Introduction and Testbed Setup

Despite the increasing affordability of SSDs, hard drives continue to remain the storage medium of choice for applications where capacity and cost factors outweigh performance requirements. Specialty drives have become the order of the day, with hard drive vendors having separate lineups to target different market segments such as desktop computers, SOHO NAS units, SMB / SME NAS units and NVRs. Western Digital was the first to introduce a 6 TB drive in the SOHO NAS drive space, but Seagate came back a few months later with a souped-up 6 TB Enterprise NAS HDD targeting the SMB / SME NAS units. Last month, Western Digital finally released the 6 TB version of the WD Red Pro for the SMB / SME NAS units.

We have already had comprehensive coverage of a number of 4 TB NAS drives and a few 6 TB ones. As more high-capacity drives started getting into the market, we started reviewing them standalone. The results from our evaluation of the WD Red Pro 6 TB is presented in this review.

The correct choice of hard drives for a NAS system is influenced by a number of factors. These include expected workloads, performance requirements and power consumption restrictions, amongst others. In this review, we will discuss some of these aspects while comparing the WD Red Pro against other drives targeting the NAS market. The list of drives that we will be looking at today is listed below.

  1. Western Digital Red Pro [ WDC WD6001FFWX-68Z39N0 ]
  2. HGST Deskstar NAS [ HDN726060ALE610 ]
  3. Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD 6 TB [ ST6000VN0001-1SF17Z ]
  4. Western Digital Red 6 TB [ WDC WD60EFRX-68MYMN0 ]
  5. Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 6 TB [ ST6000NM0024-1HT17Z ]
  6. HGST Ultrastar He6 6 TB [ HUS726060ALA640 ]

Prior to proceeding with the actual review, it must be made clear that the above drives do not target the same specific market. For example, the HGST Deskstar NAS and WD Red are for 1- 8 bay NAS systems in the tower form factor. The WD Red Pro is meant for rackmount units up to 16 bays, but is not intended to be a replacement for drives such as the WD Re.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

Our NAS drive evaluation methodology consists of putting the units to test under both DAS and NAS environments. We first start off with a feature set comparison of the various drives, followed by a look at the raw performance when connected directly to a SATA 6 Gbps port. In the same PC, we also evaluate the performance of the drive using some aspects of our direct attached storage (DAS) testing methodology. For evaluation in a NAS environment, we configure three drives of each model in a RAID-5 volume and process selected benchmarks from our standard NAS review methodology. Since our NAS drive testbed supports both SATA and SAS drives, but our DAS testbed doesn't, only SATA drives are subject to the DAS benchmarks.

We used two testbeds in our evaluation, one for benchmarking the raw drive and DAS performance and the other for evaluating performance when placed in a NAS unit.

AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z97-PRO Wi-Fi ac ATX
CPU Intel Core i7-4790
Memory Corsair Vengeance Pro CMY32GX3M4A2133C11
32 GB (4x 8GB)
DDR3-2133 @ 11-11-11-27
OS Drive Seagate 600 Pro 400 GB
Optical Drive Asus BW-16D1HT 16x Blu-ray Write (w/ M-Disc Support)
Add-on Card Asus Thunderbolt EX II
Chassis Corsair Air 540
PSU Corsair AX760i 760 W
OS Windows 8.1 Pro
Thanks to Asus and Corsair for the build components

In the above testbed, the hot swap bays of the Corsair Air 540 have to be singled out for special mention.
They were quite helpful in getting the drives processed in a fast and efficient manner for benchmarking. For NAS evaluation, we used the QNAP TS-EC1279U-SAS-RP. This is very similar to the unit we reviewed last year, except that we have a slightly faster CPU, more RAM and support for both SATA and SAS drives.

The NAS setup itself was subjected to benchmarking using our standard NAS testbed.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evolution 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Specifications and Feature Set Comparison
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  • MHz Tweaker - Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - link

    My findings are that Backblaze statistics are RIGHT on target. In fact they may be too kind to Seagate. I threw 12 Seagate drives in the trash this spring that were 1.5, 2 and 3TB capacities with 3tb drives being the worst drives I have ever come in contact with. I would say that my 3TB Seagate drive failures are higher than 75% in 24 months. I own a service and repair company and observe Seagate drives fail in droves, particularly the 3TB ones. Seagate 4tb drives are vastly more reliable so far but I stopped buying Seagate drives PERIOD because of the thousands of dollars I lost dealing with them. My primary drive is HGST now. I have a couple dozen of their 4, 5 and 6TB NAS drives in a pair of Win 2012R2 servers and a X99 Workstation. I also use them in client servers and workstations for backup images. In 3 years I have yet to have a HGST drive fail or even receive a D.O.A. Great drives.
  • Wwhat - Monday, September 7, 2015 - link

    Formerly know as 'deathstar' when still owned by IBM due to consistent early failure, I don't get that they didn't change the name.
    Personally I don't trust 'consumer reviews' blindly, because there is massive cheating with paid fake reviews on the internet, and because each person has its own usage pattern and perhaps a good experience with a brand is based on a use quite dissimilar to mine.
  • melgross - Monday, September 7, 2015 - link

    I only recall IBM having one particular drive that had a problem. Long time ago, and I don't remember the model, but it was a 75GB unit.
  • bigboxes - Monday, September 7, 2015 - link

    I had 6 of those 60GB "Deathstar" drives and each and every one of them eventually failed with the "click of death". I was able to RMA them under warranty and every one failed except for one which is sitting in a box somewhere.
  • bigboxes - Monday, September 7, 2015 - link

    75GXP and 60GXP were the bad models.
  • Samus - Monday, September 7, 2015 - link

    ^ this. The first-generation giant magneto resistant (GMR) heads were not reliable. This hasn't been an issue for a decade. IBM/Hitachi/HGST-Toshiba has changed hands so many times (not owned by WD) that very little IBM technology, if any at all, remains in these new drives.
  • Wwhat - Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - link

    I posted my deahtstar remark as a reply to a comment about the deskstar, and am aware it's not a WD company.
    I have no idea why it did not show up as a reply, probably the poorly codedantiquated comment system to blame?

    And my primary point is that it's odd that the company changed name twice but they kept that name with which people had bad memories, it's simply a weird thing to do.
  • Samus - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    It's a pretty good name. The same reason Ford brought back the Taurus nameplate. Even though it was associated with a crappy product at the end of its run, it still has good history behind it.
  • Kjella - Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - link

    The IBM Deskstar 75GXP series, but it had six models with 15/20/30/45/60/75GB capacity. Personally I had a 45GB drive die to the "click of death".
  • Souka - Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - link

    I think I had a number of these drives....they were the fastest around (or most performance per$$)

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