Examining the WD10EFRX

Today I received a WD10EFRX, otherwise known as the 1TB model of Western Digital’s new Caviar Red drives…

The colour red, for me, is associated with two things: stop/halt signs and blood — two things which should definitely not be associated with a mechanical hard disk. :-) I say that in jest, but still…

The new Red drives boast “full NAS compatibility” or “NASware”. This is just more marketing buzzword-speak for something that does not need such segregation. A hard disk should work in any system and not induce problems or inhibit I/O) while providing features that the WD Caviar Green drives have (lower temperatures, “IntelliPark”, etc.), but still providing good throughput (not as great as the WD Caviar Black, but supposedly better than the Green). It’s very important to remember that companies like Western Digital created this delineation in the first place, so it’s very ironic (and depressing) that they’ve now begun to market models of hard disks that “solve these problems” when they themselves created the problem to begin with. Phrased differently: MHDDs used to work in anything you put them in (desktops, servers, etc.), with zero repercussions or issues, and it was the MHDD manufacturers themselves who created these firmware-level “features” (issues). It’s almost like the drives of today are being advertised/marketed with the assumption that those of us who were alive 13 years ago would hopefully have forgotten about how hard disks used to Just Work(tm). Well, I’m one of many who hasn’t forgotten.

Anyway, I’ve wanted to get my hands on one of these drives since they were announced, because I wanted to see feature-wise and behaviour-wise if these drives behaved better than the Green drives (you can read my “review” of present-day Green drives and how firmware-level features in them that do nothing other than frustrate and cause major problems).

Specifically, I wanted to examine the following things:

  1. Platter count and reliability
  2. What ATA-level and firmware features the drive supported, and which features were enabled (or disabled) by default
  3. If the infamous Load Cycle Count (LCC) issue existed on these drives
  4. Very quick performance testing (I am not OCD over benchmarks)

So let’s get to it!

The drive I received had a manufacturing date of 2012/07/07, firmware 01.01A01. However, as indicated at the bottom of my previous WD30EZRX “review”, firmware version doesn’t necessarily mean anything — WD, like too many companies these days, often doesn’t increment/change the firmware version.

1. The first thing I noticed about the WD10EFRX was its weight. I could tell right off the bat, simply by holding it, that the WD10EFRX uses one platter (i.e. a single platter w/ 1TB density). One platter also means 2 heads. All of this amounts to one thing: less chance of failure compared to older 1TB drives which use multiple platters (e.g. 2x500GB platters, thus 4 heads). It’s safe to say that the WD20EFRX (2TB) model probably has 2 platters, the 3TB model has 3 platters, etc.. Again: this is fantastic.

2. Upon hooking up the drive to a FreeBSD 9.x box, we see:

ada4 at ahcich4 bus 0 scbus4 target 0 lun 0
ada4: <WDC WD10EFRX-68JCSN0 01.01A01> ATA-8 SATA 3.x device
ada4: 300.000MB/s transfers (SATA 2.x, UDMA6, PIO 8192bytes)
ada4: Command Queueing enabled
ada4: 953869MB (1953525168 512 byte sectors: 16H 63S/T 16383C)

The drive appears like pretty much every drive on the market (and justifiably so): it advertises 512-byte sectors despite being a 4096-byte sector (“Advanced Format”) drive. Nothing surprising about this, but I did want to point it out; people often forget that all AF drives advertise 512-byte sectors to retain 100% compatibility with older OSes and storage controllers/HBAs.

Also note that the drives’ SATA PHY supports SATA600 capability (though my motherboard (Supermicro X7SBA) only supports up to SATA300). Good to know too.

3. I immediately took a snapshot of SMART attributes to get an idea of what things looked like from the factory. Firmware version, serial number, WWN, etc. are all listed here:

# smartctl -a /dev/ada4
smartctl 5.43 2012-06-30 r3573 [FreeBSD 9.1-PRERELEASE amd64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-12 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model:     WDC WD10EFRX-68JCSN0
Serial Number:    WD-WMC1U4917461
LU WWN Device Id: 5 0014ee 6ad3e27fd
Firmware Version: 01.01A01
User Capacity:    1,000,204,886,016 bytes [1.00 TB]
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Device is:        Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is:   8
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Wed Aug 15 20:35:11 2012 PDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x00) Offline data collection activity
                                        was never started.
                                        Auto Offline Data Collection: Disabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                                        without error or no self-test has ever
                                        been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:                (12960) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:                    (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                                        Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                                        Suspend Offline collection upon new
                                        command.
                                        Offline surface scan supported.
                                        Self-test supported.
                                        Conveyance Self-test supported.
                                        Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                                        power-saving mode.
                                        Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                                        General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:        ( 148) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (   5) minutes.
SCT capabilities:              (0x30bd) SCT Status supported.
                                        SCT Error Recovery Control supported.
                                        SCT Feature Control supported.
                                        SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   100   253   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0027   100   253   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x002e   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       1
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   115   110   000    Old_age   Always       -       28
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0030   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   200   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0008   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
No self-tests have been logged.  [To run self-tests, use: smartctl -t]


SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

Let’s run that again but using the -x flag instead, which provides some additional detail, insights into the SCT log, the SMART GPLog regions, and if the drive supports SATA device counters or not:

# smartctl -x /dev/ada4
smartctl 5.43 2012-06-30 r3573 [FreeBSD 9.1-PRERELEASE amd64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-12 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model:     WDC WD10EFRX-68JCSN0
Serial Number:    WD-WMC1U4917461
LU WWN Device Id: 5 0014ee 6ad3e27fd
Firmware Version: 01.01A01
User Capacity:    1,000,204,886,016 bytes [1.00 TB]
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Device is:        Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is:   8
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Wed Aug 15 20:40:07 2012 PDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled
AAM feature is:   Unavailable
APM feature is:   Unavailable
Rd look-ahead is: Enabled
Write cache is:   Enabled
ATA Security is:  Disabled, NOT FROZEN [SEC1]

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x00) Offline data collection activity
                                        was never started.
                                        Auto Offline Data Collection: Disabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                                        without error or no self-test has ever
                                        been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:                (12960) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:                    (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                                        Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                                        Suspend Offline collection upon new
                                        command.
                                        Offline surface scan supported.
                                        Self-test supported.
                                        Conveyance Self-test supported.
                                        Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                                        power-saving mode.
                                        Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                                        General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:        ( 148) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (   5) minutes.
SCT capabilities:              (0x30bd) SCT Status supported.
                                        SCT Error Recovery Control supported.
                                        SCT Feature Control supported.
                                        SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAGS    VALUE WORST THRESH FAIL RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     POSR-K   100   253   051    -    0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            POS--K   100   253   021    -    0
  4 Start_Stop_Count        -O--CK   100   100   000    -    2
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   PO--CK   200   200   140    -    0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         -OSR-K   100   253   000    -    0
  9 Power_On_Hours          -O--CK   100   100   000    -    0
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        -O--CK   100   253   000    -    0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count -O--CK   100   253   000    -    0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       -O--CK   100   100   000    -    2
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count -O--CK   200   200   000    -    1
193 Load_Cycle_Count        -O--CK   200   200   000    -    0
194 Temperature_Celsius     -O---K   114   110   000    -    29
196 Reallocated_Event_Count -O--CK   200   200   000    -    0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  -O--CK   200   200   000    -    0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   ----CK   100   253   000    -    0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    -O--CK   200   253   000    -    0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   ---R--   100   253   000    -    0
                            ||||||_ K auto-keep
                            |||||__ C event count
                            ||||___ R error rate
                            |||____ S speed/performance
                            ||_____ O updated online
                            |______ P prefailure warning

General Purpose Log Directory Version 1
SMART           Log Directory Version 1 [multi-sector log support]
GP/S  Log at address 0x00 has    1 sectors [Log Directory]
SMART Log at address 0x01 has    1 sectors [Summary SMART error log]
SMART Log at address 0x02 has    5 sectors [Comprehensive SMART error log]
GP    Log at address 0x03 has    6 sectors [Ext. Comprehensive SMART error log]
SMART Log at address 0x06 has    1 sectors [SMART self-test log]
GP    Log at address 0x07 has    1 sectors [Extended self-test log]
SMART Log at address 0x09 has    1 sectors [Selective self-test log]
GP    Log at address 0x10 has    1 sectors [NCQ Command Error log]
GP    Log at address 0x11 has    1 sectors [SATA Phy Event Counters]
GP    Log at address 0x21 has    1 sectors [Write stream error log]
GP    Log at address 0x22 has    1 sectors [Read stream error log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x80 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x81 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x82 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x83 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x84 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x85 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x86 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x87 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x88 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x89 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x8a has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x8b has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x8c has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x8d has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x8e has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x8f has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x90 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x91 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x92 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x93 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x94 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x95 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x96 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x97 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x98 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x99 has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x9a has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x9b has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x9c has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x9d has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x9e has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0x9f has   16 sectors [Host vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa0 has   16 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa1 has   16 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa2 has   16 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa3 has   16 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa4 has   16 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa5 has   16 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa6 has   16 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa7 has   16 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa8 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xa9 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xaa has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xab has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xac has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xad has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xae has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xaf has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xb0 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xb1 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xb2 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xb3 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xb4 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xb5 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xb6 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xb7 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xbd has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xc0 has    1 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP    Log at address 0xc1 has   93 sectors [Device vendor specific log]
GP/S  Log at address 0xe0 has    1 sectors [SCT Command/Status]
GP/S  Log at address 0xe1 has    1 sectors [SCT Data Transfer]

SMART Extended Comprehensive Error Log Version: 1 (6 sectors)
No Errors Logged

SMART Extended Self-test Log Version: 1 (1 sectors)
No self-tests have been logged.  [To run self-tests, use: smartctl -t]

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.

SCT Status Version:                  3
SCT Version (vendor specific):       258 (0x0102)
SCT Support Level:                   1
Device State:                        Active (0)
Current Temperature:                    28 Celsius
Power Cycle Min/Max Temperature:     28/28 Celsius
Lifetime    Min/Max Temperature:     28/33 Celsius
Under/Over Temperature Limit Count:   0/0
SCT Temperature History Version:     2
Temperature Sampling Period:         1 minute
Temperature Logging Interval:        1 minute
Min/Max recommended Temperature:      0/60 Celsius
Min/Max Temperature Limit:           -41/85 Celsius
Temperature History Size (Index):    478 (9)

Index    Estimated Time   Temperature Celsius
  10    2012-08-15 12:43     ?  -
 ...    ..(467 skipped).    ..  -
   0    2012-08-15 20:31     ?  -
   1    2012-08-15 20:32    33  **************
   2    2012-08-15 20:33    33  **************
   3    2012-08-15 20:34     ?  -
   4    2012-08-15 20:35    28  *********
 ...    ..(  4 skipped).    ..  *********
   9    2012-08-15 20:40    28  *********

SCT Error Recovery Control:
           Read:     70 (7.0 seconds)
          Write:     70 (7.0 seconds)

SATA Phy Event Counters (GP Log 0x11)
ID      Size     Value  Description
0x0001  2            0  Command failed due to ICRC error
0x0002  2            0  R_ERR response for data FIS
0x0003  2            0  R_ERR response for device-to-host data FIS
0x0004  2            0  R_ERR response for host-to-device data FIS
0x0005  2            0  R_ERR response for non-data FIS
0x0006  2            0  R_ERR response for device-to-host non-data FIS
0x0007  2            0  R_ERR response for host-to-device non-data FIS
0x0008  2            0  Device-to-host non-data FIS retries
0x0009  2            1  Transition from drive PhyRdy to drive PhyNRdy
0x000a  2            1  Device-to-host register FISes sent due to a COMRESET
0x000b  2            0  CRC errors within host-to-device FIS
0x000f  2            0  R_ERR response for host-to-device data FIS, CRC
0x0012  2            0  R_ERR response for host-to-device non-data FIS, CRC
0x8000  4          351  Vendor specific

Looks good to me.

4. Next comes the ATA capabilities and which features were enabled/disabled by default, as well as what features had been added or removed when compared to Green and Black drives:

# camcontrol identify ada4
pass4: <WDC WD10EFRX-68JCSN0 01.01A01> ATA-8 SATA 3.x device
pass4: 300.000MB/s transfers (SATA 2.x, UDMA6, PIO 8192bytes)

protocol              ATA/ATAPI-8 SATA 3.x
device model          WDC WD10EFRX-68JCSN0
firmware revision     01.01A01
serial number         WD-WMC1U4917461
WWN                   50014ee6ad3e27fd
cylinders             16383
heads                 16
sectors/track         63
sector size           logical 512, physical 4096, offset 0
LBA supported         268435455 sectors
LBA48 supported       1953525168 sectors
PIO supported         PIO4
DMA supported         WDMA2 UDMA6

Feature                      Support  Enabled   Value           Vendor
read ahead                     yes      yes
write cache                    yes      yes
flush cache                    yes      yes
overlap                        no
Tagged Command Queuing (TCQ)   no       no
Native Command Queuing (NCQ)   yes              32 tags
SMART                          yes      yes
microcode download             yes      yes
security                       yes      no
power management               yes      yes
advanced power management      no       no
automatic acoustic management  no       no
media status notification      no       no
power-up in Standby            yes      no
write-read-verify              no       no
unload                         no       no
free-fall                      no       no
data set management (TRIM)     no

This is where the fun starts. Here’s what we can discern from the advertised capabilities when compared to the Green and Black drives:

Model Advertised sector size Physical sector size APM (Advanced Power Management) AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management) PUIS (Power Up In Standby) “IntelliPark”
WD10EFRX (Caviar Red, 1TB) 512 4096 not supported not supported supported, disabled by default no
WD30EZRX (Caviar Green, 3TB) 512 4096 not supported not supported supported, disabled by default yes
WD1002FAEX (Caviar Black, 1TB) 512 512 not supported supported on some firmware revisions supported, disabled by default no

2012/10/02 update: Western Digital has removed any mention of IntelliPark from their WD Red product documentation. So it appears that the first set of product documentation distributed for the Red drives incorrectly stated the product had IntelliPark when in fact they do not.

As we get into the Load Cycle Count topic, it’s important to note that historically the only way to work around the LCC problem was to disable APM. But as you can see, in all of these drives — including the WD Red — there is no way to do that. So let’s hope the newest WD Red drives don’t suffer from the “LLC issue” (excessive head parking)!

5. At this point, I decided to do the “LCC test” in the exact same manner that I did with the WD30EZRX (Green 3TB) drive in my previous “review”: issue some read requests to the drive, sleep 10 seconds, pull SMART stats (looking at SMART attribute 193), and seeing if the counter increases. So let’s do it:

# while true; do echo -n "`date` -- " ; dd if=/dev/ada4 of=/dev/null bs=4k count=1 2>/dev/null ; sleep 10 ; smartctl -a /dev/ada4 | awk '/Load_Cycle_Count/ { print $2 ": " $NF }' ; done
Wed Aug 15 20:51:51 PDT 2012 -- Load_Cycle_Count: 0
Wed Aug 15 20:52:01 PDT 2012 -- Load_Cycle_Count: 0
Wed Aug 15 20:52:11 PDT 2012 -- Load_Cycle_Count: 0
Wed Aug 15 20:52:21 PDT 2012 -- Load_Cycle_Count: 0
Wed Aug 15 20:52:31 PDT 2012 -- Load_Cycle_Count: 0
Wed Aug 15 20:52:41 PDT 2012 -- Load_Cycle_Count: 0
Wed Aug 15 20:52:51 PDT 2012 -- Load_Cycle_Count: 0

I then did the same LCC test but with writes (e.g. dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/ada4 bs=4k count=1). The behaviour was the same: LCC did not increment, and the drive did not exhibit clicking or any audible noises.

Thus, the WD10EFRX I received does not suffer from the LCC problem. That’s really good news. It appears Western Digital has been listening to its consumers.

6. Now it’s time for the benchmarks. It’s very important to understand that I do not perform extensive benchmarking — meaning, I do not care to go to great extremes or run a whole gamut of tests, workloads, etc.. I prefer to focus on drive features, reliability, and behaviour. If you’re wanting extensive benchmarks and opinions relating to such, please use your favourite search engine to find reviews of the drive.

For benchmarks I resorted to switching to Windows (specifically Windows XP SP3, 32-bit, AHCI enabled with Intel RST drivers (version 10.8.0.1003)) and used HD Tune Pro 5.00. Windows 7 would very likely have gotten slightly better performance, but again, that is not my focus. The results are below, and are left to the reader to interpret/judge for themselves:

Two things to note:

  1. I did see better overall performance using FreeBSD (sequential throughput was about 12MBytes/sec higher), so your mileage may vary.
  2. The temperature of the WD10EFRX did not exceed 35C at any point. Compare that to the Black, which in the same system idles around 42C, and extensive I/O gets the temperature up to around 48C. I feel it’s very important to stress that fact, and can almost certainly be attributed to the disk containing a single platter.

So given all of the above information, what’s my opinion?

The WD Red drives — at least the WD10EFRX — are excellent given what they’re advertised to do. This is the exact kind of drive I have been wanting for quite some time: lightweight, good temperatures, decent-to-excellent I/O, uses 1TB density platters, and whose firmware doesn’t get in the way (re: LLC issue).

I’m going to keep this drive and put it to use in my Windows workstation. I should invest in some WD20EFRX and WD30EFRX drives and examine them for any oddities, but right now money is somewhat tight so I can’t experiment as much as I’d like.

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