WD has recently revamped its lineup of hard drives to aid the company in making its product port folio more approachable to consumers. In recent years, WD has had numerous new lineups join its existing WD Green, WD Blue and WD Black consumer portfolio of hard drive products with the release of the WD Red and WD Purple hard drives. Add to that the existing WD Re lineup of a data-centre solution and that makes six in total to get to know. While its not a problem for us enthusiasts to familiarize ourselves with these products, WD understands the challenges of getting consumers to get acquainted with the product lineup to answer the basic question of the what’s the proper, right or best WD hard drive for a certain task. That said, Western Digital has opted to optimize its product stack by doing the following: 1) consolidate its mainstream offering by unifying the WD Green and WD Blue and 2) attribute a color to a specific function.
Bearing that in mind, Western Digital now introduces the new WD hard drive product lineup featuring the new categories: WD Blue, WD Black, WD Red, WD Purple and the recently announced WD Gold.
WD Drive Category Breakdown
WD Blue offers the features and entry-level capacities that are ideal for your computing needs.
WD Blue recommended for use in notebooks, external enclosures and certain industrial applications.
WD Blue SSHD
WD Blue SSHD introduces high-performance NAND flash SSD technology to the huge storage capabilities of traditional HDD storage – uniting both to enhance the computing experience. A single WD Blue SSHD drive provides an optimized, all-in-one solution which synergizes SSD-like performance, and massive HDD storage capacity in a single device.
An optimal amount of built-in NAND flash SSD technology enables WD Blue SSHDs to perform at up to four to five times faster than traditional 5400 rpm HDDs, based on PCMark Vantage.
WD Blue SSHDs are compatible with most typical computer configurations, including PC and Mac.
High performance, high capacity, high reliability, and cutting-edge technology make up WD Black, the ideal drive for those who demand only the best.
WD Black hard drives combine a high performance 7200 RPM spin speed, 16 MB cache and SATA 6 Gb/s interface for the ultimate in power computing for notebooks.
WD Black drives feature a dual processor and bigger, faster dynamic cache for maximum read and write speeds.
Twice the processing power to maximize performance.
With drives up to 8TB, WD Red offers a wide array of solutions for customers looking to build the biggest, best-performing NAS storage solution. Built for single-bay to 8-bay NAS systems, WD Red packs the power to store your precious data in one powerhouse unit. It has also a noise and vibration protection.
NASware 3.0’s advanced technology improves system’s storage performance by increasing compatibility, integration, upgradeability, and reliability.
WD Red NAS hard drives are specifically designed with RAID error recovery control to help reduce failures within the NAS system.
Red NASware increases drives’ compatibility with devices such as TV, stereo and more.
With an MTBF of up to 1 million hours, the WD Red drive with NASware 3.0 is designed for the 24×7 environment.
By reducing power consumption, the operating temperature of NAS stays cool. With a lower temperature in your system, you can create a more reliable solution for your NAS.
WD Red Pro
WD Red Pro is designed to handle an increase in workload. It also has a dual-plane balance control that reduces the degradation of drive over time.
WD Red Pro comes equipped with NASware 3.0, which increases system compatibility allowing seamless integration with your existing network infrastructure. Add value to your business by enabling your employees to quickly share their files and back up folders reliably with WD Red Pro NAS hard drives in your NAS solution.
WD Red Pro is a reflection of the most extensive NAS partner compatibility-testing list that is available on the market.
WD Red Pro is equipped with a multi-axis shock sensor that automatically detects subtle shock events and dynamic fly height technology which adjusts each read-write function to compensate and protect the data. This combination of technology further protects the drives in larger 1 to 16 bay NAS environments and helps increase hard drive reliability.
WD Purple drives are built for 24/7, always-on, high-definition security systems. With support for up to 8 hard drives and 32 cameras.
Using AllFrame technology, WD Purple drives improve ATA streaming to reduce errors, pixilation, and video interruptions that happen when the wrong drive is used in your video recorder system.
WD Purple drives have been engineered specifically for surveillance, so they’re able to withstand the extreme heat fluctuations and equipment vibrations within an DVR environment.
WD Purple drives are optimized to support up to 32 HD cameras. You have the flexibility to upgrade or expand your security system in the future.
ATA Features: Engineered specifically for surveillance security systems.
Reduced video frame loss.
Tuned for write-intensive, low bit-rate, high stream-count applications typical to most surveillance applications.
Prioritized write-operations for maximized surveillance performance.
TLER & ATA streaming support.
Support for up to eight drives.
With IntelliSeek technology, WD Purple drives are able to calculate optimum seek speeds, keeping power consumption low so ambient noise and vibrations are at a minimum.
WD Purple NV
WD Purple NV hard drive adds support for systems with higher drive bay configurations and up to 64 HD cameras.
WD Purple NV hard drives has hardware vibration sensors and greater workloads per year when compared to WD Purple hard drives. Included with the increased support, WD Purple NV is also backwards compatible with DVR systems.
WD Purple NV hard drives offer premium protection in harsh environments where surveillance systems are commonly installed including outdoor cabinets where moisture and other natural elements may be present.
WD Purple NV hard drives calculate the optimum seek speeds which lowers power consumption, noise and vibration that can damage and cause drives to wear out more quickly, increasing reliability.
Inherited from WD Purple, AllFrame technology boosts write performance for WD Purple NV hard drives by working with ATA streaming commands to reduce frame loss and improve streaming playback.
WD RE (Gold)
WD Re is the workhorse of the WD’s datacenter portfolio. WD Re is perfect for high-availability storage arrays that demand the most robust storage device available. High performance, capacity and reliability make WD Re ideal for data warehousing/mining and high-performance computing.
Massive capacities up to 6 TB suit even the most demanding datacenter, enterprise server, or cloud storage needs.
Designed to handle up to 550 TB per year – the highest workload capability of any 3.5-inch hard drive – delivering both performance and reliability to any datacenter environment.
With up to 2 million hours MTBF, this high performance drive delivers the highest level of reliability for 24x7x365 operation in the most demanding storage environments.
How to Choose the Best WD Hard Drive for You
Going into further detail about the different product categories, WD has created this entire segment as a solution for varying market segments. That said, while a hard drive by its very function will remain as a storage solution by all accounts, the performance and quality of the hard drive will still be dependent in the nature of the application. In this respect, WD has an edge over the competition in the sense that while Seagate is a relatively-known brand, its not a recognized brand when it comes to specific solutions and that it mostly rides in the consumer space from its branding alone. That being said, WD’s goal to clearly define its product line is more in-tune to the need to educate its own customers that continue to use products in the least optimal manner e.g. an office PC with a WD Purple drive or a NAS with WD Blacks. While they may be functional, performance can still be more ideal.
That said, WD lays it down pretty simple and narrows the most specific scenario in which can get the most out of your appliance or system together with your storage solution. The scenarios are as follows:
Are you looking for storage for a PC that serves mostly as a home or office PC doing light workloads such as browsing the web, spreadsheets or slideshow presentations?
Do you need storage for a gaming PC to hold your games or a workstation to work on multiple photo- and video-editing projects?
Got a network-attached storage (NAS) that needs drives?
Or perhaps your CCTV system needs storage?
Do you run an enterprise data-centre requiring industry-leading capacity and quality?
While you may have a PC that multi-tasks, that’s a best example for something we’ll discuss later but if we’re looking at a solution for each of those specific scenarios. And we’ll discuss them now.
For the Home PC and Average User – WD Blue
WD Blue category is intended for entry-level systems and builds. That includes general-use PCs, laptops and other devices that can accept hard drives as storage. WD Blue hard drives offer capacities ideal for general usage. This means if you’re building a system for home-use or office-use that won’t see any storage-intensive workloads, then the WD Blue line is perfect for you.
A relatively more advanced version, the WD Blue SSHD integrates a NAND flash SSD to serve as a high-speed cache serving up faster for quicker access.
WD currently has a mixed stack of 5400RPM and 7200RPM WD Blue models, if you’re on desktop and want a bit more performance, we recommend the 7200RPM models. If you’re more on light usage or prefer better power and thermals, the 5400RPM model is the preferred choice.
Performance Guaranteed – WD Black
Performance-wise, WD Black hard drives are the fastest in terms of read, write and access speeds. WD Black hard drives deliver excellent read/write performance together with large capacities to deliver the pinnacle of Western Digital technology in a pure performance perspective.
That said, if you are a gamer looking for a high-capacity storage solution that will keep up with your high-end system and competitive lifestyle, this is the drive for you. Because come on, who stores a library of AAA games in an SSD? Unless you can fork out the cash for at least a 1TB SSD or a cluster of 512GB in RAID0, a WD Black 6TB x2 in a RAID0 array can easily beat that in a cost:benefit ratio given that there’s really no proven advantage and effect of storage speeds in game performance… unless you’re loading really large maps that go way past your system RAM.
WD Black hard drives also benefit content creation and multimedia professionals who need to work with large files such as high-resolution photos or 4K UltraHD videos. While in a home environment, you may not bother with disk speeds for such things but in a professional setting where deadlines are always a factor, every second counts and WD Black hard drives serve up files faster and store them locally without needing costly solutions.
WD Black hard drives are available up to 6TB capacities and will 8TB variants is in the foreseeable future. WD Black hard drives come with a 5-year warranty.
NAS Optimized – WD RED
This is where it gets really intricate as we get into the more specific applications for WD hard drives, in this case the WD Red drives. WD Red hard drives are made for network-attached storage devices or NAS and these are appliances made to house data for access in a collaborative environment.
WD Red hard drives are made with NAS-usage in mind and this involves multiple drives working in conjunction with each other in a single chassis. WD implements their NASWare 3.0 firmware in WD Red hard drives that optimizes your drives for maximum compatibility and reliability. To combat known NAS issues like vibration, reliability and temperature, WD designs the WD Red drives with anti-vibration technology named 3D Active Balance Plus to reduce performance and drive degradation due to excessive vibration and noise. The drives are also intended to operate with lower temperatures via reduced power consumption keeping the drives cool and your NAS cool as well. WD Red drives are rated with an MTBF of 1 million hours.
For denser, higher-capacity applications WD also has the WD Red Pro designed with 8-bay or larger NAS environments in mind.
If you have a NAS device at home or a storage server in the office that require multiple drives to operate simultaneous serving up data to users, then the WD Red hard drive is for you.
WD Purple is one the latest to be introduced in the WD lineup and is intended for CCTV and surveillance system applications. WD Purple hard drives are designed for continuous data write environments.
Surveillance has become a key security tool in this world and every second, every frame is important. WD Purple hard drives are designed to capture every frame with its AllFrame technology, significantly reducing the amount of errors and pixelation that normal drives tend to encounter.
WD Purple drives are also designed for the harsh environments that most DVR are subject to. Designed for 24/7 non-stop duty.
WD Purple hard drives are intended for systems supporting up to 8 hard drives and 32 cameras. For larger installations, the WD Purple NV supports denser drive arrays and up to 64 HD cameras with improvements on the features of the normal WD Purple.
If you have a CCTV surveillance installation, WD Purple is your top choice for maximum surveillance performance.
Enterprise Quality – WD Gold
WD Gold hard drives are designed for the data-center which means they are made for high-availability and dense storage arrays. Think of WD Gold as having the performance advantage of the WD Blacks, the resilience of WD Purples and the robustness of WD Reds all rolled into one.
WD Gold hard drives feature support for dense storage arrays for any data-center application requiring high-capacity, availability and performance. They are intended for the most demanding applications which require high-performance storage I/O with the capacity to go with it like cloud storage applications or large enterprise application database servers.
If you’re an IT professional running a data center and you need a high-capacity, high-performance storage solution with reliability in mind then WD Gold hard drives are for you.
Store it in WD
WD makes it naming campaign more pronounced with a slogan for each line as follows:
Build it in Blue.
Create it in Black.
Network it in Red.
Capture it in Purple.
Scale it in Gold.
Whatever application you may have, the key thing that WD wants you to know is that they have a storage solution for every situation. From an uninformed consumer’s standpoint, its easy to disregard the added benefits of say a WD Black and just go with a WD Blue. Having worked in IT for nearly a decade, its a very familiar scenario and something I’ve had to deal with especially with upper management not as tech-oriented as the IT department only to reconsider their decisions after another purchase request for a replacement or an upgrade request from the guys at creative complaining about their workstations not having the capacity or speed to support the new content they work with.
It varies by scenario but for those who are looking to maximize their purchases, choosing the right solution for the situation is one of the vital steps in guaranteeing that your application is running in the best possible configuration. Be it a normal home system, a high-performance gaming system, network storage for your home-office, storage for your DVR or your company’s data-center; there is a best WD hard drive for your needs, you just have to know which color is best suited for the task.