HGST Enterprise He8 HDD Found in Early Retail 8TB WD My Book

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

As we were publishing our full review of the Western Digital Red 8TB, we noted something odd. While the street prices of the bare drives seemed to be a bit high ($333), the WD My Book was on sale for $250. Ryan happened to look them up and discovered that our local Best Buy actually had them available for store pick-up. Since the 8TB Red and My Book 8TB were launched simultaneously, and we were just provided early samples of the 8TB Reds last week, how could there already be 8TB Reds on the shelf just down the street? Could they have shipped some earlier form of the 8TB Red in the external My Book and continued tweaking their NASware algorithms / firmware prior to the Red launching? Our curiosity got the best of us, and we decided to find out.

Sebastian ran out to his local Best Buy and picked up a single WD My Book 8TB model, promptly took it home and ripped it open. I don’t think he even plugged it in first. This is what he found:

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Well, that’s not a Red label, but it does say Western Digital, and it’s clearly a HelioSeal housing (common to HGST He Series and WD Red 8TB). One thing that immediately stuck out to me was the model number. WD model numbers have a specific pattern (WD80EFZX), and that number above does *not* follow that pattern. The pattern it does follow, however, is that of the HGST He8 line:

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Sebastian noted something else almost immediately. The label looked like it was on top of another one. Peeling this one back showed this pure white label:

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…and peeling back *that* label gave us this:

Read on for the suspense-filled conclusion!

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We also did some quick performance tests to further confirm what we were seeing. Here’s the My Book 8TB:

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…and now the HGST He8 sample we have here:

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Connecting the He8 directly to a system gave us similar results, but with the 'correct' model number appearing as the device ID instead of the My Book label.

Ok, so what we have figured out so far is early WD My Book 8TB models may have gone out with relabeled HGST He8’s. We say early because it only makes sense for WD to shift over to actual Reds in the future, as My Books are not marketed as performance units and would generally only be performance-rated with 5400 RPM drives. Bear in mind that all of the above would not necessarily apply to other WD external units. It is very unlikely that they would have put white label drives in any of their external units that have user-replaceable drives (like the My Book Mirror, for example), as those are typically branded as coming equipped with WD Red units installed.

WD is, of course, free to install a faster drive if they wish in their single drive units, and an enterprise-grade He8 most definitely exceeds the performance of the 5400 RPM WD Red. Now our sample set is only a single drive purchased from a Best Buy, so we have no clue if this carries over to Amazon sales or any other outlets. We also have no idea how many went out with He8 internals, so if you are thinking about picking these up, realize that you may not end up with He8’s or even Reds for that matter (it is possible that WD will use a de-rated / white label form of the Red in the My Book down the road). It is also entirely possible that the He8 seen here has tweaked firmware making it less NAS / RAID friendly (TLER disabled), so use extreme caution before trying to buy 8 of these and shucking them for that 64TB array you were lusting over.

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Whichever way you look at it, it’s nice to see a company ‘fail faster’ when it comes to substitutions. It's also giving some unsuspecting folks one hell of a deal on an enterprise drive.

Video News

March 23, 2016 | 09:07 PM - Posted by Klyde (not verified)

So I should buy this, open it up and put it in my computer instead of buying a WD Red?

March 23, 2016 | 09:10 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Well we can't guarantee what will come in the one you buy, but it should at least be an 8TB Red.

March 23, 2016 | 10:03 PM - Posted by SeaJay (not verified)

Well, WD testing might determine drives that meet & exceed the RED specifications, and the drives that fall short.
Not defective, just second place.
Those slightly lesser drives might end up in the My Books.

March 23, 2016 | 11:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

As we were publishing our full review of the Western Digital Red 8TB, we noted something odd. While the street prices of the bare drives seemed to be a bit high ($333), the WD My Book was on sale for $250.

The "we" in "we noted something odd" was actually me pointing it out to you. Way to give credit where it's due guys.

March 24, 2016 | 08:09 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Sorry, but we were researching these prices before we published the article or posted the video. If you commented somewhere then congratulations for also figuring it out!

March 24, 2016 | 09:10 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ah ok, sorry about that. Where in the original review did you "note something odd"? Which page?

March 24, 2016 | 11:52 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I didn't write about it, but it was something we noted (to ourselves) when adding pricing info to the review.

March 24, 2016 | 02:14 AM - Posted by Hakuren

It has to be "binned" HGST somehow (mentioned firmware is good place to start). I can't believe that you can get fully functioning HGST He drive for half the price. Where I live there is about 250$ (equivalent) difference between WD He and HGST He.

Nice find guys.

March 24, 2016 | 02:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Holy shit, this is borderline retardation, not serious journalism. How about you get a FUCKING statement from the goddamned manufacturer before going on some stupid AF goose chase of an amatuer hour mission?

You're, you can't get a goddamned comment from the manufacturer within 24 hours, be patient. You could get an ES in 48, most likely. I know I can.

Stop tarnishing the brand with such sillyness.

Shit post, not at all "BREAKING NEWS about some shitty, mechanical drive from one of those mechanical drive manufacturers. Now, if this was in regards to a new SSD, that pushes the technical limits of the technology, perhaps it would be worth the hassle of running to an actual FUCKING best buy. Most of us are professionals, who buy through the channel, anyway. At least all the PCP fans I talk to purchase through ASI, Ingram, D & H, Etc. Anyway,

March 24, 2016 | 08:05 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

We are not tarnishing their brand here, as their move was a good one, not bad. Also, we did talk with WD prior to posting, as we do with any find like this. We didn't get a 'direct quote' statement, but they were not opposed to us publishing on our findings.

Also, a decent subset of PCPer readers are folks looking for a good deal on high(er) performance PC hardware, and in this case the drives included have the highest sequential performance of any 8TB drive on the market, and are running nearly $100 cheaper than their own 8TB Red.

You seem to *really* have some pent-up hatred for Beat Buy. Might want to talk to get that checked out. Sure they gouge you on cables but in this case a deal is a deal.

March 24, 2016 | 08:52 AM - Posted by Derek_A (not verified)

Geez dude, calm down. Way to fly off the handle.

March 25, 2016 | 01:15 AM - Posted by TheBlessedCantalope (not verified)

Settle down Beavis, it's just a hard drive.

March 27, 2016 | 11:47 PM - Posted by Thomas Tomchak (not verified)

Nice job throwing out insults without using your name.

Way to be a man.

Maybe you should channel that same energy into creating something yourself instead of tearing someone else's work down.

August 9, 2016 | 03:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous-Replier (not verified)

The only retard I see here is the pussy who was just hiding behind his ANONYMOUS posting and Trolling you guys here.
Can you say Loser? And lay off the booze, as you clearly only have 3 months to live. Jackass!

July 13, 2017 | 10:35 AM - Posted by Anonymous, get over it (not verified)

Calm down.. honestly. It will be ok

March 24, 2016 | 03:45 AM - Posted by [CoFR]Prodeous (not verified)

Love the article. Interesting find. This is what PCPer is about. If you find something interesting, you share it with the crowd that cares :)

Too bad I dont' have Best Buy in Poland :P Though the 8TB WD book should be available here in Poland.. kind of tempting.

March 24, 2016 | 03:53 AM - Posted by VelleX (not verified)

Is the Drive as loud as the Hitachis usually are on access?

Is the Firmware still the same as shown on the original Hitachi label?
Maybe there are really some modifications.

Also you can search in internet for the "WD80EZZX" Drive, which is inside some other WD My Cloud Drives.
It seems its based on the Hitachi Ultrastar He8 Series (Part Number on Label US7SAJ800) but seems it does not even have 7200rpm.

March 24, 2016 | 08:14 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Sebastian did the testing on the My Book so we can't directly compare, but he didn't note anything abnormally loud. Firmware was the same I believe, and was a higher value than what was on our He8 sample.

March 24, 2016 | 05:57 AM - Posted by khanmein

boss allyn, my ST9500420AS (500 GB) seagate momentus

CrystalDIskInfo 6.7.5 x64;

BE Airflow Temperature - Current 69 Worst 44 Threshold 45 Health Status Good

HD Tune Pro 5.60;

BE Airflow Temperature - Current 72 Worst 44 Threshold 45 Data 1516712493084 Status failed

what's wrong with my airflow temp? thanks.

March 24, 2016 | 08:15 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Maybe a bad temp sensor?

March 24, 2016 | 08:42 AM - Posted by khanmein

yeah maybe & weird ext Seagate ST9160310AS (160 GB)

Spin Retry Count Current 100 Worst 100 Threshold 97 Data 1 Status Warning

Seagate never fail on my side. HD Tune Pro weird.

CPUID HWMonitor read max temp 42°c (104°F) for my Seagate Momentus ST9500420AS (500 GB)

March 25, 2016 | 05:27 PM - Posted by extide

Look at the raw values, in base 10, not the current/worst/etc

March 24, 2016 | 09:19 AM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

Thanks Sebastian!

March 24, 2016 | 09:32 AM - Posted by dstanding (not verified)

Does the WDIDLE utility work with the newest Red drives? If so you should be able to check head parking/TLER settings and see if it's actually running a gimped fimrware. The 4TB Reds I pulled out of WD Externals all had retail firmware though, so that's promising at least.

March 24, 2016 | 11:55 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

If it was a hot-swappable (with a door) WD external then it should absolutely have fully branded Reds installed (the retail packaging of those products states Reds are equipped).

March 24, 2016 | 01:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Read this. Went to best buy and bought one. Have a HGST enterprise drive in my PC now. Thanks for the heads up.

March 24, 2016 | 02:36 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

Nice! I wonder if they are all these HGST drives right now... I didn't have a date of manufacture on the box I purchased.

March 26, 2016 | 03:03 PM - Posted by Stereodude (not verified)

I got one from Best Buy yesterday after seeing this article. Mine had a HUH728080ALE601 in it.

Some people have found a WD80EZZX (still a HGST He8 drive, but spinning at 5400rpm) in their My Book 8TB shells, but I don't know where they all bought from. I know one person with a WD80EZZX in their shell bought from Amazon.

April 1, 2016 | 11:15 PM - Posted by smapdi

I just got mine from a local BestBuy and it's the WD80EZZX variety.

Oh well, I'm still happy to get a new 8TB RED for about $110 cheaper than if I bought it from NewEgg, Amazon or MicroCenter.

March 24, 2016 | 11:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice find, PCPer, thx for the tip :)

March 25, 2016 | 09:46 AM - Posted by zhoulander (not verified)

See this link:

From a WD staff member:

"I've got the answer what happened. Your My Cloud is one of the very first untis that was produced, therefore the drive inside has this white label (as there was no other label available a this time).

Next is: your My Cloud is the Single drive version where active TLER would be a malus, not a benefit.
Therefore this drive in the Single Bay My Cloud correctly does not support this feature.
If an error would happen and TLER would be active, then it would cause more problems than help in any single drive environment. TLER is a feature needed for Multi-Bay units and at least RAID 1 configurations."

and also:

"this special drive would be higher than a WD Black reagrding performance but not rotation speed. WD Black would be 7,200 rpm but the HelioSeal are 5,400 rpm. Again, with higher performance.

The WD Red 8 TB now has WD80EFRZ naming."

March 25, 2016 | 04:11 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The support guy is only partially right here. The label thing makes sense, and TLER *might* be disabled (I don't think he knows for sure), but we can absolutely confirm that the relabeled He was spinning at 7200 RPM because the same unit spinning at 5400 RPM is not capable of the same transfer speeds. It would have performed more like a Red in that respect. Also, the drive itself reported itself as a 7200 RPM unit.

March 25, 2016 | 11:43 PM - Posted by Stereodude (not verified)

Yes, but you didn't find a WD80EZZX in the enclosure you opened up. Other people have. I haven't seen any benchmarks of the WD80EZZX.

March 28, 2016 | 01:40 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Yeah. It makes sense that the WD80xxxx labeled unit would be 5400, as that drive is more of a 'white label' version of the Red than a relabeled 7200 RPM He8.

March 26, 2016 | 01:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Reminds me of the early 4TB Seagate External Drives.

The early ones all had 4TB 5 platter 7200 rpm Seagate Constellation ES.3 drives with hardware ECC and 128mB cache (The highest cache in a hard drive at the time).

I have one still chugging along today in my computer and am still kicking myself for not getting more of them (I got mine in a crazy sale also)

March 29, 2016 | 10:14 AM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

I picked up one of these from Best Buy and mine has the HGST enterprise drive too. Drive ID shows "HGST HUH728080ALE601" when I plug it in via SATA.

March 29, 2016 | 06:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Is there some way of seeing the drive ID without removing the hard drive from the case and connecting SATA plugs in other words just having it plugged in with the normal USB 3.0 connection? How are guys opening the case without damaging it so it can be returned?
I called WD tech support and gave them my serial number. He said the drive was manufactured Dec 22 2015 and that it was Red drive. Is it really the HGST, and he's just giving me the company line? On the base of the case it says P/N WD8FJKOO8OHBK. Is this only the 5400 RPM?

April 2, 2016 | 02:21 PM - Posted by Malichite

The MyBook that I ordered from BestBuy the day the story was posted also has the P/N WDBFJK0080HBK and it is indeed a 5400 RPM drive.

April 4, 2016 | 02:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

When I connect the My Book WD 8TB usb3.0 to my laptop and run the HDDSCAN ( program it lists the unit's drive partnumber in the list.

I have a My Book WD 8TB (DCM#-GEBHMCK). Upon startup each drive for my laptop is listed including external drives. The entry for the My Book is labled HUH728080ALE601.

So you can see without opening the unit with this program.

April 14, 2016 | 06:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm glad I checked back weeks later on this thread because I gave up on figuring out whether it was really an HGST spinning at 7200 until I saw the one commentators suggestion of installing HDDscan app. After I run it says I have a HGST HUH728080ALE601 and my RPM is 7200. Woo Hoo! Now I'm psyched!! I too have DCM: GEBHMCK on the bottom of the retail box.

February 17, 2017 | 03:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have a My Book WD 8TB (DCM#-GEBHMCK). Upon startup each drive for my laptop is listed including external drives. The entry for the My Book is labled HUH728080ALE601. attorney

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