1. Acer Iconia W700
      2. Acer Iconia W510
    4. 0:41:40 7990 is a Thing? Well Now There's a Cheaper Thing of the Thing
    5. 0:44:20 AMD Z-Series APU for Tablets
    6. 0:48:15 Logitech Makes Their First Mechanical Keyboard
    7. 0:49:40 Thermaltake Level 10 GT Battle Edition Case
    8. 0:52:20 AMD Radeon Memory RAMDisk
  4. Closing:
    1. 1:01:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Galaxy Nexus Extended Battery
      2. Jeremy: Play with some MRAM
      3. Josh: Video cards are cheap
      4. Allyn: 45 3.5" HDD's in a 4U rack - DIY (3TB = 135TB / 4TB = 180TB)
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro