Clicky

WD Red 8TB helium-packed NAS hard drive review #sponsored

WD Red 8TB hard drive

£339
8.9

Build quality

9.0/10

Design

9.0/10

Ease of use

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Great value for size and tech
  • NAS oriented features

Cons

  • I only have one HDD at the moment

wd red 8tbI’ve been itching for an excuse to get a real NAS system for a while. Western Digital (WD) has handed it to me on a plate thanks to the release of their 8TB Red hard drives.

Anyone familiar with the Western Digital Red hard drives will already be aware that these are specially designed for network-attached storage devices or NAS.

WD implements their NASWare 3.0 firmware in the Red range which optimises your drives for maximum compatibility and reliability.

To combat known NAS issues like vibration, reliability and temperature. WD designed the WD Red drives with 3D Active Balance Plus anti-vibration technology. This tech mitigates any reduction in performance or drive degradation caused by excessive vibration and noise.

The drives are also intended to operate with lower temperatures and reduced power consumption. WD Red drives are rated with an MTBF of 1 million hours.

This all makes the Western Digital Red drives the perfect solution for SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) and SME (Small/Medium Enterprise) environments. This is because they allow larger storage for growing demands e.g. 64TB for 8-bay NAS devices, giving you more data real-estate in single appliances. These new WD 8TB drives feature HelioSeal helium-technology, allowing for much larger capacities.

But what does all that mean?

WD Red 8TB in the home

Both me and my partner work from home quite a lot and having a central repository that we can access from anywhere via a web browser is important to us. As is having a reliable back-up of anything we are in the process of doing.

We have a fair mixture of images, text documents and video; so, having a decent amount of storage space is also important.

As well as work, I have a digital movie and music archive which I want to transfer to NAS. With a movie being able to take up more than 8GB of storage space, having room is a must. With a WD Red loaded NAS we should be able to store plenty on a single, fast, reliable and secure hard drive.

WD NASware 3.0 is integrated with the WD Red drives extending their compatibility and functionality up to 8-bay NAS systems. I have opted for the 2-bay QNAP TS-251 as it matches what our requirements are but the one thing I was sure of, it was going to be loaded with WD Red.

The WD Red drives offer significant advantages because they were designed to operate with less heat, compensate for vibration and maintain significant read improvements over their vanilla desktop counterpart.

HDD Vs SSD

These days everyone is loading up their machines with SSDs (Solid State Drives) and I am one of them. In my PC tower, as well as my faithful 1TB spinner, I have 3 SSDs. I have one 120GB that is purely for the computer’s operating system and then a pair of Corsair Force 250GB for my games and video editing.

SSDs are great because they’re ultra fast and can squirt the data through like nobody’s business. The thing is that they’re still relatively expensive if you want larger capacities. Traditional hard drives can still trump SSDs at cost per gigabyte but usually at the expense of performance.

HDDs also have to work with limited platter density and that 3.5-inch form factor. It might be larger than SSDs, but hard drives have to pack quite a bit of machinery into that shell and still try to keep them cool.

Western Digital’s new Red 8TB platters are filled with helium and then sealed. This helps it in all matter of ways.

Why helium?

Helium is a 1/7 the density of air and is used to cool such things as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imagine) machines in hospitals – I knew my 13 years in medical imaging would come in useful one day!

Having the discs sealed in a helium atmosphere reduces power consumption. It also produces less heat, produces fewer vibrations, makes less noise, and allows for greater drive capacity.

This all adds up to a much lower total cost of operation. The drives are expensive to manufacture, but that cost is recovered in energy savings and performance gains.

WD Red 8TB design

OK, it looks like a hard drive.

It is a standard 3.5-inch drive which is clearly labeled with all you need to know.

WD Red NAS 8TBYou only really notice the difference when you pick it up. It’s very heavy.

This is due to the fact that, unlike 6TB models which boosted aerial density to achieve their higher capacities, the 8TB version has a total of seven platters stacked into its chassis.

Now, this is where that helium cleverness comes in. This helps Western Digital be able to cram seven platters inside a chassis that’s really only meant for six.

The platters are stacked closer together and, since helium is lighter than air, there’s less turbulence as the platters spin. This allows them to spin closer together without the additional worry of the individual disks slamming into each other. This use of helium is why, when you flip the 8TB RED over, you’ll notice no air hole. This is a completely sealed unit.

WD Red 8TB specifications

If you need more facts and figures, here are some interesting specifications.

Finding the 8TB Red we can see that it uses the SATA 6Gb/s interface with a formatted capacity of 8TB.

WD Red NAS 8TB backThe form factor is the standard 3.5-inch spinner with Advanced Format and Native Command Queuing support.

Looking further down into the performance section: the internal transfer rate is listed at 178 MB/s featuring a 128MB cache and a 5400 RPM Class spindle speed. Load/Unload is listed at 600,000 while the MTBF is at one million hours.

I am sure that all will be excellent news to some of you, whilst others may have moved on shortly after you saw the chart. For the latter group of people, I feel your pain. Suffice it to say, this is an impressive hard drive.

WD Red 8TB performance

If you already have a NAS at home or in your small business then you probably would rather not have to buy a new appliance in order to increase storage.

Thankfully, then, with the new WD Red 8TB a 2-bay NAS device like my QNAP TS-251 could store 16TB with only 2 drives. Previously you would be looking at spreading that over 4 x 4TB drives. This fact alone brings with it reduced power consumption and less vibration with less drives. Not only that though, but an increase in capacity and, depending on your RAID configuration, you can have increased performance as well.

wd red 8tb qnap nasIn terms of performance, the drive delivers excellent raw numbers for both read and write.

At an average of 178MB/s its got excellent transfer rate especially for something that packs so much data across those sardined platters. WD has obviously made great efforts in keeping the WD Red within a certain power and heat envelope; as well as improving capacity and performance.

WD Red 8TB hard drive review conclusion

If you already have a NAS at home or in your small business, then you probably would rather not have to buy a new appliance in order to increase storage.

Thankfully, then, with the new WD Red 8TB a 2-bay NAS device like my QNAP TS-251 could store 16TB with only 2 drives. Previously you would be looking at spreading that over 4 x 4TB drives. This fact alone brings with it reduced power consumption and less vibration with less drives. Not only that though, but an increase in capacity and, depending on your RAID configuration, you can have increased performance as well.

In terms of performance, the drive delivers excellent raw numbers for both read and write.

At an average of 178MB/s its got excellent transfer rate especially for something that packs so much data across those sardined platters. WD has obviously made great efforts in keeping the WD Red within a certain power and heat envelope; as well as improving capacity and performance.

WD Red 8TB hard drive price and availability

The WD Red 8TB (Model: WD80EFZX) is available now direct from Western Digital’s website for £339.00 incl. VAT.

WD backs the WD Red 8TB with a 3-year warranty.

I partnered with the brand to write this article but every word is mine

WD Red 8TB helium-packed NAS hard drive review #sponsored

by Jay Garrett time to read: 6 min
0