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Western Digital 6TB Black and 6TB Red Pro Review - Bigger and Faster!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction and Specifications

Introduction:

It has been a while since we took a look at some hard drives here at PC Perspective. While seemingly everyone is pushing hard into Solid State Storage, those spinning platters have gotten the computer industry by for several decades, and they won't be going away any time soon so long as magnetic domains can store bits for cheaper than electrons can. SSDs have been eating away at the market for OS and single drive mobile needs, but when it comes to bulk storage, nothing beats a great hard drive for the money. Since many users would rather avoid maintaining a large array of drives, getting the capacity of each 3.5" unit higher is still a need, especially for storage hungry consumers. Enterprise units have been pushing into 8TB territory lately, but the consumer sweet spot currently remains at 6TB. Western Digital entered this area in July of last year, pushing their popular Green and Red lines up to 6TB. While the capacity was great, those two lines are mean to be power saving, slower spinning drives. When platter speeds are low, the laws of physics (and of rotational latency) kick in and dictate that they could never perform as well as their 7200 RPM counterparts.

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...and now they have filled that gap, with their Black and Red Pro models now made available in up to 6TB capacities. To clarify the product lines here, the Green and Black products are intended for usage as a single drive, while the Red and Red Pro are meant for operating in NAS devices and use in a RAID. The two drives in this review are the faster spinning models, so we should see better performance all around. Spinning those platters faster means more power drawn and more heat generated by air friction across the platters, as we can look into below:

Specifications:

Western Digital Red Pro 6TB:

  • Model: WD6001FFWX
  • Max Sequential Read: 214 MB/s
  • Form Factor: 3.5”
  • Interface Type: SATA 6.0 Gb/s (SATA 3)
  • UBER: <1 in 1015
  • Power (active/idle/standby): 10.6W/7.4W/1.6W
  • Warranty: 5 years

Western Digital Black 6TB:

  • Model: WD6001FZWX
  • Max Sequential: 218 MB/s
  • Form Factor: 3.5”
  • Interface Type: SATA 6.0 Gb/s (SATA 3)
  • UBER: <1 in 1014
  • Power (active/idle/standby): 10.6W/7.6W/1.6W
  • Warranty: 5 years

For comparison, the slower spinning 6TB Red and Green models run at 5.3W/3.4W/0.4W. Lesson learned - moving from ~5400 RPM to 7200 RPM roughly doubles the power draw of a high capacity 3.5" HDD. Other manufacturers are doing things like hermetically sealing their drives and filling them with Helium, but that is a prohibitively expensive proposition for consumer / small business drives, which is what the Black and Red Pro lines are meant to satisfy. It has also been proven that Helium filled drives are not the best if their track geometry is not optimized as well as it could be.


September 9, 2015 | 10:47 PM - Posted by yourlord (not verified)

On the internals page you quote the caches on these drives in GB, not MB. I wish I had a drive with 128GB of DRAM cache on it!

September 9, 2015 | 10:55 PM - Posted by brisa117

Haha. I was just thinking the same thing when I read that. Although I suppose that would make it similar to the hybrid drives that Seagate releases. But I think those only have like 20GB of flash. Not sure what 128GB would do.

September 10, 2015 | 12:04 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Unfortunately those only have 8GB (used to have 4GB), which is really not enough IMO.

September 10, 2015 | 12:01 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Fixed - thanks!

September 10, 2015 | 03:49 PM - Posted by yourlord (not verified)

"A point to bring up here is that the 5TB and 6TB models of these two lines come equipped with 128GB of DRAM cache, up from the 64MB used on smaller capacities"

You fixed all but the 1st occurrence in that paragraph.

September 9, 2015 | 11:20 PM - Posted by Charles Anderson (not verified)

First paragraph you have "cleaper" instead of "cheaper." Other than that, good review. Thanks.

September 10, 2015 | 12:02 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Corrected. Thanks!

September 11, 2015 | 01:41 AM - Posted by Mark Harry (not verified)

Thank you for your patience. I don't have any for spelling checkers, when the article is great.

September 10, 2015 | 08:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Same paragraph "... those two lines are mean to be power saving ..."
Is that supposed to read "... those two lines are meant to be power saving ..."

September 10, 2015 | 12:01 AM - Posted by JxcelDolghmQ (not verified)

Still waiting on 2tb Velociraptors

September 10, 2015 | 01:11 AM - Posted by baker269

The WD Black 4TB wd4003fzex has been available for the last couple years and is a nice improvement over the WD Black 4TB wd4001faex. I'm surprised it wasn't included or used instead of the older drive in the review.

September 10, 2015 | 01:19 AM - Posted by Hakuren

Well what can I say, about time WD released something bigger and a bit more consumer friendly (price-wise) than Re. With TLER on Pros I can start to consider them too. I firmly believe in HGST, but I also have soft spot for WD. It's good that they moved into 5/6TB area and finally ditched that relic of HDD tech - 5400 rpm.

September 10, 2015 | 03:22 PM - Posted by Cyclops

Allyn, I can't tell from the picture but is the cache DDR3? 512 MB modules have been available for quite sometime. Why wouldn't they just put one of those in instead of that 128 MB chip?

Cost shouldn't be an issue, so would it be a programming challenge to take advantage of extra cache?

September 10, 2015 | 05:17 PM - Posted by Lance Ripplinger (not verified)

"A point to bring up here is that the 5TB and 6TB models of these two lines come equipped with 128GB of DRAM cache, up from the 64MB used on smaller capacities. " You better fix that.

September 10, 2015 | 06:20 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Bigger!
Faster!
LESS RELIABLE!
MORE EXPENSIVE!
Buy it now, sheeps!

September 11, 2015 | 04:24 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Do you have a single fact to back that up?

On a more positive note, I think this is the first time you've ever managed to write a post without using the word "godlike". Congratulations!

September 13, 2015 | 08:18 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Is there really newer velocitier raptors coming?

September 13, 2015 | 08:18 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Is there really newer velocitier raptors coming?

January 10, 2018 | 06:32 AM - Posted by Anonyymi (not verified)

Correction to specs: Red Pro has UBER <10 in 10^15, which is same as <1 in 10^14.
Cheap marketing trick easy to miss.

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