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Are the WD Red 3TB drives that much better than green?

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I am looking to order 3 more drives for one of my UnRaid servers. I was going to step up to the 3TB drives now that the prices have really come down. I currently have mostly WD 2TB Green drives in the server and was considering picking up one WD 3TB Red drive for my new parity drive and then 2 of the 3TB Green drives. Are the Red drives that much better that I should get 3 of those instead?

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Reds have a longer warranty, no LCC problems and were designed for NAS boxes.  Many people here use the greens without problems - I was one of them.  Recently I've had a bad stretch of DOA's in greens close to 50% with the last 12-16 drives I purchased.  My DOA rate on Red is 6.25% so far with 1 out of 16 drives - 8 2TB and 8 3TB.

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I guess I also have had really good luck so far with my green drives. The price difference is only $15 a drive which isn't that much but if the reds and green would perform equally well I just wasn't sure which way to go.

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I'd say stick with the greens, but I guess I'm one of the anomalies, in that I've never had to RMA a hard disk through my various home PC's, file storage servers, NAS, and now unRAID over the last 20 years or so.  I've yet to have one fail!

 

Of course, now that I've said that 'out loud', I'll be replacing 2 tomorrow ;)

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I'd say stick with the greens, but I guess I'm one of the anomalies, in that I've never had to RMA a hard disk through my various home PC's, file storage servers, NAS, and now unRAID over the last 20 years or so.  I've yet to have one fail!

 

Of course, now that I've said that 'out loud', I'll be replacing 2 tomorrow ;)

Wish I could say the same.  I must be getting all your bad ones.  Granted 12 "failed" drives of the 40+ I've had to deal with were self inflicted when a case fan died and a parity check got those 12 2TB green drives to 60c.  Out of the original 24-30 2TB green drives I've got 5 are functioning fine.  6-10 others are displaying smart errors like multi zone, raw read, etc... so not dead but not ones I want to trust beyond off line backups.  Out of 4 3TB greens I've got one working,  one that flip-flops 0 to 65535 pending to zero on preclear cycles - repeat, one that doesn't have smart errors but is very slow and the 4th drive shows same multi-zone, raw read, etc... errors of the 2TBs.  I've purchased 4 prebuilt PC's in my life (built 20-30) and 50% came with bad HDDs when I opened the box.  One was my N40L very slow drive response another was a Zotec ZBox with a completely dead HDD - the drive in the Zotac was going to be replaced anyway so didn't want to send back whole PC for just a bad drive.

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I just read a really good review of the red drives against 7200rpm Seagate drives and the red performed very well. I guess an extra $15 per drive isn't that bad for an extra year of warranty and the fact that they are rated for 24/7 usage. I myself have had really good luck with my green drives so far but I have definitely suffered drive failure in the past. If I do end up picking up only the red drives I will definitely post about my experience.

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..for just a plus of 15$, this is a good move going with the REDs.

When I compare i.e. my preclear stats for Greens, REDs and Seagate/Toshiba 7.2k, I find

that Greens perform around 50-60% of the capabilities (sustained read/write) of the 7.2k,

while REDs are at around 80%.

 

...less heat, better warranty and better performance for just +15USD....I'd go for taht.

Over here, price difference is around 40$ over 7.2k and 60$ over Greens :(

 

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So far I have been using the red drives for a little while now. One of them was DOA and I just finished preclearing the replacement. I didn't really notice any difference on preclear in time spent or read/write speed. Same with writing to the drive, speeds seem the same as my greens. So I am still not convinced there is a huge difference between the reds and the greens performance-wise, but we shall see how they do in longevity.

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Just had a 2TB Green die in my array. S.M.A.R.T detected it beginning to fail. Switching to Reds from now on.

 

I'm certain the greens are meant to be used in a server environment such as an UNRAID NAS. In hind site, we are probably getting a bit greedy and lucky using Greens in our NAS boxes. Reds from now on for this guy.

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ANY drive can (and will) fail.    Nevertheless, it's definitely true that the WD Reds and Seagate NAS units are designed for a much higher duty cycle and have other improvements that make them a far better choice for UnRAID systems.  They also, of course, have a better warranty.    My primary backup server is all 3TB Reds ... and all of my future purchases for UnRAID will be the same (except, of course, in larger sizes).

 

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I don't think there is any physical difference between the green and red drives other than the color of the sticker.  It seems the only real difference is the firmware that WD uses to control the hardware.  I think WD just adds another year of warranty for marketing the drives at a higher price. 

 

The reds don't park their heads every 8 seconds, but with the greens you can disable head parking to achieve the same result.  The reds to support TLER which the greens do not.

 

Those are just my observations that I can't prove other than by what I have seen.

 

craigr

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I don't think there is any physical difference between the green and red drives other than the color of the sticker.  It seems the only real difference is the firmware that WD uses to control the hardware.  I think WD just adds another year of warranty for marketing the drives at a higher price. 

 

The reds don't park their heads every 8 seconds, but with the greens you can disable head parking to achieve the same result.  The reds to support TLER which the greens do not.

 

Those are just my observations that I can't prove other than by what I have seen.

 

craigr

You might be correct but I think there are other changes to the drive besides the head parking change.  The only real reason to turn that off is because of a smart counter but I never had that problem with my Green drives anyway.  So far the Reds are better for me because of fewer smart errors.  Smart errors I was seeing on my Greens were Multi/Zone and Raw Read for instance.  And they are just ones to watch but are not critical.  The UDMA errors I saw were likely a cabling problem.  None of that so far with the Reds but I need another year to confirm.  The fact that Reds are also warranted for 24/7 operation (only the AV greens have the same type) makes me believe they will be a better drive.  Now if you meant the AV Greens and the Reds then it might just be a firmware change and a minor one at that.

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While I suppose anything's possible, I do NOT believe these are physically the same units as the green series drives.

 

WD says the Reds have a redesigned motor with "active balance" that reduces vibration and noise; and their published MTBF is 35% better than the desktop series units, so I assume their claims are indeed accurate.  Note that the Reds use notably less power than the Greens -- this would not be the case if they were physically the same units [firmware can't change how much power a motor draws  :) ].    For example, a 3TB WD Green draws 6.00 watts R/W current, 5.50 watts when idle;  the equivalent Red draws 4.40 watts R/W, 4.10 watts idle.

 

I do agree that the warranty difference is somewhat arbitrary ... but nevertheless a 3yr warranty is clearly better than a 2yr warranty  :)

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While I suppose anything's possible, I do NOT believe these are physically the same units as the green series drives.

 

WD says the Reds have a redesigned motor with "active balance" that reduces vibration and noise; and their published MTBF is 35% better than the desktop series units, so I assume their claims are indeed accurate.  Note that the Reds use notably less power than the Greens -- this would not be the case if they were physically the same units [firmware can't change how much power a motor draws  :) ].    For example, a 3TB WD Green draws 6.00 watts R/W current, 5.50 watts when idle;  the equivalent Red draws 4.40 watts R/W, 4.10 watts idle.

 

I do agree that the warranty difference is somewhat arbitrary ... but nevertheless a 3yr warranty is clearly better than a 2yr warranty  :)

Well looking at the WD web page specifications for the Green vs Red 4TB drives, all the mechanical specifications are the same.  They use exactly the same amount of power and they weigh exactly the same.

 

Green 4TB:

http://www.wdc.com/global/products/specs/?driveID=1325&language=1

 

Red 4TB:

http://www.wdc.com/global/products/specs/?driveID=1324&language=1

 

Also, no where does it say that the Green drives do not have the same "redesigned motor with active balance that reduces vibration and noise."  The Green drives may have the same exact motor, it's just that WD chooses to market it on the Red but not the Green in order to allow for a price premium on the reds.  Why wouldn't WD put the new motor on the Green necessarily?  We don't know if the new design costs WD more or not, it my even cost them less to build than the old motor for all we know.

 

Call me a cynic, but I have been involved in manufacturing before.  It could potentially be a lot cheaper for WD to build one drive design instead of two, load a different firmware on either drive along with a different sticker and whala, two hard drive lines off the same assembly line.  When you have two drives that are only $15-$30 USD apart it seems difficult to justify actually building an entirely different drives.

 

craigr

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While I suppose anything's possible, I do NOT believe these are physically the same units as the green series drives.

 

WD says the Reds have a redesigned motor with "active balance" that reduces vibration and noise; and their published MTBF is 35% better than the desktop series units, so I assume their claims are indeed accurate.  Note that the Reds use notably less power than the Greens -- this would not be the case if they were physically the same units [firmware can't change how much power a motor draws  :) ].    For example, a 3TB WD Green draws 6.00 watts R/W current, 5.50 watts when idle;  the equivalent Red draws 4.40 watts R/W, 4.10 watts idle.

 

I do agree that the warranty difference is somewhat arbitrary ... but nevertheless a 3yr warranty is clearly better than a 2yr warranty  :)

Interestingly though, you are correct that the 3TB drives have different specifications.  It is possible that the 3TB drives were redesigned at some point but the specifications did not change on the WD web site.

 

I have two WD Green drives here that are quite a bit different from one another and they were built about a year apart.  One weighs significantly more than the other and the case design is different.  I have yet another green that seems very slightly different from the newer one, but with another slight modification to the case.

 

craigr

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I have two WD Green drives here that are quite a bit different from one another and they were built about a year apart.  One weighs significantly more than the other and the case design is different.  I have yet another green that seems very slightly different from the newer one, but with another slight modification to the case.

 

craigr

I wonder if the one that weighs more actually is using more platters and less areal density to get to the same space - and that is why it weighs more?

 

 

Fix spelling

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I wonder if the one that weighs more actually is using more platters and less arieal density to get to the same space - and that is why it weighs more?

 

That's almost certainly the case.    While all of the WD Reds use 1TB platters, very few of the green drives do => only the EZRX series drives do, and not even all of those do.    There's a significant performance difference between the 1TB/platter units and those with lower areal density.

 

This is, of course, yet-another difference between the Reds and Greens.

 

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I have two 3TB reds and two 3TB greens for data disks (1TB red for cache and 3TB red for parity).  I break my array up into two disk groups for my shares.  My most active shares (CrashPlan data and TV shows) are on the reds.  Movies and data archiving are on the greens, so they rarely spin up. 

 

With that said, I can see getting more reds and phasing out the greens and lifting the limit on what data goes where to be more flexible.

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Since posting this I have purchased a number of the red drives which I am now planning to use exclusively. I have had to RMA a number of my reds, most were DOA's, only one actually failed in the array. I usually just watch for the sales now and pick up one or 2 drives because at $15 more for the extra year warranty and considerably less head parking it has been worth it.

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I realize this topic is a bit old, but I didn't make sense for me to start a new thread when you guys have a good discussion already running.

 

I've reach my server capacity and my next logical move would be going to a 24 Bay rack mount server, however I am not financially/mentally ready for that.  So, to buy me a bit of time, I wanted to replace my two smallest drives (750GB and 1TB) with 2TB drives.

 

Its been another 4 months since this topic was addressed, so I wanted to see if opinions remain the same or if any addition research has revealed anything either in favour or against either the Green's or Red's.

 

My current purchase option is either a 2TB Red for $107.99 or a Green for $99.99.  With a bit more shopping I can probably find a Green a few dollars cheaper.  (Im in Canada).

 

Slightly off topic, so a PM might be more appropriate, but maybe I should be a bit more future looking and not even get a 2TB drives, but at least 3TB, maybe 4TB.  I'm going to go through the forums after this, but would you suggest I upgrade my UnRaid software before making any HDD decision?  If so, what is the safe/stable release that most users are running with now, as I am pretty sure the version I am running now doesn't support drives any bigger than 2TB.

 

Thanks in advance for feedback/opinions. :)

 

 

Current setup:

Unraid version: 4.7

2TB Parity Drive

1 - 2TB Data Drive

8 - 1.5TB Data Drives

1 - 1TB Data Drive

1 - 750GB Data Drive

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I had this quandary late last year and frankly I think I made the wrong decision (not bad, just not optimal). I too was running 4.7 and my 26TB (all 2TB drives) server was almost full. Build a new one I said to myself! So I did, new box with 3 or 4 2TB drives to start. When v5 was released out of beta, I read then that it supported larger drives (doh!). Now that 4TBs have come down in price to be feasible additions, I will start replacing the 2TBs in Tower1 with 4TB drives. I have already filled 6 TBs in Tower2 so I think I will keep it rather than transfer over to Tower1. Anyway, if I had researched more thoroughly, I would have just the one original Tower and be replacing drives with 4 or 5 TB models and selling off the 2 TBs while they are still worth something.

 

20/20 hind sight 

 

PS. Both Towers now running 5.x with no issues at all.

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I would upgrade to version 5 which opens up the low priced 4TB options for you. Replace your parity drive with a 4TB and then use your 2TB parity drive to upgrade your 750GB drive. With one 4TB drive purchase, you can increase your storage 1.25TB

 

Optionally, also upgrade your 1TB drive to 4TB and increase your storage by 4.25TB.

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Upgrading the exiting server is by far my preferred route, yet the primary question, on topic to this thread, is to go Red or Green.  Are people feeling more confident about the RED's reliability now?  I should note that my server spends way more time IDLE than anything, as its strictly a movie / Tv show server.  Some drives with the original transferred movies (ie. the first 2 years I spent converting all my DVD's to image files), may not even need to spin up at all in a given month, with the exception of when I run parity checks.  So, I don't see the server data drives as anywhere near as stressed as my primary computer (as it shares torrents 24/7, amongst many other functions).  But, as you suggested, going to UnRaid version 5 and getting 1, or 2, 4TB drives would net me 1.25TB to 3.25TB of storage.  That would buy me some more time until I have to get the real 24 bay beast of a server to replace it.

 

So, the question remains 4TB Green or 4TB Red.  I can ask my wife and she would say "Red", as she likes that colour better! :)

 

Is UnRaid version 5 considered "beta", "stable beta" or "full release"?  I've got a pretty basic install going with my UnRaid 4.7.  I did have UnMenu running with it and some UPS setup, so if my APC UPS dropped below a certain power level/time remaining, it would execute a proper shutdown, however that option is out the window as my APC UPS died, so I am running on a CyberPower UPS, which this program doesn't work with.  I always get a bit worried when updating the UnRaid software, as it took a lot of questions/reading to get it up and working initially and I'd hate to go through that all again.

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