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on August 20, 2012
Here is a quote from a review at

I'm going to let the cat out of the bag right here and now. Everyone's home RAID is likely an accident waiting to happen. If you're using regular consumer drives in a large array, there are some very simple (and likely) scenarios that can cause it to completely fail. I'm guilty of operating under this same false hope - I have an 8-drive array of 3TB WD Caviar Greens in a RAID-5. For those uninitiated, RAID-5 is where one drive worth of capacity is volunteered for use as parity data, which is distributed amongst all drives in the array. This trick allows for no data loss in the case where a single drive fails. The RAID controller can simply figure out the missing data by running the extra parity through the same formula that created it. This is called redundancy, but I propose that it's not.

Since I'm also guilty here with my huge array of Caviar Greens, let me also say that every few weeks I have a batch job that reads *all* data from that array. Why on earth would I need to occasionally and repeatedly read 21TB of data from something that should already be super reliable? Here's the failure scenario for what might happen to me if I didn't:
* 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.

At this point the way forward varies from controller to controller, but the long and short of it is that the data is at extreme risk of loss. There are ways to get it all back (most likely without that one bad sector on drive 3), but none of them are particularly easy. Now you may be asking yourself how enterprises run huge RAIDs and don't see this sort of problem? The answer is Time Limited Error Recovery - where the hard drive assumes it is part of an array, assumes there is redundancy, and is not afraid to quickly tell the host controller that it just can't complete the current I/O request.

Here's how that scenario would have played out if the drives implemented some form of TLER:
* Array starts off operating as normal, but drive 3 has developed a bad sector several weeks ago. This went unnoticed because the bad sector was part of a rarely accessed file.
* During operation, drive 1 encounters a new bad sector.
* Drive 1 makes a few read attempts and then reports a CRC error to the RAID controller.
* The RAID controller maps out the bad sector, locating it elsewhere on the drive. The missing sector is rebuilt using parity data from the other drives in the array.
*Array continues normal operation, with the error added to its event log.

The above scenario is what would play out with an Areca RAID controller (I've verified this personally). Other controllers may behave differently. A controller unable to do a bad sector remap might have just marked drive 1 as bad, but the key is that the rebuild would be much less likely to fail as drive 3 would not drop completely offline once the controller ran into the additional bad sector. The moral of this story is that typical consumer grade drives have data error timeouts that are far longer than the drive offline timeout of typical RAID controllers, and without some form of TLER, two bad sectors (totaling 1024 bytes) is all that's required to put multiple terabytes of data in grave danger.

The Solution:
The solution should be simple - just get some drives with TLER. The problem is that until now those were prohibitively expensive. Enterprise drives have all sorts of added features like accelerometers and pressure sensors to compensate for sliding in and out of a server rack while operating, as well as dealing with rapid pressure changes that take place when the server room door opens and the forced air circulation takes a quick detour. Those features just aren't needed in that home NAS sitting on your bookshelf. What *is* needed is a WD Caviar Green that has TLER, and Western Digital delivers that in their new Red drives.

End quote and back to reviewer.
I've got 5 of these in a Synology DiskStation 5-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage (DS1512+). It is really a sweet setup.

The Synology software has a S.M.A.R.T. test that can do surface scans to detect bad sectors. I have their Quick Test check every disk daily and the Extended Test set to automatically run on each of the 5 disks every weekend. (The Extended Test takes about 5 hours per disk so I separate the tests by 12 hours.)
162162 comments| 1,693 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 3, 2014
On Windows it comes out to 5.45TB. I transferred a little over 2TB to it and average write speed was 110MB/s. Right now it's just sitting on top of my computer case but after that long transfer I used a temp gun and the surface of the case was 87F and the drive was 101F.


I just purchased a second drive and did some testing on it while blank and uploaded the results under customer images to the right.
review image review image review image review image
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on November 29, 2012
If you're looking at this review, you're probably in the market for some honkin' big drives to stuff into a server or a NAS box. These Western Digital "Red" series drives are probably a total waste of money if you're planning to put them into a regular PC. If you're not doing a raid array of some kind, then save your money and buy the green or black series drives instead. If you're looking to set up a raid array of some sort, these are a bargain. They aren't the fastest drives, but they are rated to run 24x7 serving up data! Their 3 year warranty is above the current industry standard for consumer hard drives.

For my home-made FreeNAS (google it!) NAS/Server, I bought 5 WD Red drives from Adorama (purchased through Amazon) and 1 drive directly from Amazon.

The one drive from Amazon came very well packaged, double boxed in what looks like a WD cardboard box with a shock absorbing cradle. Very well packaged for shipment. Honestly, Amazon has been stellar for packaging boxes for shipment.

The 5 hard drives from Adorama came in a big box which 'clunked' when it was tilted. Opening the box revealed some big plastic pillow air strips, and 5 loose smaller boxes. Inside each of the smaller boxes was a few pillows and a factory bagged hard drive. There were not enough pillows in each box to securely cushion the hard drives against rattling around, so there's a high likelihood of damage in shipment. BAD SHIPPERS! NO DONUT!

Anyway, getting on to the performance of the drives... I'm running 6 drives in a ZFS RaidZ2 array. They are all controlled using an IBM M1015 PCIE 8x SATA 3 controller which has been flashed to be an HBA providing JBOD to the ZFS OS. That's a lotta acronyms! The speed of the array is quite fast... more than fast enough to saturate a gigabit network. I currently have about 5TB of data stored on the 10TB array.

On to the bad stuff...
One of the drives (I haven't checked the serial number to see which shipper it came from) is starting to give signs of premature failure after about 70 hours of operation. During a scrub of the data pool, drive DA5 is experiencing unreadable sectors. Luckily ZFS is able to calculate the correct values for the corrupted data, and is busily recreating the data onto another part of the drive. ZFS rocks for data reliability! If the drive does turn out to be bad, I have a WD Green 3TB drive that I can put into the array as a hot swap temporarily until the failed drive can be replaced. *UPDATE* The ZFS scrub just finished, and it repaired 1.53MB of data, with no data loss. Did I mention that ZFS rocks?

Warning/Advice about Data Storage:
Note 1: If you're going to be using these drives, or any data storage device for that matter, make sure that you take into account that these are highly fragile and delicate devices which can be easily damaged in shipment, or just plain up and fail when you least expect it. You really need to use some sort of redundant array of drives so that if one drive fails, your data doesn't vanish. In my case, the final configuration is going to be 6 drives in a RaidZ2 (dual parity striping), which means that my data stays intact and accessible even if 2 drives fail simultaneously. Also, there is going to be a 3TB Green drive as a hot spare that can take over for any failed drive in the array. With the hot-spare, my data can survive the loss of 3 drives without losing data (as long as the failures don't happen all at the same time).
Note 2: Always, always, always have a backup. In my case, I have two external 3TB USB3.0 drives which will be used only for backup purposes. Every so often, I'll backup the critical data onto the drives and stash them in my locker at work. If you don't have TrueCrypt, google it and see why your backup removable drives should be using it. If someone steals the drives, they only get the drives and not my data.

I'm giving 5 stars for the drives that work... 1 star for the failing drive... averages to about 4 stars score! I'll update this review once I have details on how the drives do in a week or so. Currently it ain't looking too good for drive DA5!
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on August 3, 2015
I am sorry but WD's warranty is a joke. Bought two brand new HDDs, one failed a few months after being in my RAID 1 NAS. Returned under warranty (had to pay for shipping) - got back a RECERTIFIED HDD. Which, of course, failed after 1 month and lost ALL data. Returned it again (had to pay for shipping) - again got a RECERTIFIED HDD which was simply DOA and could not start at all. So their "5 year warranty" is simply feeding you with faulty recertified HDDs until you run out of money for shipping them dead ones. Great idea, WD. Sorry, cannot trust you my data anymore. Going to your competitors.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 27, 2015
For users who do not know about the "load count problem," here is an explanation and solution.
Since this hard drive's introduction, users have consistently reported premature failures and data corruption. These complaints were well warranted, for the manufacturer has shorten the life cycle of this computer component by design.
The source of the problem is Western Digital's attempt to make the device "more green" - use less electricity. One way to accomplish this goal is to park the heads on a plastic pad after eight seconds of no read/write requests instead of allowing them to float over the spinning platters of the hard drive. This adds up to 10,800 cycles each day. The numerous scrapings gradually wears out the heads. According to some literature, 250,000 to 1,250,000 cycles will result in damage that will lead to read/write errors. If you do the math, data corruption will begin within 23.148 to 115.741 days if you are employing the hard drive on a heavily used server. Regular consumers will not notice read/write problems until later. Some WD drives reported 3,000 to 5,000 cycles per day. At this rate, the first instances of data corruption will begin within 83.33 to 250 days.
From my experience, early data loss will not be noticed by the average user. There are no signs of trouble if work files are not accessed, edited, and save. With numerous usages, lost sectors on the hard drive appear and indexes become corrupted. Then, damages become apparent. During bootup, Windows OS will begin employing Check Disk (chkdsk/f) to repair errors. Chunks of bad information get deleted and corrupted indexes are re-corrected during the process. Eventually, 50%-to-60% drive gets wiped out before the user realizes the problem. He accesses a file, and there is none. Using a file manager, further examinations reveal other missing data. This degradation takes time - months to a year depending on computer usage.
Nevertheless, six years of complains have forced the manufacturer to do something - provided a firmware fix. WDIDLE3.EXE software is used to reset the parking cycle to as high as five minutes. For normal users, this change brings down the parking cycle to 133 per day. This is within the industrial average. Most drives experience 10 to 200 per day and are rated around 600,000. WDIDLE3.EXE can also turn off head parking. Unfortunately, this is not recommended. Users have reported that drive speed was reduced to a crawl or exhibited read/write problems.
This solution is a masterpiece in public relations. Instead of deactivating or eliminating the eight second head parking cycle on newly manufactured drives, WD forces the user to make the firmware change after the sale. The process is not easy, and the company's website does not explain or provide any information - it provides just the software. The procedure requires unplugging all other devices that are connected to SATA ports and numerous resets to the BIOS. The computer must boot in DOS via a CD or USB 2.0 thumb drive and typing the required codes. Just finding the necessary software to create the booting device is a pain.
As a result, non-technical consumers will not do anything and allow their hard drives to malfunction. For the "techkies," it will take hours of research, internet searches, and trial-and-error. Hopefully, they will also be discouraged. In one stroke, the company has placated the critics and still maintain high sales volume.
I have already done the necessary work. So, here is the easiest procedure using a booting USB 2.0 drive.
GO TO GOOGLE AND DOWNLOAD THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS. . . . I can not provide links because the Amazon server automatically deletes their location.
. . . . . HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool
. . . . . Z-Zip
. . . . . wdidle3.exe
. . . . . FreeDOS (fd11src.iso)
. . . . . 1. Install Z-Zip
. . . . . 2. Use Z-Zip to extract HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and FreeDOS iso.
. . . . . 3. Install the HP software.
. . . . . 4. Install a USB 2.0 flash drive on one of computer's USB 2.0 ports.
. . . . . . . Right-click the HP icon.
. . . . . . . Exit the program.
. . . . . 5. Activate the HP program by clicking its icon.
. . . . . . . Select FAT for FILE SYSTEM
. . . . . . . Place a check mark on CREATE DOS STARTUP DISK
. . . . . . . Go to USING DOS SYSTEM FILES LOCATED AT and point to the
. . . . . . . . . . subdirectory of the FreeDOS files. It is \FREEDOS\SETUP\ODIN
. . . . . 6. Format the USB 2.0 flash drive. Depending on the size, it will take time.
. . . . . 7. Use WINDOWS EXPLORER to copy WDIDLE3.EXE to your formatted USB 2.0 flash drive.
. . . . . 1. Deactivate all devices connected to your SATA ports by pulling out their two cords. You do not want WDIDLE3.EXE to corrupt their firmware settings.
. . . . . 2. Connect your Western Digital Red Hard Drive.
. . . . . 1. Go into your PC's BIOS setting.
. . . . . 2. Turn AHCI off. This will enable your flash drive to be recognized.
. . . . . 3. Set the thumb drive as the first bootable drive.
. . . . . 4. Save your BIOS settings and exit.
RESTART YOUR COMPUTER. Your thumb drive should boot the computer and go into MS-DOS.
. . . . . 1. Type "wdidle3.exe" without the quotes and press ENTER. This will activate the program.
. . . . . 2. Type "wdidle3.exe /r" without the quotes and press ENTER. This will show the current timeout. The factory default is eight seconds.
. . . . . 3. Type "wdidle3.exe /s300" without the quotes and press ENTER. This changes the autopark timer to 300 seconds or five minutes - the maximum allowed.
. . . . . 4. Type "wdidle3.exe /r" without the quotes and press ENTER. This will check that the hard drive has accepted the change.
. . . . . 5. Shut off your PC.
IF YOU NEED TO PROCESS ANOTHER HARD DRIVE, pull out the two connecting cables, attach them to the next Western Digital Red drive, and repeat the above process.
. . . . . 1. Turn on your PC
. . . . . 2. Go back into your PC BIOS setting.
. . . . . 3. Turn AHCI on.
. . . . . 4. Change your boot order.
. . . . . 5. Save your settings and exit.
This is a lot of confusing work. Unfortunately, there is no other alternative for fixing a flawed hard drive and preventing it from self destructing. . . . It is your money.
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on August 18, 2012
After about six months of searching for the perfect drive, I finally settled on two of these Western Digital Red 2TB WD20EFRX hard drives. I was ready to purchase HGST enterprise drives, the former Hitachi, but WD came out with these drives just in-time. I wanted to get the 3TB WD30EFRX version for my Synology DS212 NAS, but the price difference didn't make that much of a sense, and 2TB drives are more than enough for a few years of my home office use. I am very happy that these drives MTBFs are rated at 1,000,000 hours, they use less power, and they are cheaper than other enterprise drives.

Upon receiving, I immediately installed them in my NAS. It took about 15 minutes to install DSM 4 and begin the inspection process. I neither chose Raid 1, JBOD, or SHR, and I took some online advice and created two separate volumes, one on each disk, to have two independent file systems. In this case, you don't have to worry about rebuilding disk arrays if any drives fail, and you always have a backup present. I was planning on using Folder Sync feature to sync all folders from Disk 1 to Disk 2 every other hour, but I found out this feature only works on two independent Synology Disk Stations; however, you can use automated backup feature to backup data from Disk 1 into Disk 2, and it produces about the same result as Folder Sync does, and it gives you a few more options for backing up system and application files as well.

Synology volume creation took about 7 hours for each drive with automatic bad sector reallocation feature. I later tested each drive with S.M.A.R.T extended test--each took about 4 hours--and I am happy to report that I did not have any bad sectors on either of the drives. That is, the "Reallocated Sector Count" reads zero in S.M.A.R.T report.

The drives are surprisingly quiet. I had an enterprise RE2 500GB in my NAS, and it was thunderstorm loud compared to these. The temperature is also very reasonable. When the drive is resting it is about 31C/88F, and under heavy usage it rises up to 35C/95F. Although these drives speed are only 5000 rpm, I don't see any difference in file transfer speed. The only downside that I could sense was the startup time from sleep. I feel that compared to my old WD RE2 drive, it takes a good 2 to 5 seconds more for the NAS to come out of sleep each time. Not a deal breaker, but something to consider when you invest in these drives.

I think WD has done a good job with these drives, and they are currently the best on the market for home or home office use. That being said, I still think WD RE4 drives are the best enterprise drives and ultimate in performance; however, if you are looking for a good set of drives for your NAS, and the power consumption and noise are important to you, these WD Red drives will work just fine. Compared to desktop drives, these come with a few enterprise features that come in handy and will save you some time and money down the road.
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on January 6, 2014
So WD apparently has no ability to perform the most basic configuration management at their factories.

Once again the "load cycle count" issue has returned to their line of drives. If you don't know what this is you can Google, but basically the drive repeatedly parks the drive heads, thousands of times a day, because of an improper firmware setting on the drive. The drives are only rated to 600,000 load cycles and with them ticking of once every few seconds the drive will exceed its rating in less than a year.

This can be corrected by the user but it is a pain and requires you have certain hardware/software to do. Probably beyond most users. Exchanging the drive may or may not help because you have no idea if the next drive will have the same erroneous setting.

This has happened many times in the past few years, check the reviews for this and other WD drives. WD acknowledges this is the incorrect setting as do many NAS vendors that recommend these drives. And yet, WD can't seem to help itself from setting the IDLE3 parameter wrong every few months. This is a sign that they simply are unable to perform basic configuration management in their production facilities. If you can't manage that you don't belong in the HD business.

For reference, Google WDIDLE3 for how to fix this problem - but you better have a machine you can boot to a DOS image in order to use it. Alternatively return your WD drive and buy the equivalent Seagate drive instead. They have a nice NAS ready drive equivalent to the WD Red and they know how to set IDLE3 correctly.
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on November 5, 2013
Load cycle count issue has returned. Seems to a problem with Netgear readynas, synology and qnap NAS units.
Red drives up to 3 tb are ok with these devices, but the 4 tb accumulates load cycles very rapidly, potentially shortening the useful life of the drive.
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on March 17, 2014
Purchased 5 of these drives and put into a very low-use server in RAID5. The activity on the server is very low, until night time when we do mysqldumps to it, so it's only used for about an hour per day to store files.

So far, it's been about 40 days, and one of the drives already stopped working. Since this was a RAID5 volume, the server is still alive. Unfortunately, I have to buy a replacement of the same drive since we need to have the same exact drives for the raid to work.

For comparison, I had 12 desktop class seagates in a similar backup server for 4 years (2TB drives) and not a single one broke. WD has been producing more and more crap recently. We've had similar luck with our enterprise class drives from them too.
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on November 22, 2015
Solid drive, its been running 24/7 now for 6 months with no issues. After past experiences with WD with over 40k hours on working drives, I can't say I didn't expect another super product when i bought these. Keep in mind RED = RAIDS, Black = Performance, Blue = Desktop, Green = Tree Hugger, Purple = DVR/Camera. they all have different Firmware to protect YOUR DATA. Buy what is correct for your needs!

I have to compare these to other drives I have purchased in the same design and competition, doing so these have exceeded all other brands I have bought in the last year. The test I have specifically for these drives was ran on from Windows 2008r2 server Xeon X3430 16gb RAM with a LSI 9260 controller that had 6 WD red3tb drives in a RAID 10 configuration. Keep in mind the 3tb drives are only a 5400rpm drive while the 4tb and above were all 7200s. Had i known this when i bought them I would have bought the 4tbs.

The pictures below are the speed tests I have locally on the SAN. Much higher than I can achieve over 2x1gb connections. So all is good from what i see!
review image
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