Western Digital Red WD60EFRX 6TB Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

As always, with our storage reviews, before we move on to the benchmark results, let us briefly discuss the physical attributes of this hard disk drive first. The Red WD60EFRX is your quintessential 3.5" hard drive from Western Digital; all you have at the top is bare metal with a dull silver finish, and a large label placed across the middle. It weighs in at 1.65lbs each. As a differentiating element between product lines, the top and bottom of the sticker is printed red in color, because, well, it is part of the Red series designed for network attached storage systems. The label also says "WD Red" at the bottom, just so you can tell this is not a Red Pro. On the label, you will also spot information like its 6TB drive capacity, SATA interface with 64MB cache, WD60EFRX model code, NASware 3.0 firmware, manufacturing date on July 6, 2015 for our particular unit, and that it is a product of Malaysia. A QR code is prominently displayed as well. Once scanned, it will bring up Western Digital's product page for you to learn more about this particular hard drive. The Western Digital Red comes with a three year limited warranty, compared to five years for Pro model.

Turning the Western Digital Red WD60EFRX 6TB around, and you will see a green printed circuit board that interfaces between its SATA 6Gb/s interface and the physical mechanical components. Mechanically, Western Digital advertises the Red's rotational speed as "IntelliPower". From a marketing perspective, it makes perfect sense. However, from an engineering perspective, this is simply useless information. It is like asking someone, "How much do you weigh?" and they answer, "Cheeseburger." What the heck is that supposed to mean? To translate it to terms we can all understand, it simply means the WD60EFRX is a 5,400 RPM drive. Understandably, a 5,400 RPM drive carries a connotation of being a lower performance unit, but it does feature six 1.2TB platters inside. These are very high density platters, and should translate to great performance in our benchmarks. You will see 5.45TB in Windows. The rated power consumption is 5.3W under load and 3.4W idling, which is very good. This is roughly half of the rated power of the Western Digital Red Pro WD6001FFWX 6TB. Meanwhile, it is specified to consume 0.4W standby.

As far as electronic components are concerned, the Western Digital Red WD60EFRX 6TB features a Marvell 88i1047-NDB2 dual core drive controller. Pins can be set to force backwards compatibility, in case you have a system that does not correctly negotiate interface speed automatically. The motor is controlled by a WD Pike driver. A Nanya NT5TU32M16DG-AC DDR2-800 IC acts as the cache for the drive. The drive firmware is stored on a Winbond 25Q80BWVIG chip. This is very similar to the WD40EFRX, which is also part of the same product lineup. This hardware selection is quite different compared to the Pro version of the Western Digital Red series, which are based off the enthusiast Black series instead.

But before we delve into the benchmarking, I would like to spend a little bit of time discussing the unique characteristics of the Western Digital Red WD60EFRX 6TB NAS drive. What makes a NAS drive, a NAS drive? From a hardware perspective, usually, it will feature lower consumption. Since file servers are designed to be turned on 24/7, reduced power consumption can make a significant difference on your power bill, especially if you have many drives. Reliability enhancements are also made with what Western Digital calls the "3D Active Balance Plus", which refers to the disk being physically balanced properly to reduce excessive vibration and noise in a multi-drive configuration, such as your network attached storage system. Most network attached storage oriented models like the Western Digital Red and Seagate NAS HDD recommends no more than five drives per system, but the WD60EFRX will play nice even if you have up to eight drives running concurrently. If you have a bigger NAS, you will need to go with a WD Red Pro, because the WD Red series does not have a multi-axis shock sensor for measuring subtle shock events and compensating head position automatically. The Western Digital Red WD60EFRX 6TB is also rated as having 1,000,000 hours MTBF.

One big element, obviously, comes down to the Western Digital Red being TLER enabled. If a drive is not TLER enabled, it may be dropped out of a RAID array unexpectedly down the road. TLER stands for 'Time Limited Error Recovery', which is Western Digital's name for a feature that limits a hard drive's error recovery time to seven seconds (Seagate calls it ERC; Hitachi calls it CCTL). According to Western Digital, desktop hard drives may enter deep recovery mode, and could take up to two minutes to deal with a bad sector. During this time, the hard drive will not respond. Because of this, RAID controllers may mark the drive as unreliable, because it has failed to respond within a set period of time.

For small NAS environments, most people probably will not need hardcore enterprise grade drives, which are usually quite expensive. TLER and related RAID array configuration problems are more crucial with demanding business environments than a home or SOHO NAS setup with just two or three drives. Linux software RAID that your network attached storage system implements is much more lenient with consumer desktop drives. Personally, I have run RAID 5 arrays in my QNAP systems from 2010 to 2014 using regular disks -- from Western Digital, no less -- with absolutely no problems at all. However, drives like the Western Digital Red are specifically tested for compatibility, designed for reliability in this operating environment, and comes TLER enabled from the factory to ensure you will not experience related issues down the road. With a price comparable to desktop drives, the Western Digital Red series is simply a no-brainer if you are looking to fill up your file server.

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D15S (Single fan)
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
RAM: Kingston HyperX Savage HX324C11SRK2/16 2x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 4GB
Chassis: SilverStone Temjin TJ04-E (Noctua NF-S12A PWM, Noctua NF-P12 PWM)
Storage: OCZ Vector 150 240GB; Crucial MX200 500GB
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional

Compared Hardware:
- Western Digital Red WD60EFRX 6TB (Hard Drive)
- Crucial MX200 500GB (Solid State Drive)
- HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Seagate Desktop SSHD ST4000DX001 4TB (Hybrid Hard Drive)
- Seagate Laptop SSHD ST500LM000 500GB (Hybrid Hard Drive)
- Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Black WD6001FZWX 6TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Blue SSHD WD40E31X 4TB (Hybrid Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red WD40EFRX 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red Pro WD4001FFSX 4TB (Hard Drive)
- Western Digital Red Pro WD6001FFWX 6TB (Hard Drive)

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark 7
10. NAS Performance, Power Consumption
11. Conclusion